Strength training is the cornerstone of any effective exercise routine. Whether you’re a beginner or a gym veteran, strength training is absolutely essential for you to reach your fitness goals. Might we add, it is also gender neutral!
Now when it comes to strength training should you go for free weights like dumbbells and barbells or should your routine consist more of machine workouts?
So what are the PROs and CONs of each?
Free weights offer the benefit of greater range of motion, as there is nothing restricting your movement. The need to stabilise and control your body while lifting free weights causes you to engage various other muscles apart from just the target muscle. This helps improve your structural as well as functional strength, which will help you with your day-to-day tasks. However, getting your form right is tougher when it comes to using free weights, which also increases the chances of injuring yourself if not done properly.
Machines on the other hand offer a restricted range of motion and they literally guide your movement throughout the exercise, which greatly reduces the chances of an injury. This helps you isolate the muscle that you’re working on without having to focus too much on your form. Even though this may be better for targeting one muscle at a time you will be compromising on your functional strength.
Free Weights vs Machines – Our recommendation
If you’re a beginner start off with machines to understand the movement and then move on to free weights once you have some experience under your belt.
If you’re looking at overall fitness then majority of your workout routine should consist of using free weights. Start your workouts with compound exercises using free weights. This will help you engage multiple muscles. Then move on to machine workouts towards the end your routine. This will help you isolate and target individual muscles without putting too much load on the other muscles that will most likely already be tired.