Simple calisthenics enough for stimulating muscles

Lifting weights in the gym can certainly build up impressive musculature. But there is a limit, beyond which lies muscle and ligament tears, joint ruptures and bone fractures.

Simple calisthenic exercises, like push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups and star jumps, which use only our own body weight, are adequate muscle stimulants for all of us, as long as we do them regularly. It also results in more balanced muscle development.

Contrary to Mr Sng Ah Beng's opinion (Lifting heavier weights don't mean bigger muscles; Oct 17), the practice of spotting, where one squeezes out the last few reps of an exercise with some help from a fellow gym goer, is entirely in fulfilment of weight training principles. If free weights are dangerous, there is always the option of machines.

We should encourage young people seeking to improve and challenge themselves in the gym.

What I find disturbing is the increasing use of muscle enhancing drugs for recreational bodybuilders, and the presence of hypertrophied muscles totally disproportionate to the body frame, which is possible only with steroids.

Yik Keng Yeong (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 25, 2017, with the headline 'Simple calisthenics enough for stimulating muscles'. Print Edition | Subscribe