Free weights vs Machine weights: Which is right for me?
The age old argument regarding free weights vs machine weights continues. While each can help you build strength there are definite pros & cons for each. Furthermore, one of the key questions I ask customers that are looking to purchase strength equipment has to do with what their strength training goals are.
The most important component in any strength training program is safety. If you are new to strength training or if you are working out alone, variable strength machines like the Bodyworx L8000LP might be a better option initially. While machines can be viable option for serious weight training, they are best for novice, senior and recreational athletes.
For rehabilitating injured athletes, variable strength machines are preferred. They provide a more controlled motion and specifically isolate certain muscle groups. Machines also allow you to track progress and provide objective feedback while increasing the protective participation of the healthy limb or muscle group.
Research has shown us that free weights promote quicker strength gains and they require more balance and coordination than do the weight machines. Free weights recruit more muscle groups than variable resistance machines, which tend to only isolate specific muscles.
Free weights are also more versatile than machines because they allow for more variations in range of motion. An example of a free weights machine is something like the a Power Rack. The power rack while basic in its form allows the serious weight trainer the ability to do a wide range of exercises that focus on the major muscle groups.
Freight weights also require balance, and they tend to promote more activity of the joint stabilization muscles. Also in terms of cost, you can start out with a few dumbbells.
As mentioned above, your goals will also play a part in deciding which strength training system you choose. If your goal is more about toning & general fitness then a machine weight system may be the go.