You walk into the gym for a weight lifting session and you're immediately given a choice: do you grab the free weights or hop on one of the machines? Here's an explanation for when you should use both.
This video from the PictureFit YouTube channel explains the major differences between pumping up with free weights and machines. Most of the time, free weights (barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, etc.) are going to be your best option for a few reasons:
- The instability of free weights helps build stabilizing muscles. This improves your balance, athleticism, and coordination. Machines remove the instability from the equation.
- Free weights let you move the bars in a natural bar path, or in a way that comes natural to you. This lets your lifting replicate real-life movements. Machines can restrict this type of motion.
- You can do just about any type of lift with free weights. Not so with machines designed to do a few particular lifts.
Still, there are plenty of scenarios where lifting machines are a much better option:
- The stability of lifting machines makes them a great option for those going through rehab after an injury.
- Lifting machines have a much lower learning curve, making them perfect for lifting beginners and the elderly.
- You can isolate specific muscle groups a lot easier with a machine.
Overall, free weights are better for building general strength and working the muscles you use naturally. If you can manage it, learn how to properly lift with free weights. That said, lifting machines aren't useless. If you're working your way up to free weights, or need the extra stability, machines are the better choice.
Free Weights vs. Machines [YouTube ]