Are Free Weights or Machines Better for Training
You might say free weights versus machines are a matter of preference. Some people think free weights are better than machines, others think machines are superior to free weights. With a multitude of reasons why they prefer them, as usual as a bystander in a debate, you’re left scratching your head wondering if your choice is the right one.
Well, we aren’t going to tell you what opinion you should have, because that’s not what friends do, my friend. But we will tell you the pros and cons of free weights and machines so you can develop your own opinion.
Free weights require more muscles to balance the weight so you benefit more.
Machines isolate muscle because it doesn’t allow for free range of movement.
Pros of Free Weights
- You must balance the weight which employs secondary muscles that are not used with machines.
- Balancing weight is required in a lot of free range movements in sports.
- Affordable if you want to build a home gym.
- Offer more variety in exercises than machines.
- Great for beginners who aren’t comfortable learning machines.
Cons of Free Weights
- You have to learn proper form.
- Can lead to injury.
- No isolation of muscles.
- May need a second person to ‘spot’ you.
Pros of Machines
- Isolated muscle strengthening.
- Directions included for guided exercise form.
- Can use independently.
- Beginners may find machines easier than learning proper form.
Cons of Machines
- Secondary muscle groups are not used because of isolated muscle training.
- Expensive if you want a home gym.
- Less variety in exercises.
- They break. Seriously….like all the time.
As you can see, the pros and cons are only pros and cons based on your goals. If you want isolated movements, go for machines. If you want free-range exercises—go with weights. If you’re uncomfortable with form, go for a machine.
This is one debate that will likely never end. But you can end it easily by incorporating BOTH into your training regimen.
Both offer the ability for you to strengthen muscles and increase your power. Your goals will really drive what you use.
What matters more is HOW you use it.
No matter if you’re using a machine or free weights, the intensity of your exercise is what is going to fuel your results.
The more intense your workout, pushing your limits in weight and reps are what will build fast-twitch muscles and endurance muscles along with muscular adaptations that will provide better performance and endurance. You can achieve drastic increases in power in just a couple weeks by exercising with intensity.
So no matter what you choose—make sure you do it with vigor. With fervor. With intensity.
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