Strength Training Methods
Free Weights Versus Weight Machines
If you're someone who's getting ready to start up on a strength training workout protocol, you need to know which strength training methods you should be utilizing with your approach.
It's important to keep in mind that not all strength training exercises are created equally, so by picking and choosing the most effective ones for your protocol, you can help guarantee that you see the success that you're after.
One very common question that comes up when evaluating different strength training methods is whether you should be leaning towards free weights or weight machines to get that workout in.
Let's go over a few of the top factors to consider.
When considering using weight machines, there are some pros and cons. First, this type of set-up does tend to work best for the beginner trainee who may need a bit more guidance as they go about their exercise.
When first starting out, weight lifting can be a bit intimidating so if you don't have the help and guidance leading you through it, you may start to feel rather overwhelmed. Weight machines can provide this guidance.
The second big benefit to weight machines is that since the machine will be your spotter, they're good for those who are working out alone but who still want to make sure they are pushing their limits.
Weight machines will assure that you are able to lift as much weight as possible without putting your body in nearly as much risk for injury.
Finally, weight machines can be good for keeping you using proper form. Because the machine will guide the pattern of movement, there's less of a chance of you moving out of proper form while utilizing this piece of equipment.
Now we come to free weights. Just like weight machines, they too have their advantages.
First, one big advantage is that you are going to see much greater core muscle activation when using free weights as opposed to using weight machines. Since the core muscles will act as stabilizers for the body, they will be contracting through each and every movement that you make.
So if your goal is to get flat abs, free weights can provide superior benefits to allow you to do so.
Second, free weights are also going to be ideal for allowing you to use a movement pattern that's best for your body. Some people will find that when using machine weights, if they're very tall or very short, the machine is going to interrupt their natural pattern of movement, making it slightly more challenging to execute the exercise as they should.
When you're lifting free weights, however, you control the movement pattern so can move as you wish.
For those who aren't of a typical body size, free weight training can be superior in some cases because of this.
Finally, free weights are great for those who are hoping to exercise in a home gym environment. Most people won't obviously be able to afford or have the space to store machine based weights, so free weights would be ideal in either of these situations.
So there you have the main points to keep in mind in the debate with free weights versus machines.
If you want to see the absolute best results from your efforts, a combination of both is typically the ultimate way to go as then you can get the best of both worlds depending on the exercise in question.