When you walk into any health club or gym, you usually have two choices for the kind of weight training routine you can do: free weights or weight machines.

Which Is The Best? What are the best times to grab dumbbells, medicine balls, barbells, or dumbbells? When should you start using weight machines like the pull-down, chest press, or leg press? You’ll find out the benefits of both weight machines and free weights below.

There Are Many Benefits To Free Weights:

  • You get stronger. Research shows that weight machines are not as effective at building strength.
  • You become more athletic. Weight machines are more effective than free weights.
  • Your time is more valuable. Most free weight exercises, such as deadlifts or squat-to-overhead-press recruit more muscle groups than weight machines, so you work more muscle and burn more calories in less time.
  • It’s possible to move more freely. No matter how many adjustments you make to the handles or seat, weight machines don’t feel right. Free weights allow you to rotate freely so overhead shoulder presses can feel more natural and easy than with weight machines.

There Are Many Benefits To Weight Machines:

  • There is less risk of injury. To master proper form, many free weight exercises require instruction. The weight machine’s joints and levers can help you achieve the correct range of motion.
  • Better for beginners. Weight machines are often found in areas far away from the grunting of heavy dumbbell lifters. Personal trainers often have access to the area and can assist you with a workout or show you how to use the machine properly.
  • It is great for isolating muscle groups. Machines can be extremely effective in focusing on one area, especially if you have injuries that prevent you from using certain muscles.
  • Allow for easy weight changes. To free weights, you may need to stack plates on barbells or take dumbbells from shelves. Weight machines often have a weight stack that allows you to change your weight quickly. It’s as easy as changing a pin.

You can include machines and weight lifting in your exercise program. I will often do a circuit on my weight machine at the gym but add a few weights exercises to help me burn more calories, or replace any machines I don’t like.

No matter which weight training method you choose, you will be able to tone your body, lose calories, and become stronger.

This post was written by Darryl Johnson, Co-Owner of Apex performance. At Apex performance we are a community of highly trained experts looking to provide performance enhancement and a permanent lifestyle change for our clients in a fun and interactive environment. Members can take advantage of a personal trainer in Tampa, one-on-one training, small group classes, and specialized courses for a wide variety of athletics, sports training, and body goals!