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The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter, Issue #226 Gravity Versus Barbells
May 01, 2018

May 1, 2018

In this newsletter . . .

Gravity versus Barbells

Since entering the very senior of my senior years, I’ve become more and more a resistance band user. Free weights (most recently kettlebells) may always be the gold standard when it comes to resistance workouts. But now, I have to say, bands have overtaken even my kettlebells.

Here’s why:

Gravity is a factor when lifting iron, and aging tendons and ligaments may be stressed too much because of it. But gravity is not a factor when working with resistance bands. Think of a simple movement like the barbell curl. As the barbell descends, tendons are sometimes over-stressed to control the weight, particularly at the bottom of the lift. While the curl movement using resistance bands works the same arm muscle but with much less tendon stress.

Aging seniors or even younger trainees with achy joints often find relief using a good set of bands instead of weights.

Still, a lot people who’ve been around gyms a long time may pooh-pooh resistance bands. “They’re just for geezers that can’t lift real weights anymore,” you might hear. Don’t believe them. They don’t know what they’re talking about.

Here are a couple of examples of what I mean:

New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady works out with bands. So does former San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Terrell Owens. These are elite athletes playing at the highest level in one of the toughest of all sports. They wouldn’t waste their time if bands didn’t get results.

Bands are also one of the great bargains in the fitness world, being inexpensive and compact. At home you can stash an entire set in one drawer. Try that with a set of weights or a stationary bike. And they’re perfect for travel.

By now, I must sound like a salesperson pushing a product. One resistance band company, the BodyLastics brand, once was an advertiser on my website. But for some time now I haven’t had any connection and receive no compensation from them. Still, I use their bands and like them a lot. There are probably others that are good, too. At Amazon you can find many companies, as well as BodyLastics, selling resistance bands.

If any of this sounds good, I hope you’ll give them a try. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

* * *

Periodically, I still do high intensity interval training (or HIIT). It’s highly effective and lots of fun when mixed in with other routines. I would not recommend it for senior beginners, however. And for me, personally, I couldn’t do HIIT in a three-days-per-week format. One day a week or once every two weeks is about right. That way it always seems fresh and a bit challenging. Here’s an example of a typical format I might use:

I select four exercises, each done close to all-out for 20 seconds, with just 10 seconds rest before the next exercise. Be sure to warm-up first.


  • Kettlebells Press

  • Mt. Climbers

  • Resistant Band Rowing (see photo above)

  • Bodyweight Squats

Cycle through the four exercises twice. Remember, you should be in shape before trying HIIT, and it’s not for beginners. Please see my HIIT page before starting. There’s an online timer at the bottom of the page that takes all the guess work out of how long each effort should be.

Yours in senior fitness, strength & health,

Senior Exercise Central

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Newsletter Policy

The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter is a free publication sent twice monthly to subscribers. The purpose is to provide honest and realistic fitness information for people age 50 and above.

I have never been paid or received compensation of any kind to write a positive review or endorse a product. If I say that I personally use a product or service, it is because I find value in it and have paid for it with my own money.

Like newspapers, magazines and television, this newsletter and my web site contain advertising and marketing links. Naturally, I am compensated for these.

The newsletter and web site provide information to help users establish and maintain a fitness lifestyle. But fitness information is not the same as fitness advice, which is the application of exercise and dietary practices to an individual's specific circumstances. Therefore, always consult with your physician for assurance that fitness information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate for you.

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Logan Franklin
The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter

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