August 17, 2017

Ask a Pro by Erin McGill

Question: I’m 68 years young and new to exercise. I have no medical issues. What’s best for me, bands or free-weights?  –Judy from Idaho
 

Answer: Being 68 years young and new to exercise offers you plenty of options. Bands are an excellent form of exercise because they provide progressive resistance- meaning the more you pull on them, the more resistance you will place on your muscles. Another ideal component of resistance bands is that they are very mobile and can be used in a variety of ways for upper, lower, and total body exercises. Be creative when selecting your exercises and make sure that you pay close attention to correct form. Free weights will be a great choice for you as well for a number of reasons. When performing resistance training with free weights such as dumbbells, your central nervous system has to work harder to maintain its balance and understand where it is in space, in addition to coordinating the correct muscles to execute the movement. Another benefit of free weights is that you will have more opportunity to increase your resistance/weight as you progress, whereas bands typically are only available to a certain degree of resistance.
 
With that being said, and knowing you are new to exercise, make use of both resistance bands and free weights- they both have great benefits to serve. As with anything new, however, make sure you learn how to properly execute the movements first, without resistance in order to perfect your form. Additionally do not progress too quickly, instead focus on quality of movement over quantity of resistance. This will help prevent injury in the future and ensure consistent results.
 
Erin A. McGill, MA, NASM CPT, CES, PES
Training Manager
National Academy of Sports Medicine
800.460.6276 ext. 1252
602.383.1252
erin.mcgill@nasm.org

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