Free weights vs. Machines

Should you use a machine to work out or free weights? They both contain pros and cons, specifically for the goals you have. Which one should you use for strength training and which for muscle growth? Lets looks at what each has to offer.


If you are starting out then I highly recommend using machines first. Machines provide safety where you are typically positioned in a safe way to do the exercise and focus and isolate one muscle group at a time. This is great if your strength is lacking in a specific group or you are recovering from injury. Using machines you can specify the exactly weight you want to use using the pins at the side and track your progress and safely go up a notch as the machine has a safety mechanism to protect you when you fail to lift the desired weight.

Free weights

Free weights are the best exercises for quick strength and muscle gain as you have to use coordination and control unlike machines. Free weights force you to use more muscle groups to stabilize the movement so you get a more balanced workout and stimulate more muscles. Free weights also provide a greater range where machines limit you.

Free weights vs. Machines

To use free weights however you need to make sure you control your posture to avoid injury, but you will develop your mind-muscle control over time and further increase your gains. Free weights like bench pressing require you to have a partner to help out when you fail to lift the weights. You can do this alone, but please be careful and don’t lower weights past the safety hook when you realize you are too fatigued – it will take some time to get used to your own limits.

Free weights is obviously your best choice to gain strength and build muscle fast, however it is best to use a combination of both and alternate between them. Some exercises will give you better gains using a machine especially in the beginning when you are still learning how to position yourself correctly using free weights.

mohammed khalf
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writer and blogger, founder of Go motivations .

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