Which Should You Choose: Machine or Free Weights?


You enter the gym and take a look around, noting the machines and free weights. Which should you choose? Should you concentrate on free weights, machines, or a combination of both in your training routine?

Dumbbells, kettlebells, medicine balls, wrist weights, and barbells are examples of free weights. With free weights, you can do bicep curls, flys, bench presses, squats, and more. Leg extensions, rows, shoulder presses, and pull-downs, to mention a few, can all be done with the help of machines. It’s a never-ending dispute between those who swear by free weights and others who swear by machine weights.

Strength training, whether done with machines or free weights, is beneficial to one’s health. Strengthening bones and joints, growing muscle, improving heart health, burning fat, and lowering the risk of injury are all advantages of weight lifting (via Insider). What person wouldn’t desire that?

Both free weights and machine weights have advantages and disadvantages. Which is the superior option?

The advantages and disadvantages of free weights and machines

People were able to lift larger weights when utilizing machines rather than free weights, according to a 2010 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. The reason for this, according to researchers, is that machines provide stability while not putting the surrounding smaller muscles to work. Machine weights are ideal for increasing muscle mass in certain regions because of this.

Machines are the way to go if you’re injured and want to focus on something other than your injury. Machines target specific muscles, allowing you to rest and recover your injuries (source: American Council on Exercise).

According to a 2016 study published in the Journal of Human Kinetics, free weights help you grow muscle faster by working your stabilizer muscles. As a result, when you use free weights, you’ll work more muscles and fibers. However, according to a 2015 study published in the journal Injury Epidemiology, those who use free weights are more likely to be injured. Researchers looked at emergency room records and discovered 2,873 occurrences of people getting hurt at the gym. Free weights were used by more than half of them. Some people utilized too much weight, had bad form, or were overweight.

According to Men’s Health, incorporating both alternatives into your workout plan can provide the finest fitness results. Choose weight machines if you want to target specific muscles. Choose free weights to work your stabilizer muscles and surrounding muscles. Above all, choose exercises that you enjoy.