Free weights v/s Machines - Which is better?
Exercise • • 1 minute to read • By INFS Faculty
Author- Asmita Shah
Many gyms appear to have different types of equipment. Dumbbells, medicine balls, cable pulleys, ropes, and machines. These are basic options for strength training:
- Free -weights: Dumbbells, Barbells, Kettlebells, etc.
- Machines for example leg curl, lat pulldown, seated rowing, cable pulley, etc.
The major difference between these two is machines are stable and fixed units that move in a fixed direction whereas free weights can be moved in any way.
It can be difficult to decide which ones to use. Is there a better way to lift weights than the other? Well, both these tools have their application and advantages.
|Biomechanics||The machines just follow the predefined path and do not take into account individual differences in movement patterns.||Free weight training, on the other hand, allows to customize and change the action to feel more natural, simple, and effective.|
|Stability, and Muscle activation||The machine-based exercises provide built-in stability.For the same reason, machine-based workouts have minimal effect on strengthening the stabilizers and connective tissues.||Free weights are more effective for this. In addition, free-weight workouts make it simple to lift greater weights and are excellent for increasing strength.Free weights activate more muscles than machines|
|Execution||Machine-based exercises have the benefits of being simple to learn and execute.As a result, machine-based workouts may be a better alternative for a beginner than free-weight exercises.||While using free weights,requires a lot more control than machines.Technique and form are very important to minimize the risk of injuries.Free weight exercises mimic natural movement and can be useful in day-to-day activities.|
|Resistance Profile||These are better for exercises where the motion is curvilinear (such as bicep curls, lateral raises, leg extensions, etc.) or parallel to the ground (such as seated rows) because they have a better match of strength and resistance curves.||These are better for exercises where the motion is straight (such as bench press, squats deadlift, etc.)|
|Injury Management****||It can help improve the strength in other areas of the body without aggravating the injury.||Free weights need stability, balance, and control. Post-injury, the technique is very important else it can aggravate the pain. Machines are a safer option.|
|Versatility||Machines are specialized and target only one muscle at a time. Hence, less versatile.||Free weights are more versatile and multiple muscles can be targeted at the same time.|
|Space and Cost||Machines are more expensive and require lot of space than free weights. Need to invest in a lot of machines to target all the muscles.||Free weights are less expensive and take up less storage space. More useful for home workouts as multiple exercises can be done with limited weights.|
Free Weights Or Machines?
Both the training tools have their own space in the regimen. It’s all about striking a balance.
If someone is a beginner, it’s a good idea to start with machine exercises as free weights can be a little intimidating for a novice lifter. When it comes to training, targeting different muscle groups from all angles and developing full-body strength is important. Adding free weights in the routine will help. Free weight movements mimic real-life movement patterns that can help in getting stronger for performing daily activities like lifting heavy bags, emptying goods from the car, carrying a baby, etc. From a hypertrophy perspective, adding machine-based movements post-free weights movements will help in accumulating volume. Similarly, to target a particular muscle group or to work on weak parts, machine-based exercises can be added. Hence, the combination of these tools can add variety to the routine.
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