When I first started going to the gym I was super intimidated. I had no idea what I was doing really. I was scared to use free weights because I had no frame of reference. I had no idea about proper technique or how much I should be lifting. It was much easier to go get on a machine because majority of the time they had a little diagram that showed you how to use it, and what body muscles were being worked. So with you newbies in mind, this article is going to talk about the differences between free weights and machine lifting, and when to use them.
Lifting With Machine Weight
As mentioned above, lifting with a machine was easier for me when starting out. This is because it helps directs and guides you to the correct movements that you should be doing. Now that doesn’t mean that it is always correct. To get the most out of your work out you need to make sure that the machine is adjusted to your body size. You can move seats forward or backwards, up or down, depending on the machine. It is important to adjust the machine because otherwise you may be using bad form and bad form can lead to injuries.
Machine lifting is a great starter for these reasons, they’re also great if you have a very specific place you’re trying to work because they target very specific muscles. Machines are typically easier than free weights which is why they’re great starting points. They can help you build a little bit of strength, get used to correct form, and give you a chance to learn what lifting is all about.
Lifting With Free Weights
Free weights is a learned skill just like everything else. I would never recommend going into a gym inexperienced and trying to do a dead lift or a bench press on your own. It is dangerous for a lot of reasons. You most likely don’t know what you’re doing and should always have a spotter. If you want to try free weights there are some things to keep in mind. First is your form. There is a proper way to lift weights to avoid injury and to work those muscles correctly. Second is that it is hard to learn things on your own. You definitely can by reading and watching videos on correct form for lifting but it is also way easier to have a trainer help you or if you know someone who is really experienced.
If you want a more intense work out, free weights are the way to go. They work more muscles and work them harder. Lifting free weights simulates more of a real life experience because gravity comes into play. With gravity working against you you will have to really work on your balance and control.
For an example, let’s look at the difference between using a leg press machine versus doing a squat with dumbbells. When you use the leg press you are isolating specific muscles and working just those. You’re sitting down and the movement is guided by the machine so it’s all controlled for you. With a squat and weights you’re working your quads, hamstrings, glutes, core and maybe even your arms. All of this to keep your body stable, balanced, and engaged while you’re going through the movement
It is always best to take things slow so that you can control your movements and feel the burn. Because of this you can also work more muscles in less time with free weights than with a machine.
Which Is Best For You
If you’re new I would definitely start on machine weights. You can still get a nice work out in and you can easily target areas you want to work on. In the mean time you can learn about free weights. The different work outs and proper techniques you will need to use to avoid injury. It is a process that you will need to build on, work your way up to free weights as you become more knowledgeable and comfortable with it. Once you’ve got a handle on it then free weights are a great way to work more muscles at a time and help you achieve your goals. They’re both great but which one you use depends on your skill and comfort level.
Go crush it!