Comparisons Between Machines and Free Weights
Advantages of Free Weights
- Free weights such as dumbbells and barbells are more effective in developing the small synergistic (helping) muscles and stabilising muscles.
- The movements made when using free weights follow a more natural path of motion,
- Free weights are more versatile
- Free weights are less expensive to buy
- Free weights, such as a pair of dumbbells, can be space efficient.
- They can achieve an increase in overall strength more effectively
- Power is improved more efficiently.
- Size and flexibility are improved more efficiently with free weights.
Disadvantages of Free Weights
- Training alone with free weights can be dangerous
- Changing weights in between sets can be very time consuming
- If they are not stored correctly they will finish up spread all over the floor which can be hazardous
- In certain exercises, it is difficult, to derive maximum isolation of a muscle or groups of muscles.
Advantages of Machines
- Some machines are more effective at isolating a muscle or muscle groups for more efficient overload
- Machines are generally safer to use than free weights as the weight stack is connected and controlled by guide rods.
- Multi stack machines, which allow groups of people to use them at the same time, are more space efficient.
- Machines are easier to use.
- Workouts can be performed more quickly on a machine.
- Because workouts are quicker they tend to be used more which means you are more likely to achieve your goals.
- The new cable machines are now providing some of the advantages of free weights.
Disadvantages of Machines
- Many machines move the weights along a specific path so it’s very difficult for the synergistic and stabilising muscles to get involved.
- It is very difficult to do speed training on a machine. The machine would bounce or jerk violently.
- Generally good machines are more expensive than free weights.
- Machines are built to accommodate an average size person, so tall or short people may find some exercises almost impossible to perform.