NASM Chapter 15 Introduction to Exercise Modalities

Introduction to Resistance-Training Modalities 

  • the most common form of resistance used in strength-training programs is actual load in the form of free weights (Dumbbells, Barbells), body weight, and selectorized machine and cable apparatuses

Strength Training Machines

  • Most novice exercises lack resistance-training experience, strength training machines offer those new to exercise a safe and effective option.
  • Machine- in general, keep individual’s in a fixed plane of motion, which limits excessive ranges of motion that may result in unnecessary MSK stress.
  • Typically machines are considered a safer option than free weights.
  • Machines Can change the load quickly.
  • Machines are inferior to free weights for improving core stability and neuromuscular efficiency(proper movement patterns). Can limit effectiveness of exercise and create more stress on joints because not all machines are created to accommodate all body types.
  • Trainers should strive to progress individuals into more proprioceptively enriched environment while emphasizing multiple planes of motion (Use of free weights)

Free Weights

  • Free weights allow individuals to Perform exercises with full range of motion. Enhance motor learning and improve overall neuromuscular efficiency and performance.
  • More easily progressed. Allow individuals to perform multijoint exercises(complex movements).
  • Performing complex movements require more energy and enables individuals to expend more calories in a short period.
  • Although free weights can offer many benefits such as improving postural stability,strength, and muscle size and power, they can be potentially dangerous for novice exercisers until proper exercise technique (control and stability) is mastered.
  • many free-weight exercises,especially overhead lifts, often require a spotter to ensure proper exercise technique and safety
  • Can be effectively used in all phases(phase 1-5)


Cable Machines

  • Cable machines offer a variety of fitness and sports performance benefits because they allow similar freedom of movement as free weights, yet most exercises do not require a spotter.
  • Remember that joint motion is caused by muscles pulling on bones; muscles cannot actively push. Therefore each cable exercise must match the muscle’s natural line of pull. For example, when performing a biceps curl (elbow flexion), the cable should be positioned to offer resistance in a vertical
    motion against elbow flexion
  • Because cable machines can be used in a variety of fashions similar to free weights
    and by virtually all populations, they can be effectively used in all phases (Phases 1–5)
    of the OPT Model.
  • Cable machines are also an excellent option to challenge the core
    while having individuals perform exercises in a standing position versus seated as seen
    in many machine exercises.


  • Elastic resistance training is an inexpensive alternative to training with resistance. Various
    forms of elastic resistance training can be used to help improve proprioceptive
    demands, muscular endurance, and joint stabilization.
  • Elastic resistance training may not be ideal for improving maximal strength, but it has been shown to be very beneficial in helping to improve muscular strength and endurance for fitness and rehabilitative
  • Because elastic resistance is so versatile, health and fitness professionals frequently
    use elastic resistance with their clients in a variety of settings, including health clubs,
    boot camps, athletic performance centers, and rehabilitation clinics. In addition to its
    versatility, one of the greatest advantages of elastic resistance over free weights is its low
    cost and portability
  • Elastic resistance can be used in a variety of fashions, similar to cable machines,
    and by virtually all populations. They can be effectively used in Phases 1, 2, and 5 of
    the OPT Model.


  • Medicine balls can be used with a variety of populations as part of a program to
    increase muscular strength, endurance, and power, or in some cases, to help rehabilitate
    from injury
  • Personal training clients enjoy the versatility of medicine balls
    whereas athletes often benefit from the dynamic power opportunities afforded by their
    ability to be thrown and caught.
  • Most free-weight exercises performed in an explosive fashion (such as
    a speed bench press) require the individual to decelerate the load near the end of the
    movement (otherwise the weight will fl y through the air) and thus do not allow for full
    expression of power through the entire range of motion – Explosive medicine ball movements
    in conjunction with resistance training have been found effective in improving
    movement velocity and other factors influencing sports performance



