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There are many types of resistance training equipment available, finding what works for you is a matter of cost, comfort, and effectiveness.


  • One of the most effective tools, dumbbells provide more resistance pound for pound than barbells or machines since so much effort and muscle is used to stabilize the weight. You will gain more functional (usable) strength by using dumbbells than other options as well.
  • Find dumbbells of various weights-most come in differences of 2.5 to 5 pounds.
  • There are different handles available, find one of a thickness and material that you feel comfortable with.

Resistance Bands

  • Basically a big rubber band, resistance bands come in several types and thicknesses. The best come with handles for comfort, and some even have attachments for anchoring the bands to doors.
  • The thicker the band, the more challenging it is. Some bands are color-coded, others are just labeled. Find a band that is a little more challenging than you think you will need since you will grow out of it quickly.
  • The resistance varies based on the length of tubing you use, use shorter length tubing for more resistance, use longer length tubing for less.

Household Items

  • It doesn't take a lot of money to get resistance equipment, but using the right items will keep it safer.
  • Instead of using milk jugs full of water or sand, use laundry detergent bottles that are stronger and don't pop open under stress
  • For beginners who don't need much weight, cans of soup, books, and other objects are great places to start. The odd size of the objects helps you gain hand strength as well.

Wait 48 hours between sessions

  • Since machines vary by make and model, talk with a certified personal trainer to get information on how to use each specific type of machine.

The consumer health information on is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical conditions. You should promptly seek professional medical care if you have any concern about your health, and you should always consult your physician before starting a fitness regimen.