Bodybuilders will use weights and machines for strength and muscle gain but for beginners, which approach will yield the best results… weights or machines?
Let’s explore the benefits of each alternative:
Free weights include dumbbells, barbells, EZ curl bars and recent innovations like kettlebells and club bells. Although the help of other advanced apparatus is not necessary, proper benches or squat cages might be preferable.
The Pros of Weights
- Provide other functions – more than gaining power, free weights can be integrated into your everyday activities.
- Good all-around exercise – free weights allow a full body workout, since all muscle groups will be at work every time you lift.
- Guarantee time and space efficiency – when you perform a single weight session, you can save time because your whole body is exercised. You can also easily store weights by keeping them on walls or in adequate spaces.
- Allow free movement – weights let your body move freely in your desired range of motion.
- Assure convenience – aside from being affordable, you can use weights almost anywhere because they are portable.
The Cons of Weights
- More risk of injury – if performed incorrectly, weights can be more dangerous and may cause injuries.
- Require a spotter – when working with heavier weights, assistance is always required – which means you cannot always work out in your own time.
- Complicate training – weights can be intimidating and complicated for beginners, as mastering most weight techniques could take time.
Perhaps the best equipment for basic body movements, machines are known for their push and pull system that is set on a specific range of motion. Some machines commonly used in the gym include the incline chest press, the pulldown machine and the seated leg curl.
The Pros of Machines
- Convenience – most machines are already set up with an ideal range of motion, making them suitable for beginners.
- Isolate certain muscle groups – unlike weights which target all of your muscle groups, you can choose a certain muscle group to train using machines since they are all designed for different purposes.
- Allow self-training – less assistance is required when working out using machines since most of them are fool-proof and secured.
- Suitable for all ages – ergonomic and user-friendly features make them suitable for various ages and abilities.
The Cons of Machines
- Cost more – machines can be more expensive and can eat up a lot of space because of their design and innovation.
- Control motion – unlike free weights, there is restraint in movement when using machines because of their pre-set motion.
- Limited use – while bodybuilders can use weights at any time, sometimes you will only find one machine of its kind in the gym.
The Sum Up
Before you decide between weights and machines, you should first determine the purpose of your training. Are you building up power? Are you recovering from an injury? Are you training for CrossFit? By determining your objectives, this will help you to find the equipment that will correspond with the necessary training pattern. For more personal advice, it is always better to consult a gym instructor.
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