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Free Weights vs Machine..


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#1 DarkSide

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 02:43 PM

So right of the bat I'm going to say, FREE WEIGHTS ARE BETTER THAN MACHINES (Smith Machines to be more exact).

For the record I'm going to use bench press as my main example but this really applies for all exercises including squats, deadlifts, etc

When you bench press you always make sure that the bar is straight while you are bringing it up or down, and moving it in a correct manner. This requires that you use equal force on both sides of your chest (left pec and right pec) and this stabilizes your muscles. One of the main problems with bench press smith machines is that all you really have to do is push and the bar will always go straight up. You don't need to use the correct form and you can lift up the whole bar while using more strength on one side over the other. Smith machines make it "easier" to lift the weights but they don't make you strong as fast as free weights do. Research has shown us that free weights promote quicker strength gains and they require more balance and coordination than do the weight machines.

The main thing I really like about free weights is the flexibility they give me. Smith machines DO NOT take your body shape into account. Using a smith machine that doesn't really go with your body shape is very dangerous especially when it comes squats.

When I was young I would bench press 75 on a smith machine (my cousin had a smith machine in his house). My father one day purchased a free weight bench press machine for our home, and when I tried to bench press 60, and I realized that the bar was only going up on the left side, and I almost killed myself(exaggerating but you get the point lol)

EDIT: I know my explanation isn't the best, but you can search this all online for better understanding.

Edited by DarkSide, 06 April 2012 - 02:45 PM.

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#2 abooth2

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 05:20 PM

I agree, free weights allows for a natural range of motion. Smith machines are the worst piece of equipment at the gym; they are only useful for inverted rows and that is it. Free weights > machines.



#3 SavageSnipes

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 07:32 PM

didn't read the whole thing, but i entirely agree. smith machines are worthless. the only thing i use them for is calf raises because we don't have a standing calf raise machine at my gym

#4 Distortion_UK

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 11:08 AM

Resistance machines are very beneficial for people recovering from injuries. More than one type of person uses the gym.

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#5 DarkSide

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 01:10 PM

Resistance machines are very beneficial for people recovering from injuries. More than one type of person uses the gym.

Personally, I would just avoid the exercises that involve the injured muscle. Then when it's in good shape, I'll slowly make my way up again.
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#6 Distortion_UK

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 08:42 AM

As a CYQ level 3 personal trainer i would start exercise at the earliest stage to help align the collagen fibres, this will reduce scar tissue and regain most of the muscle strength. It will help increase flexibility and reduce the risk of re injuring the muscle.

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#7 Eskimo

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 10:48 AM

Resistance machines are very beneficial for people recovering from injuries. More than one type of person uses the gym.



ontop of that Machines are EXCELLENT for people learning form, The machines dont allow the bar to sway, or for example the bicep curl machine. Doesnt allow side to side motion, or twisting. This teaches the newbie what path they want the dumb bell to follow, and its proper orientation.

After that, yea step up to free weight's where the stabilizing muscles are used.

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#8 TK-421

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 11:06 AM

As a CYQ level 3 personal trainer i would start exercise at the earliest stage to help align the collagen fibres, this will reduce scar tissue and regain most of the muscle strength. It will help increase flexibility and reduce the risk of re injuring the muscle.


Ha, you're a brit, what do you know. :P :wub:

Another thing I've noticed about free weights vs. machines is similar to what DarkSide learned, that the machine will sometimes do most of the work for you. The gym I went to had two of the same machine, but by different brands. I could easily do 125lbs on one machine, but couldn't do it on the second. The first machine was doing a lot of the lifting for me, which isn't very beneficial. But if I'd been using free weights, then I would've been supporting the entire weight myself, instead of letting the machine do the work.

#9 Distortion_UK

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 01:11 PM

Resistance machines are for people who don't know correct technique or are trying to specifically isolate muscles. Smith machines are generally crap, but a decent chest press will operate the left and right separately. Therefore reducing muscle imbalance.

Free weights are the number one way to hurt your self in a gym. Trust me you see kids biceps curling silly weights. But their technique is so shit that they're swinging the weight up, they're getting no benefit. Using a machine would be much more benefical.

Unless you know what you're doing and you've been shown how to, then stay away from free weights.

Ive just started getting my own clientele and they tell me "oh yeah I'm great with free weights" i watch them analyse their technique and then realise what they think is correct and what actually is correct are very far apart. so basically i have to re teach how to do everything they thought they knew because other wise its a matter of time before they do some serious damage.

Edited by Distortion_UK, 08 April 2012 - 01:13 PM.

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