By AJ Kelly a L.I.F. contact
Is it safe for my child to lift weights?
Research has concluded strength training to be safe and effective means for children if performed correctly and under proper supervision. Resistance training can increase muscular strength and endurance, improve body composition, reduce the risk of injury and improve bone mineral density in children. NSCA’s Youth Resistance Training Position Paper states that recommendations for a resistance training should be of 1-3 sets of 6-15 repetitions. Recent research states that it is safe and effective for your child to lift heavy as well. One of the concerns with lifting heavy for a child is possible damage to epiphyseal plate or growth cartilage
Does spot reduction work?
Spot reduction is the theory that if you work a specific muscle that you will decrease the amount of fat that is in that region. This has never been shown to occur to any extent in any research to date. The reason that spot reduction does not work is because muscle does not own the fat that surrounds it. Common spot reduction practices consist of people performing countless number of crunches a day believing that it will lead to that desired six pack. This will lead to a stronger abdominal region but will not get rid of the fat covering abdomen. Fat is lost throughout the body in a pattern different for each individual. This could depend upon genetics, hormones, and age. For men typically abdominal fat is the lost last in the pattern and for women hips and buttocks is the last to go.
Do you prefer using free weights or machines? Which is better for you… free weights or machines?
Some prefer to use resistance machines, believing that machines are safer and will offer the same benefits as free weights. First of all, no machine automatically makes a situation safer. In fact, research has stated that relaxed unloaded sitting can increase the stress on the lumbar spine by 40% when compared with standing. What kind of stress do you think would be placed on the lumbar spine while pressing weight overhead in a seated position on a resistance machine? Furthermore, most weighted machines follow a 2-dimensional linear path which could result in unbalanced muscular development and reduced motor skill proficiency. When performing an exercise on a seated machine, some possible training effects are lost or greatly reduced such as balance, stabilization, and decreased core activation. In the end I think that there is a time and place to use machines as well as free weights. If balance is a serious issue with you, then maybe most of your routine should be focusing on machines until your balance improves. If you are an athlete, I strongly recommend that you utilize free weights for most of your training because of the athletic benefits that would be lost from too much machine usage. Even for the athlete, some machine usage may be beneficial from a variety standpoint or certain physical limitations. In essence, both machines and free weights offer benefits and disadvantages. The type of equipment that you use very much depends on your specific goals and physical abilities.