A common question asked by fitness enthusiasts (especially beginners), which is better for me? Training with resistance machines or free weights? Pretty much any gym big or small is stocked with machines and free weights allowing for various exercises.
Which is better? Resistance Machines or Free Weights
While we would certainly recommend the use of both machines and free weights, we’ll discuss the individual aspects of both training methods. More importantly you’ll be able to decide which is better for you.
Beginners, the availability of resistance machines in the gym are great for beginners. Most of the machines will have a picture which demonstrates the use, muscles used as well as the name of the machine. This makes it ideal if you’re unsure of the technique needed.
The fixed path of the machine’s movement helps with the ‘proprioception’ (awareness of movement) of the exercise. The movements will also transfer over when the client begins to use free weights.
Isolation, due to the body being stabilised during exercise with resistance machines, the client can then focus on targeting specific muscle groups. This is ideal for people looking to improve their physiques with ‘bigger’ visible muscles. Ideal for some clients with bodybuilding type goals.
However, as you’re targeting muscle groups it’s worth noting that you are neglecting the stabilising muscle groups which if continued for too long could possibly lead to posture and long-term injury issues.
Injury Recovery, for a client that is recovering from injury the use of machines, will help rehab and improve strength safely. As we mentioned above the benefit of isolation allows rehab clients to train around injuries. Or in the case of muscular in-balance supports the focus of a sensible training approach.
Full Range of Motion, unlike with resistance machines using free weights allows the client the freedom to move rather than being locked into a fixed range of motion or movement.
More Muscle Fibres, the use of free weights will help recruit more muscle fibres as the client will be using more stabilising muscles to maintain the movement path of the exercise. This will also help maintain your joint health when the exercises are done correctly.
Exercise Freedom, With the use of dumbbells and barbells there is a myriad of exercises available to the client. All requiring minimal room to complete the movement. It’s possible that with the combination of free weights and bodyweight exercises it’s possible to develop a quick and effective workout if short on time, space and equipment.
The use of resistance machines or free weights and their practicality for training clients is covered in the level 2 gym instructor qualification awarded by Active IQ find out more about the qualification and the topics covered by speaking to one of our advisers today on 0151 691 6680 or request a call back using one of our contact forms.
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