Should You Use Free Weights or Machines?
Progressive Overload means adding more weight/reps to the bar over time. It's also, without question, the #1 producer of results.
The equipment you use to carry out Progressive Overload matters!
Of course what matters MORE is that you’re focusing on Progressive Overload. That being said, some gym equipment is better for getting stronger than other equipment.
Let’s start with the question: Should we use free weights or machines to get stronger?
Both options work, and will work really well because you can use progressive overload on both. If it sounds like I’m beating a dead horse….GOOD! The importance of Progressive overload simply can’t be overstated.
But let’s look at the pros and cons of free weights vs. machines.
The pros of machines is they’re easier to use. They require less skill. This is great if you’re at a commercial gym, with no access to a good Personal Trainer, and you’re new to Strength Training.
However, that’s the end of the benefits of machines.
Free weights are king when it comes to getting strong. Assuming you can learn proper technique, (which all of our Steel Trainers can teach you), free weights are ideal because:
1. Your body can move in its natural way. As opposed to machines where it forces you to move based on how the machine is configured
2. Your core, including your abdominal muscles will be worked greatly with free weights. Your core has to stabilize your body as you lift the free weights.
3. Free weights improve balance and stability, whereas machines do not because the machines remain stable for you.
4. Free weights allow you to work more body parts at once. This is both time efficient AND the increased stress creates better results. (Note- training is a stress, but stress is good to a point because stress causes adaptation. Good adaptation!)
If you're left with no choice or don't know how to use Free Weights Properly, use machines. They do work!
BUT I have all my clients use free weights because I know at Steel they're in good hands. We teach beginners how to Strength Train correctly so they can get all the benefits of using Free Weights without the risk!
Tomorrow I'll talk about Dumbbells vs. Barbells- stay tuned!!
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