There are people who believe free weights are always the way to go whereas others will swear by their weight machines when it comes to strength training.
In fairness to both, we will look at the pros and cons of each and let you come to your own decision on the matter.
How ever you decide to incorporate strength training into your life, you always want to remember to listen to your body.
So let’s begin with some of the advantages that free weights have to offer.
Many of the exercises you can do with free weights are very similar to movement patterns we use every day. Let’s look at a squat for a basic example. Can you think of how we use a squat in our everyday lives?
Think about sitting down...we squat to have a seat numerous times through the day. Isn’t it a good idea to strengthen and train our bodies to help perform our daily activities?
Another advantage of free weights includes recruiting stabilizing muscles to perform certain movements which can help produce an overall strength gain. Free weights can also be inexpensive and a fairly portable means of exercise so people may have a greater opportunity to workout.
A major disadvantage of using free weights is the risk of injury a person can sustain if proper form and technique are not used.
This is huge issue especially for those new to exercise or to the use of free weights.
Free weights also allow a person to use their momentum rather than their strength to perform exercises which can also lead to injury.
When it comes to weight machines some of the advantages include being safer and easier to use, especially for beginners. Machine workouts can also take less time because you can move from machine to machine and weight adjustment can usually be done very easily by inserting a pin into a weight stack. Machines also help promote the correct the range of motion for each exercise.
A disadvantage of using weight machines can be the fact that machines are typically made for the “average” size person with a limited range of adjustments. Some people based on their size may not fit properly.
Machines also typically move along a predetermined path which can make it difficult to strengthen stabilizing muscles.
Finally, most machines are large pieces of equipment that are not very portable.
Now that you have heard some of the advantages and disadvantages for both free weights and weight machines, what is your opinion on the subject?
I recommend for most people a strength training program that incorporates both free weights and weight machines be included in a well rounded exercise program because they can both yield positive results if done correctly.
Just remember which ever route you choose to take, listen to your body and if you have questions about exercises, ask someone who has
knowledge and experience in strength training to help.