While there is no doubt that resistance exercise is the best form of exercise to boost muscular hypertrophy or growth, a constant question often asked by many is which is the superior mode of resistance training, weight machines or free weights? Of course, other types of resistance training also exist, such as body weight exercise, in which the weight of the body provides the resistance, and resistance bands, which became increasingly popular when commercial gyms were ordered closed because of the Covid-19 pandemic in March, 2020. Indeed, when my training headquarters, Gold's Gym in Venice closed down, I sought another way to train. For the first 10 days following the gym closure, I just did stationary cycling using a bike I never usually used. But at my age, muscle tendsrt to deteriorate rapidly, so I soon realized that I needed to do some type of resistance training. I attempted to purchase weights online, but was met with extreme price gauging, such as $1,500 for a pair of 50-pound dumbbells. Even worse, most of the weights sold online rapidly sold out, so I couldn't buy them at any price. Then I came across a video on YouTube about resistance band training, which I had never previously used and knew little about. But the theory about them made sense to me, so I purchased a set. It was awkward at first, since I was so used to lifting actual weights, and the bands took some getting used to. But I soon did, and found them surprisingly effective for maintaining muscle. But my experience with them left me with the feeling that while they definitely provided resistance, it wasn't comparable to weights in the sense that I doubt using the bands alone would provide a significant degree of muscular hypertrophy, at least compared to weights. More on resistance band training later.
Not long after I received the bands, a friend and former colleague brought me some free weights, one rusty bar and two homemade dumbbells with about 80 pounds of weights. I didn't have a bench or any other equipment, so I had to improvise on the exercises.My solution was to return to old style training using basic exercises such as bent-over rows, barbell curls, dumbbell triceps extensions and so on. I was limited because I had recently incurred a severe shoulder injury after slipping in the shower. But despite this, I was still able to train my shoulders with very light weight and also using light resistance bands. Then another friend who owned a private training gym was kind enough to offer me a key to the gym, and at this writing with Covid-19 still raging like an out of control forest fire, I'm still training in the small gym. Indeed, today it was announced that gyms . . .