Free weights in front of machines are confusing, but they are becoming more interesting with the emergence of alternative strength training methods, such as resistance bands, suspension training, body weight strength training and many more.
The comparison between the two workouts is puzzling, as neither is necessarily better than the other; however, it is prudent to study the benefits and disadvantages of each to determine the most effective exercise that will help you achieve your fitness goals.
Benefits of Free Weights workout:
1. Free weights allow for three-dimensional movement and have a significant transfer to your daily activities and workouts.
2. When you lift a free weight, you involve more muscles to stabilize the weight.
3. You are more likely to participate in more than one muscle group at a time and use a full range of motion, which makes your training effective and time efficient.
4. You don’t need an expensive gym membership to get the most out of your free weight training. You can do it virtually anywhere.
The drawbacks of free weights workout:
It is very difficult to raise your performance and lift heavier weights. You must make sure that your stabilizing muscles are able to hold and lift free weights.
More training is needed to be able to perform all exercises properly and safely using free weights. This may be due to the greater range of motion and complexity of movement compared to weight machines.
Poor body posture and improper weights can increase the risk of serious injury when exercising with weights.
Benefits of weight machines workout:
Easy to learn and use: All movements and directions of the machine are fairly systematic.
Some machines allow you to use heavier weights without risk of injury. These machines are very beneficial for beginners or inexperienced enthusiasts, as they adjust the body posture, unlike free weights, which decreases the risk of injury.
Disadvantages of weight machines workout:
Weight machines are attached to a limited axis that only allows for one or two dimensional movement, which prevents a wide range of motion and neglects small and vulnerable muscles.
Lack of functional training can lead to injuries outside the gym. This is because lack of functionality means that the machines do not train the muscles in the regular human movement patterns. Therefore, they don’t prepare you enough for regular daily activities.
Neglect the small, stabilizing muscle groups around the joints, which can lead to chronic injuries.
Omit and replace those weight machines with more dynamic functional movement:
Abduction/Adduction Machine: When you are sitting, you barely use your core while you must join hips and thighs. This is ineffective isolation. It would be more competent to use resistance bands when performing squats and lunges for productive gains.
Abdominal Crunch Machine: involves the outermost abdominal muscle and neglects the deeper abdominal muscles. It would be more effective to do planks.
Sitting leg extension: this puts your knees at high risk of injury. Do squats instead.
Think outside the box, it is important to keep in mind that resistance and strength training are not limited to free weights and machines alone. Consider mixing your routine with resistance bands, suspension training and weight training. These types of workouts focus on keeping your muscles under tension for longer periods of time to actually strengthen and lengthen the muscles. A mix of everything is definitely the key. Gravity can be a powerful force generator!