Machines vs free weights: which is better?

Machines vs free weights: which is better? Depends

Often I get asked, should I use machines or free weights? The fact of the matter is this, your muscles don’t know the difference. Sure, with free weights you may activate a few more joint stabiliser muscles particularly if you are doing unilateral work. But that is not the point of muscle building training.

Dorian Yates built some impressive legs without using squats for most of his bodybuilding career!

One factor that should be taken into account is training age. If the person in front of me does not have much experience then I would be more inclined to recommend machines as their co ordination and movement with weight will not be that efficient yet.

With other neurological or post cardiac individuals it may also simply be safer to use the machines. At the end of the day it is what you feel most confident with and most importantly, what you are most competent in.

So, machines or free weights? Which do you use? I’d love to hear from you!

Simon Wissmann – Exercise Physiologist


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