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

All kinds of strength training are important, and essential to our overall health as we age. At Peak Physique, you won’t be using machines because we primarily use free weights. Let’s breakdown why we believe when you compare free weights vs machines, we side with free weights.

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 normal daily activities more easily, and with less 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 of the gym, and use it to make your days and nights better. 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.

Free Weights Vs Machines: Who Wins In Planes 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 on specifically 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.

Free Weights Vs Machines: Which Works 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.

Free Weights Vs Machines: The Verdict

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, 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 to 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. 

Are you looking to get started in fitness, or need help improving your results when working out? Are you still confused on 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.

Lissa Pietrykowski

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