Free weights vs Resistance machines

There has been a long-standing debate in which is the better type of equipment to help you reach your fitness needs. However when you ask from person to person you will always get a different answer and it will always come down to one thing. Their own personal preferences.

We have given our views on the subject matter here. When we look at the question, ‘free weights or resistance machines’ it should pose more questions surrounding it. The first one being, that we believe is the most important, what’s trainers exercise experience and history like. For example, the clean and press is a fantastic exercise when executed perfectly. It is a thing of beauty and will engage muscles that you never thought you had. However, would you implement this into a plan for a new gym goer? The short answer is, no.

But why you ask? Lets look at it this way. I have never ice-skated. So what do you think I’m going to be like the first time I put on a pair of ice skates? The term ‘Bambi on ice’ comes to mind. The same principle goes for someone new to the gym. Their neural patterns have not adapted in a way to allow them to load weight in certain ways. Have you ever trained with a complete newbie and done the bench press? They can’t keep the bar aligned, and this is their nervous system not being able to cope with a new weight baring movement.

This is when you should implement resistance machines into a programme. To help the client get used to the movement and ‘teach’ as such their motor units to fire in such a way before progressing onto the more free weight based movements.

Free weights on the other hand are brilliant for recruiting more stabilizer muscles into a movement. They bring in a whole other dynamic to the training sessions. However, only when executed correctly. Although they are better for recruiting more muscle fibers they are also a lot better for generating injuries. So remember to ensure form is correct before increasing weight.


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