Should You Use Free Weights or Exercise Machines?

Free Weights vs. Exercise Machines


There is a lot of controversy in the gym regarding which is better for building core muscles and losing weight. Free weights, or exercise machines? Both are extremely beneficial to your workout routine, and both can help you reach your overall weight loss or fitness goals.

But is one method truly better than the other?

The fact is, everyone is different, and everyone’s body is different. Therefore, one person may do better using an exercise machine while another may achieve their desired body image using free weights instead. Let’s ‘weigh-in’ on the facts about these two popular fitness methods so that you can determine for yourself which is the best for you.


Understanding Anaerobic vs. Aerobic


In the fitness industry, there are basically two different types of exercises, anaerobic and aerobic. Anaerobic exercises are short duration and are powered by short twitch muscle fibers that don’t depend on oxygen, but rather depend on energy already contained within the muscle. Aerobic exercises usually last longer and strengthen the cardiovascular system to improve the body’s consumption of oxygen.

The most common confusion between these two forms of exercise is that many people assume that anaerobic exercises, such as lifting weights, is only beneficial to those who want to build up their muscles, and that aerobic exercises such as using a treadmill or cycling are best for those who would like to lose weight.

The truth is, both exercises can be useful in all areas of fitness, bodybuilding, and weight loss. You don’t have to be Mr. Universe to add free weights to your workout. And just because you can bench press 290 lbs., doesn’t mean that you couldn’t benefit from a good aerobic workout routine.


The Pros of Using Free Weights

When you think of free weights, most people think about young, well-built men or women who wish to keep their muscles in the best possible shape. It doesn’t matter what your age is or your gender, everyone can benefit from some form of strength training, and it can be even more beneficial as you get older.

If you have good muscle tone, you will have the strength and ability to perform activities of daily living even as you get into your senior years. Tasks such as climbing up stairs or getting in and out of bed will be much easier for those who performed strength training exercises than those who did not. Strength training can also help decrease your risk of developing serious health issues such as osteoporosis, Type 2 Diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Free weights are inexpensive to buy and can be stored practically anywhere in your home. They are readily available for you to purchase at any department store so you don’t have to go to a specialty store or worry about high delivery charges like you do when buying an exercise machine. Also, free weights allow you to move in all dimensions – meaning you’re not limited to a single motion like a machine usually provides. This is helpful because it is dynamic and similar to the same way that your body moves each day.


The Downside of Using Free Weights

There aren’t many problems associated with using free weights, however, there are a few things to keep in mind when using them for the first time. Using weights such as barbells and dumbbells will require a bit of skill and practice, so don’t expect to start using them like a pro right away. If the weights you are using are too heavy for you, you could put yourself at risk for a serious injury, especially if you attempt to exercise alone. To get the most out of your free weight workout, you will need to have proper form, avoid using momentum and always make sure that you have a free range of motion to work in. It’s often a good idea to partner with someone who has experiencing using free weights to make sure you’re not performing exercises that will result in injury. If you’re interested in finding a partner to help you learn the correct way to workout with free weights, you can inquire about Svetness’ personal training services by clicking here.


The Pros of Using Exercise Machines

Owning an exercise machine or two can be very beneficial. You don’t have to drive to the gym every day to get in a good workout, and you can exercise any time you want. That is the main benefits of using exercise machines. While they can be expensive, you can often find used treadmills, exercise bikes or rowing machines at a decent price.

For some people, owning a piece of exercise equipment is a great motivational tool. Since it is sitting in plain sight in their living room, den, or bedroom, it is a constant reminder that you need to get up and move. So be sure to place any of your exercise equipment in an open space that you frequent often during the day.

In contrast to free weights, exercise machines have a limited range of motion. While there are still risks associated with exercise machines, for a beginner, a limited range of motion could help limit your chance of injury and allow you to build up strength and stability before controlling the entire amount of weight on your own like in the case of using free weights.  

Another benefit of exercise machines is that when you own them, you can use them in the privacy of your own home. You don’t have to worry about judging eyes or the criticism of others. You can go at your own pace and feel good about it without a stranger peering over your shoulder.


The Downside of Exercise Machines

While there are plenty of advantages to using an exercise machine, there are also some drawbacks to this type of equipment. It requires a ton of dedication and self-motivation to continue using your home gym equipment each day. Just because it’s there, doesn’t mean that you will use it and before you know it that very expensive treadmill could end up being your brand-new clothing rack.

If you only own one exercise machine, it can be easy to get bored with it. Many people get tired of doing the same workout every day, which is why there are so many who still prefer going to the gym to try out the large variety of machines available to them. Exercise machines can also be very bulky and take up a lot of space in your home if you don’t have a separate room to use as your home gym.

Another thing that exercise machines can’t provide is the benefit of building your stabilizer muscles, which are necessary for the smooth control of free weights.

If you want to try the new equipment that was just installed at your local gym, you can’t expect to jump on it and get started right away. While some machines may look simple, they can have complex controls and a confusing user interface that can make a simple workout turn into a disaster if you don’t know what you’re doing.


In closing, both free weights and exercise machines can be very beneficial when used correctly. They both have their advantages and disadvantages for you to consider, but in the end, they are both great tools that individuals of any age can use to keep themselves healthy and strong. If you haven’t tried lifting weights in the past, and you are alone, start small with some simple exercise machines until you’ve built enough strength and confidence to safely workout with free weights. Whatever you choose, stay positive, motivated, and confident that you will achieve your fitness goals.

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