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Free weights Vs Machines

Free weights and machine weights are the two most used resources in strength training and resistance exercise programs. Each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, and the choice between the two depends on individual fitness goals, experience level, and personal preferences. There is no such thing as one being better than the other, you to have consider which methods advantages are going to benefit you as an individual. Here's a comparison of free weights and machine weights so you can make the judgment:

Free Weights:

  1. Versatility: The use of free weights offers a wide range of exercises that can target multiple muscle groups. They allow for more natural and functional movements, mimicking real-life activities.

  2. Stabilization: When using free weights, your muscles have to work harder to stabilize the weight, which can help improve balance and coordination. This is especially important for functional fitness and sports performance.

  3. Progressive Overload: It's easier to gradually increase the weight when using free weights, allowing for better progression in strength gains.

  4. Cost and Space: In my opinion this is the most important factor you should consider, you can work almost every single muscle group efficiently with just for example one set of dumbbells. Free weights are generally more affordable and take up way less space compared to large weight machines.

  5. Functional Strength: Free weights are excellent for developing functional strength that can be applied to daily activities and sports. This is a growing trend at the moment as people are starting to regain focus on becoming more mobile. 99% of mobility exercises that require equipment will use free weight rather than machine.

Machine Weights:

  1. Isolation: Machine weights are designed to isolate specific muscle groups, making them useful for targeted muscle training and rehabilitation exercises.

  2. Safety: Machines often have built-in safety features, such as a locked range of motion, which can reduce the risk of injury for beginners or those with limited mobility.

  3. Ease of Use: Machines are user-friendly and require less technique and balance compared to free weights, making them accessible to a broader range of individuals. This makes machines a great option for the elderly as they are less at risk to falls using a machine.

  4. Quick Adjustments: Most machines allow for quick and easy adjustments of weight resistance, making it convenient for circuit training or supersets. depending on your gym setup having to re rack and change your free weights can be very time and energy consuming.

  5. Reduced Stabilization: Because machines guide your movements and provide stability, they may not engage the stabilizing muscles as effectively as free weights. For example, let’s say your chosen exercise is a bicep curl. If you are using a dumbell whilst stood up it will force your core to engage acting as a stabiliser and a good workout for the muscle. However you lose this if you were doing a seated cable machine, then again it’s important to remember this has its downsides as well. Not having to rely on your stabilizing muscle reduces your chance of losing balance during the exercise.

In summary, the choice between free weights and machine weights depends on your fitness goals and preferences. You have to make sure you are enjoying your training, so if this choosing the method you enjoy more then i say go for it. Your 10x as likely to stick to a program if your enjoying your time in the gym. I recommend incorporating both into a well-rounded strength training program. Beginners or those with specific rehabilitation needs may initially benefit from using machines for safety and ease of use. As they progress and develop better technique and stability, they can gradually incorporate free weights to enhance their workouts and functional strength. If you’re struggling to figure out which aligns more with Your goals and preferences then drop me a message. This is a perfect example of how my 24/7 assistance plan can help you stay on track when you dont need a full trainer, instead just guidance.


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