  • The giyra, Russian for kettlebell, ranges from very low weight (4 kg), over 8 pounds, to competition style weight (64 kg), more than 140 pounds, and higher weights exist
  • A kettlebell differs from a dumbbell, barbell, or medicine ball in that the center of mass is away from the handle, which may require more strength and coordination, as well as increased recruitment from stabilizers and prime movers simultaneously during particular movements.
  • All variations allow the user to transform dynamic force reduction into powerful force production for
    a fun, challenging, and effective workout.
  • The benefits of kettlebell training are numerous and are applicable for individuals who wish to increase all aspects of health and fitness and for professional and Olympic athletes.
    Such benefits include:
  • ■ Enhanced athleticism, coordination, and balance
  • ■ Increased mental focus and physical stamina
  • ■ Increased oxygen uptake
  • ■ Increased total body conditioning as opposed to isolation training
  • ■ Recruitment of the posterior chain (calves, hamstring complex, gluteal muscles,
    spinal erectors)
  • ■ Increased core stability and muscular endurance
  • ■ Increased strength and power
  • ■ Improved grip strength
  • ■ Increased metabolic demands and caloric expenditure

Kettlebell Program Design Strategies

  • emphasis on the posterior chain, working from the ground up
    and keeping perfect form throughout each repetition, must be top priority. Practicing
    appropriate skills of gluteal and latissimus dorsi contraction along with abdominal
    hollowing and bracing must be continued and progressed carefully. Thus, one must be
    qualified to perform many kettlebell movements, and this modality may not be appropriate
    for all populations
  • as with all exercises, quality should always come before quantity
    or weight progression, and the five kinetic chain checkpoints should be monitored:
  • 1. Feet: approximately shoulders’ width apart and pointing straight ahead
  • 2. Knees: in line with the second and third toes (avoid valgus or varus motions)
  • 3. Hips: level with lumbar spine in a neutral position
  • 4. Shoulders: depressed and slightly retracted to activate scapulae stabilizers
  • 5. Head: cervical spine in a neutral position (chin tuck)
  • Kettlebells can be effectively integrated into the OPT Model, particularly Phases 1,
    2, and 5. For example, a kettlebell exercise that can be used in Phase 1 to improve stability
    is a renegade row (Figure 15.14). In Phase 2, you can superset the renegade row with
    a seated cable row (Figure 15.15). In Phase 5, you may superset a squat to overhead
    press with a kettlebell snatch (Figure 15.16).



  • Body weight exercises are exercises that do not require additional load such as dumbbells,
    barbells, or strength-training machines.
  • An individual’s own body weight along with gravity provides the resistance for the movement.
  • Common body weight strength exercises include
  • 1. push-ups
  • 2. pull-ups
  • 3. body weight squats
  • 4. sit-ups.
  • Body weight exercises are often used for core, balance, and plyometric training

Suspension Body-Weight Training

  • Suspension trainers are an innovative approach to body-weight fitness training that
    uses a system of ropes and webbing that allows the user to work against their own body
    weight while performing various exercises.
  • allow individuals to manipulate body position and stability to provide multiplanar,
    multijoint exercises in a proprioceptively enriched environment.
  • Benefits of Suspension Body-Weight Training
    Some of the physiologic benefi ts that come with suspension body-weight training
  • ■ Increased muscle activation
  • ■ Low compressive loads to the spine
  • ■ Increased performance
  • ■ Potential increase in caloric expenditure
  • ■ Improvements in cardiovascular fitness

Stability Balls

  • Swiss balls, allows increase in strength and stability of the core musculature when substituted for more stable surfaces such as exercise benches, chairs, and the floor.
  • The unstable base of support forces user to constantly adjust body position to subtle movements of the ball.
  • Can be dangerous if one does not possess good balance or control.
  • using a stability ball as a base of support is not recommended for individuals aiming to create maximal force during an exercise; Thus, stability ball training is not recommended during maximal lifts using heavy loads
    (85–100% of 1RM)
  • NASM-1

Bosu Balls

  • Stands for both sides up.
  • Ability to increase intensity of an exercise by decreasing the stability.
  • Increases neuromuscular activity when compared with standing on a stable surface.




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