Recommendations for using weights?


Question from Cor: Are there any recommendations for weights—free weights, resistance bands, weight machines, soup cans?
Answers - Miriam Nelson Don't go with soup cans! Your health and the fitness program you're putting yourself through is very valuable, and your time is very valuable, so you want to do it right and get the most benefit from it. There are four common ways you can strength-train.

One is with machines or weight stacks. You can also use free weights like dumbbells and ankle weights. You can use exercise bands, like the Thera-Band, or you can simply use your body weight, such as a sit-up, a modified push-up or squat, or different activities like a lunge, where you use your own body weight. The interesting thing with weight stacks is that because they put you into proper positioning and your body is stabilized, you can generally lift more weight with weight stacks than, for example, with free weights.

But free weights have a benefit, because you have to think about your body alignment, stability, where your joints are, your balance, etc. So you get a whole other training effect with the free weights, and you get the strengthening benefit you don't get with a machine. The Thera-Band can be used, especially for upper back and shoulder exercise. But the gains in strength are generally lower than they would be with machines or free weights. (The Thera-Band web site is available at: http://www.thera-band.com.) Body weight exercises are excellent, but they tend to be more difficult. Many women don't have enough strength to start out with them. That's the premise of tai chi, too—it's all your body weight.

On Wednesday, January 18, 2006, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Physical Activity and Breast Cancer. Miriam Nelson, Ph.D., Julie Gralow, M.D., and moderator Judith Sachs answered your questions about the many issues related to physical activity and breast cancer.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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