athletes, trainers and sports medicine specialists about improving
muscle strength. While they'll all probably tell you that resistance
exercises -- using free weights or weight machines -- are a
good place to start, there's a good chance they'll disagree
on which type of training is most effective.
A study in the Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical
Therapy compared free weights with weight machines to determine
which form of training produced the greatest strength and power
gains in the lower body. Sixteen men and eight women performed
progressive weight training exercises twice a week for six weeks
using free weights (barbell squats) or weight machines (knee
extensions and hip adduction).
Strength gains were evaluated at the end of the six-week period
by way of three tests Significant improvements were seen in
both groups in barbell squat, vertical jump, and knee extension
tests, with slightly greater strength gains taking place in
subjects participating in the free-weight program.
So which type of program should you follow? Perhaps both, although
the answer depends on a variety of factors, including your physical
condition, time constraints, and fitness goals. Ask your doctor
of chiropractic to suggest nutritional and exercise guidelines
most appropriate for you.
Augustsson J, Esko A, Thomee R, et al. Weight training of
the thigh muscles using closed vs. open kinetic chain exercises:
a comparison of performance enhancement. Journal of Orthopedic
and Sports Physical Therapy, 1998, vol.27/no.1, pp5-8.
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