Free Weights Vs Machines: Why We Think Free Weights Are Superior

February 3, 2020 in Personal Training

Free Weights Vs Machines: Why We Think Free Weights Are Superior

free weights vs machines

Strength training remains a cornerstone for maintaining our health, especially as we grow older. At Peak Physique, we’ve taken a deliberate approach to our training methodology.

Instead of relying on just machines, we rigorously use free weights for a complete workout. Delve with us into the free weights vs machines debate and discover why we passionately advocate for the former.

Free Weights Vs Machines: Who Wins In Functional Exercises?

Functional exercises are exercises that are adapted or developed in order to allow individuals to perform routine daily activities more easily and with fewer injuries. Our number one reason you should use free weights is that you can do functional exercises with free weights that you cannot do with machines. Much of the training we do at Peak Physique is functional training, meaning we aim to teach your body the correct way to move all day through exercise.

Our trainers strive to help you take what you learn in our gym into your life outside the gym and use it to improve your days and nights. We teach you how it should feel when you walk, compared to how you actually do end up feeling. We use functional exercises to help with your aches and pains, and without free weights, that wouldn’t be possible. 

When it comes to functional exercises, free weights are the clear winner.

Which Is Better For Plane Movement?

There are three planes of movement, and they are the sagittal planes, frontal planes, and transverse planes. The sagittal plane cuts the body into left and right halves, the frontal plane cuts the body into front and back halves, and the transverse plane cuts the body into top and bottom halves.

When exercising with free weights, you are able to move through all planes, whereas when working out with machines, you are isolating and only moving in one plane. It makes sense to perform exercises with free weights because it works multiple planes. When you move around in your daily life, you are using all your planes, so when you’re working out and exercising, you should also be using all your planes.

Free weights, such as dumbbells, allow you to do exercises in all planes, mimicking real-life situations.

For example, when you perform a squat, you’re focusing on your quads; if you do that on a machine, you are isolating and only working specifically on your quads. However, if you use a dumbbell, you end up working out more than just your quads.

You end up using your inner and outer thigh muscles in order to keep your legs in place. Your butt, core, and hamstrings help keep your body still while going through the motion, and you also can end up working out your arms because you have to hold the dumbbells as well. 

When it comes to plane movements, free weights are also going to win this round.

Do Machines or Free Weights Work Your Core More?

Free weights end up working your core more than machines do. Based on what we talked about in the last section, we know that when using dumbbells and barbells, your body needs to keep the weights steady as you exercise, which in turn causes you to use your core. Along with increased core strength, free weights help with your balance. This is because you are in charge of keeping your body stable while exercising: you’re always working on your balance.  

Machines are stable and held in one place. That means with machines, you are able to use one muscle in isolation. This could end up being a good thing if you are battling an injury. However, while using free weights, your target muscle is working along with “helper” muscles and your core, as mentioned, to help keep you stable. The more muscles you are using, the stronger you’re becoming overall and the more calories you’re burning.  

As trainers, we see that almost all of our clients have some sort of imbalance. Using dumbbells and barbells allow us to fix these imbalances by correcting your form and continuing to increase the strength of your supporting or helper muscles. Your core helps you in all aspects of your life, so it’s important to keep it strong, and free weight exercises help the most with that.

When it comes to working out your core, free weights win again.

So, Are Free Weights Better Than Machines?

If you’re a beginner and working out alone or without a certified personal trainer, machines would probably be the best place to start and to learn. You can read the side of the machine or watch other people use the machine and see how it’s done. When you start the exercise, you can start to feel what part of the body you’re working on, meaning you can work specific parts of the body that you’re aiming to workout. So, if you’re working out alone or just getting started, using machines could be the right choice.

If you’re working out with a personal trainer or are a little more comfortable with working out, then free weights are going to be a good answer. You have the capability to workout more of your body, allowing you to get a more efficient workout. With free weights, you’re able to workout all your body planes at once and are able to workout more naturally, which can help you in your daily life.

The verdict? Free weights do win all three rounds. However, there is no right answer when comparing free weights vs machines because so much in fitness, as with life, is situational. When you workout with Peak Physique, we will mostly use free weights to help train your body to move properly throughout the day and throughout your exercises. 

Start Training With Peak Physique

Are you looking to get started in fitness or need help improving your results when working out? Are you still confused about what to use most when comparing free weights vs machines? 

Then contact Peak Physique today to get started. We have plenty of options available to get you healthy and keep you healthy.

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