Do you ever have those days where you can’t decide whether to use machines or go for free weights during your workout? We definitely do, and we’re here to help you choose the best way to efficiently execute your fitness routine!
The easy answer is that if you’re low on time, grab some free weights. They are very efficient and help you work on the structure as well as function. In the structural sense, free weights will help you build body mass, and in the functional sense, free weights are much harder to hold, so you must stabilize your body while you work out. This means that you get to work more muscles for one movement.
Free weights also are not very costly. This isn’t a factor that’s super important if you work out at a gym, but if you’re choosing whether to purchase fitness machines for your house versus free weights, free weights will be much cheaper because you can do a variety of exercises just by holding weights and moving your arms in different positions.
There’s also the idea of which would be more fulfilling for you while exercising. Would you rather change a dial on a machine or be able to physically pick up a heavier set of weights? There is no right or wrong answer to this question because it’s all about what you prefer to use.
Lifting free weights is much more like real-life situations than any movement you can do on a machine. When you lift objects, you do have to use many muscles to help stabilize your body and get an efficient grip, so using free weights will help you prepare your body to lift heavy objects.
No matter whether you use machines or free weights, you must be careful about potential injuries. When lifting weights over your chest or when trying out heavier weights, you want a spotter to help prevent you from dropping your weights on your chest or face. It’s much better to be prepared than to end up with a horribly broken nose! Also to avoid injury, work on perfecting your form and isolating the correct muscles. We suggest starting with a lighter weight when learning a new exercise to ensure proper form is being used. If you perform the exercise correctly, there’s much less of a chance of you injuring yourself.
Machines are great if you just want to focus on structure. Instead of having to use multiple muscles at once, you can focus on specific muscle groups. It’s easier to isolate specific muscles using machines versus using free weights.
If you choose to include weight machines in your workout, it’s best to include them after using free weights. It may help to add volume and trigger a new growth in your muscles. It can also exhaust and help stimulate more muscle as it will take the load off other areas.
Be careful about injuries when using machines. Sometimes machines put your body in awkward angles, so if you feel any discomfort while performing exercises, always make sure to stop. As with free weights, perfecting your form is also important to help you avoid injury.
Now you know the ins and out about free weights and machines. You don’t even have to choose one or another--you can always use both, and get a great workout from both. Mix it up by using only free weights some days, only machines some days, and both some days.
Always do what you feel most comfortable with when it comes to free weights versus machines!
Yours in Health,