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ThatsNotMyName

Lifting Machines Vs. Free Weights

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I was wondering what everyone's opinions are on Free Weights vs. Machines. 

My partner does not attend the gym with me, and they do not offer personal training. (The gym is in a very small town).

I was wondering if it is safer to use the machines, but also have heard backlash and pros/cons of both. 

I was just hoping to get a little more feedback!

 

Thanks!

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I feel its more about what you are doing and your comfort level with the exercise and the weights you are using.  If you're going heavy, just be safe even if that means using a machine instead of say a barbell.  I prefer doing accessory moves with free weights to really hit the stabilizer muscles for that extra bit.  Do what you feel comfortable with.  

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Depends on the user, goals, and equipment available, really. Both free weights and machines have their benefits and weaknesses.

 

If you're new to weight lifting in general, my personal bias is typically towards movements that don't require really strict technique to be safe and effective (especially without a trainer around, though you can absolutely post form videos in the forums for feedback).

 

That may look like:

 

Goblet Squats: just hold a DB or weight plate, GREAT option especially when you're learning squat form - it automatically puts you in the right position

Hip Thrusts or Glute Bridges: good hip-dominant movements that are super safe, without the spinal loading like what deadlifts cause -  still beneficial with lighter weights and higher reps to focus more on the 'burn', which allows you to get used to using free weights, also easy to do with just a plate or DB if a barbell isn't comfortable for you

Cable Rows/Face Pulls & Lat Pulldowns: cable machines allow you to work on stabilising as well as healthy joint movements, they're a great option - horizontal seated rows and lat pulldowns are good exercises to include, and they don't require too much technique so long as you're not shrugging the weight back/down

Pushups & Pike Presses:  bodyweight, and can be scaled up or down by the height differential between feet & hands (no weights required!)

Farmers Carries & Turkish getups: good finishing movements that give you functional strength and core work; dumbells are a good choice here

 

So: a mix! :) 'Hope this helps. For what it's worth, strength training rarely has huge differences between sex/genders, you may get more feedback if you post in the weight lifting boards. Welcome to the forum!

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I'm relatively new to lifting (less than one year) and have only done barbells and dumbbells so far. I've never hurt myself using barbells, though I did spent lots of time reading about proper form and watching technique videos. I also got a friend to show me the lifts just once. I feel they can be safe if you use sensible weights and pay attention to your technique. I have hurt myself using heavy dumbbells, however, probably because I don't have the stability around my shoulder joints to use them safely. My father hurt himself quite badly using a machine (the leg press), and we hypothesised that because there is no special technique to using machines, there was no warning sign in the form of technique breakdown when he went too heavy. Whereas with my barbell movements, my lifts either slow down a lot or my technique gets wobbly when I go too heavy, so I have a good warning sign that I should back off. Also, the free weights do help you build up those stabilising muscles, so that could make you less injury prone in general. They also feel awesomely badass and boost confidence wonderfully. 


If you have no injuries or mobility issues, maybe you could try some barbell movements with conservative weights and see how you feel? Make sure you have a squat rack or power rack for squatting, though, and be conservative with bench press weights to start with, unless you have safety bars/pins.

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