Free Weights vs. Machines: How to Make the Right Choice?

    It’s no secret that lifting weights is the best way to build muscle and gain strength.

    But, what type of weights should you be using for your workouts? Should you be sticking to the machines? Or, should you be hitting the free weights?

    Check out this guide to learn about the pros and cons when it comes to free weights vs machines. 

    Free Weights: Pros and Cons

    When most people think of free weights, they think of dumbbells. However, a free weight is any type of weight that doesn’t contain you to a fixed, specific movement.

    In addition to dumbbells, free weights include kettlebells,  sand bells, medicine balls, and barbells.

    Pros

    One of the biggest benefits of barbells and free weights is that because your range is motion isn’t limited, you can get a more well-rounded workout. Free weights also allow you to work out different muscle groups at once. And, with free weights, you incorporate jumping and other sorts of movements to achieve a cardio burn along with your strength workout.

    Generally speaking, free weights are also safer than machines. Also, from a practical standpoint, most gyms have a huge rack of free weights, while they’ll just have one of each type of weight machine. This means that if you do a free weight workout, you won’t have to waste time waiting around for a machine to free up.

    Cons 

    The biggest downside to free weights is that for beginners, some of the movements can seem quite complex. 

    Because of this, many people prefer to start out with machines, as they seem less daunting.

    Also, while free weights are generally safe, some movements require you to have a spotter. 

    Weight Machines: Pros and Cons 

    A weight machine uses gravity as the main source of resistance. There are weight machines for every muscle group, with some of the most popular ones being the seated press, the leg press, the lat pull down, and the leg curl machine.

    Pros

    The biggest benefit of using weight machines is that they allow you to isolate certain muscle groups.

    Additionally, weight machines are more beginner-friendly, and you don’t need a spotted to use them.

    Cons

    The downside to weight machines is that they don’t allow for a full range of motion. This can sometimes lead to faulty movements, which can increase your risk of injury.

    Additionally, some weight machines don’t require you to activate muscles that you normally use in the ”real world”. Plus, if you visit the gym during peak hours, you may find yourself having to wait in line to use a weight machine.

    Free Weights vs Machines: Which is Right for You?

    So, which is better between free weights vs machines. The truth is, you’ll probably benefit most from using a combination of both.

    However, you should stick to whichever one will keep you motivated and coming back to the gym.

    Be sure to check back in with our blog for more fitness-related tips and tricks.

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