When coming up with the elements of your workout routine, you will often be forced to make a decision on whether to use the bulkier exercise machines or free weights. While both have their pros and cons, your selection should be entirely based on what you want your workout program to do for your body. Both sets of equipment are used to strengthen muscle tissue but will affect different areas of the body in unique ways over time.
Free weights also offer the best way to tone muscle within a considerably short amount of time. For most trainers and individuals, free weights offer a myriad of benefits over the machines. This article looks at some of the reasons why one may opt to do away with machines for free weights.
One of the key benefits of free weights is freedom. Unlike machines, free weights do not force you into a movement pattern that may leave you prone to injury. Additionally, the rather fixed movement pattern will help you increase strength along one movement angle but make you weak in the opposite direction. Free weights increase the angles with which you can move, therefore strengthening more muscles.
Free weights are also more effective at working the core since you are working without the support that you would normally get from a machine. This way, they present the best way to tone muscle compared with workout machines. They are also more effective at working balance than machines.
Slow, controlled movement while holding a moderately heavy weight, which works stabilization muscles, including the core, for better balance, accomplishes this. Free weights are much more suited for the home environment than machines, considering the cost of equipping your house with workout machines and the amount of space needed to store them. They are also less confusing and easier to use than weight machines, which may present challenges when using without an instructor. Free weights are easy to use because they only require you to know general movement patterns for your exercise routine in order to use them.
Free weights also offer the highest form of variability when exercising. One set of weights can offer more forms of exercises than several machines. For instance, one can do different exercise variations of the bench press including close-grip, reverse-grip, incline, and decline which can never be done on a regular chest press machine in the gym.
Free weights also allow you to do supersets. They allow you to combine two or more sets and do continuous reps without resting because you do not have to worry about waiting your turn to use another exercise machine at the gym.
Free weights enable the highest form of versatility when training. Unlike machines where you can only add a minimum of 5 pounds to the weight, free weights allow you to add smaller weights starting from 2.5 pounds for most weights. Free weights offer the best way to tone muscle by helping prevent muscular imbalance. Muscular imbalance is more likely to occur when you press a single weight with both arms. When using free weights, each arm is responsible for the weight it carries, which reduces the risk of muscles becoming imbalanced.
Both free weights and machines can help you achieve the goals of your workout routine. However, free weights offer the best way to tone muscle and reap maximum benefits from your workout program. If you have any doubts about proper techniques or movement patterns associated with free weights, talk to your local gym instructor or personal trainer for lessons on how to stay in shape and injury-free during your workout sessions. So, the next time you go for your workout session at the gym, try free weights and gauge their effect on your body.