Free weights versus machines have been a long-debated subject with lots of peer-reviewed information. Both modalities of resistance training have advantages and disadvantages for specific intensity on specific muscles involved. Humans move in a three-dimensional (free weight) pattern most frequently in everyday use of the body; machines are generally fixed to a two dimensional guided path. The free weights are going to recruit more stabilizer muscles to help the movement than machines. What I have seen is machine are a good adjunct to free weights in appropriate phases of training, or for people who have neurological and/or coordination issues, it can be useful for safety.
Free weight training Vs Machines – Advantages and Disadvantages
- Free weights can reproduce human movement patterns more closely to what happens in real life motions.
- Free weights make your body use the smaller stabilizer muscles.
- Free weights help your balance and coordination.
- Free weights make your core muscles work better by stabilizing the movement.
- Free weights help to keep your body in a more natural movement pattern
- Free weight training takes a lot more coordination.
- Free weight training if done incorrectly can hurt you.
- Free weight training is more fatiguing than machines.
- Free weight training generally takes longer.
- Machine are a good start for people with little time to exercise.
- Machines help people exercise that have neurological dysfunctions and or lack of coordination.
- Machines have less likelihood for injury – such as a barbell across your chest in a chestpress.
- Machines fit only people of average stature.
- Machines do not recruit as many muscles as free weights.
- Machines do not replicate everyday movements (2D Vs 3D).
- Machine can give a person a false sense of strength because the are not having to use their whole body to stabilize and are often times supported.
This is some good information to consider when planning you workout routine.
Stay tuned for the next blog!! If you have any questions or need help with designing a complete exercise program contact me.
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