If you are thinking of buying weight training equipment, then you must be considering which of the two to get – Free Weights or Weight Machines.
Here are some pros and cons of both these types of weight training equipment to help you make an informed decision-
Advantages of free weight training equipment and disadvantages of weight machines are:
- You get a more complete range of motion when you free weights as against other weight training equipment. You use a greater number of muscles and your movements will be more natural when using them and these are likely to give you better results in terms of muscle gains and improving strength as well as enhanced body balance. There are limited movements that are possible when you use a machine because the range of motion of the machine itself is limited.
- One set of free weights can be used in a number of different ways whereas there is only so much you can do on a weight machine. So obviously the latter is less versatile and flexible and gives you fewer exercise options.
- Free weights take up less space and are more portable. On the other hand, elaborate weight training equipment can take up a considerable amount of space, and cannot be carried from place to place or find place in your travel bag.
- Free weights are a far more economical weight training equipment option. Machines can be expensive even if you get a basic or compact system
- When you train using free weights you make use of something called proprioreception; which is the brain’s ability to place the body in relation to its surroundings with enhanced balance. In a sense free weights also train the mind, whereas working out with fixed machines will be a less mindful and more mechanical process.
Advantages of machines and disadvantages of fixed weight training equipment are:
- Weight training machines can be suitable even for beginners and there is little requirement for formal training or hands on coaching, when one starts on a program involving weight training equipment. Free weights can require some more knowhow and instruction however.
- Perhaps the greatest disadvantage of free weights is the risk of injury. There is always the risk of injury when weight training equipment is improperly used; however this risk is higher with free weights. Improper action, dropping a weight and so on can cause serious injury. Using improper form or being unbalanced while using free weights can mean injury that can take time to recover from, which can seriously set back a fitness program.
- Machines can specifically help a person with recovery and can be an important part of injury rehabilitation in some cases.
- With weight training equipment the right range of motion and correct form is very important – this is easier to maintain when using machines.
- Changing resistance or weight is easy, convenient and quick with machines. On the other hand, with free weights, you will probably end up wasting considerable amount of time changing the plates and so on.