The effect of using free weights or machines has been a topic of controversy for years on end by weight lifting enthusiasts and fitness trainers.
Benefits of using Free Weights vs Machines
Free weights as seen by many are preferable in the respect that they allow the user to perform their strength training routine in a time efficient manner. Occasionally seen to be more versatile by allowing the user to achieve a variety of exercise workouts targeting all aspects of the body without the rigor of moving from one location to the next to use the required machine.
More Natural Movement
Frequent use of free weights has been observed to increase functionality during your workout by permitting the user to move their body in a more natural manner completing required motions through a variety of angles and planes as a person would normally do on a daily basis including squatting, lifting and rotating the body.
Improves balance and posture
When using free weights the person is seen as supporting their own body weight improving balance and posture. When using free weights during a workout a person is able to improve their entire body strength by targeting specific muscle areas including smaller muscles used to effectively burn more calories which are generally overlooked with the use of machines.
When using free weights during training it requires the person to balance and stabilize the body with the use of additional muscles allowing the user to achieve a more rounded total workout for each session.
Improves Muscle Balance
Most people who occasionally workout will generally have a tendency to be stronger on one side of the body than the other such as in cases where the triceps group may be stronger on the left side than the right. When using machines during your training the dominant side will typically compensate for the weaker side depriving the user of a balanced workout. However with the use of free weights the weaker side is compelled to perform an equal share of the workout thus attaining an equal balance.
Bigger Strength Gains
Although strength training through machines will offer the user with a great foundation for strength training they lack the ability to provide the user with the natural movements the body is accustomed to in daily life. Free weights allow a more natural motions as you perform each strength training exercise as the body is able to simulate real life motions allowing the user to increase muscle mass, flexibility and overall strength more effortlessly over time.
Reduces Injuries Caused by Exercise Machines
Most machines used for strength training in the gym are designed to be safe for the user, however not all machines are good for the user. Exercises such as seated leg extensions can be highly aggravating on the users knees as users who have in the past been subject to any form of knee injury are urged to stay away from such machines.
Makes you keep to the proper weight limit
In addition using machines during your strength training will allow the user to use heavier weights than the body is physically capable of lifting which can result in possible back and severe muscle injury, an option which is not easily available when using free weights.
Many strength trainers have found that by effectively combining the use of both free weights and machines they have been able to target and strengthen most if not all of the required areas of the body to achieve total conditioning to improve muscle tones, body strength and thus promote good health.