Do you know what are the different exercise modalities in strength training (weight training)? Another concept that you should understand is using several exercise modalities. To paraphrase an old saying, “Variety is the spice of exercise.” To maximize your genetic potential, it is beneficial to employ a combination of machines, barbells, dumbbells, cables, and body-weight exercises. Each of these modalities has a unique combination of inherent benefits and drawbacks. By selectively combining them in your routine, you can heighten their advantages while minimizing their shortcomings. Following are the various modalities and their function in training:
Exercise machines use air pressure, cams, chain connections, or other mechanisms. Machines generally offer a fixed path of movement, forcing you to maintain proper technique. This allows you to concentrate on the performance of a set rather than worry about your form. Moreover, a well-designed machine can provide less resistive force in weaker muscle positions and more force in stronger positions. Hypothetically, this allows you to maximize your strength capabilities, heightening your capacity to shape your physique. Machines, however, do not adapt well to different body types, making this point open for debate. Because controlling the resistance on a machine requires less skill, you reduce the chance of training-related injury.
Dumbbells and barbells
Also called free weights, barbells and dumbbells are excellent for developing muscular coordination and balance. They provide superb freedom of movement, so you can target individual muscles with better accuracy. What’s more, free weights require that you stabilize the weight during exercise performance, activating your secondary muscles and thus helping to create a polished, symmetrical physique. As a rule, dumbbells are superior to barbells. Dumbbells force both sides of the body to work separately. You therefore can apply an equal stimulus to each side. With barbells, the stronger side of your body can compensate for the weaker side. In addition, dumbbells are better able to move in line with the natural action of your body, thereby allowing a greater range of motion. Accordingly, use dumbbells whenever possible, and use barbells for variety.
Cables combine some of the benefits of free weights and machines. By providing resistance on both the positive and negative portions of repetition, they supply continuous tension to your muscles. And because cables can move in three dimensions, they allow you to adapt an exercise to your individual body type (as opposed tea machine, which uses a fixed movement path). Cables, however, are not well suited for compound exercises, thus limiting their body sculpting applicability.
A body-weight exercise uses your weight, rather than an external weight, for resistance. Body-weight exercises can be easy to perform (for example, the floor kick and lying abduction), somewhat strenuous (for instance, the walking lunge and push-up), or extremely difficult (for example, the chin-up and sissy squat). Although limited in scope, they can be especially beneficial when combined in supersets. In the short term, they provide a way to stay in shape when you do not have access to a gym. They are convenient and efficient, and you can perform them almost anywhere.
Conclusion: Exercise modality
By combining these modalities, you have a wealth of exercises from which to choose. Consider the possibilities: you can perform many different variations of an exercise, such as the biceps curl, simply by varying the equipment you use to execute the movement. For instance, you could perform seated dumbbell curls, standing barbell curls, rope-cable curls, one-arm cable curls, machine curls, one-arm machine curls … the list goes on and on. Open your eyes to the potential for variety and you will improve your muscular development while preventing your workout from going stale.