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Common question: Free Weights Or Machines? Which of the two is more effective in gaining big muscles?

Posted Feb 27 2010 12:00am

Almost all of us think about this question often as our aim s to build muscle and burn fat in minimum time.  Mostly when the first time we walk into a gym a nd see the selections or when we see perfect physiques on TV exercising and showing off their perfect fat free bodies. At some point we are bound to wonder if the bench press machine is better than the regular flat bench press with free weights. I preferred machines for a really long time…Until this came to my mind! What’s the harm in including a little bit of both into my workout exercises! That’s right… there is no fixed rule that states that if you are using machines, you will not be able to get the gains you want. And there’s no fixed rule that states that you must use free weights only. The truth however is: By incorporating a little bit of both types in workouts for certain exercises, you will be targeting specific areas. Take the biceps curl for example. Imagine yourself doing arms workout in the gym, there you are with the straight bar, working your biceps. But in reality, you are working a lot more than just lifting the straight bar with all the weights. Your forearms are being stimulated. Your shoulders are taking some weight, and you will feel that your abs turn much tighter as they stabilize your body. So performing free weight biceps curls comprises of a lot more than just a bicep workout. Compare that to the preacher biceps curls machine. You are sitting down. There are no legs involved. Your abs really are not that tense and your body is not involved as a whole in the exercise. Additionally, there is much more focus on the muscle that is being exercised. Fact is, you are not alone in asking this question. By including machines and free weights both into our workouts, we can target specific muscle groups and isolate them. While doing free weights, some compound movements to hit the entire body are always involved. The conclusion is, though there is nothing better than doing free weight exercises alone, we are missing out on a vital component of variety in our muscle gaining workouts. If we only do training on machines, we are again forgetting about the all important but hidden stabilizer muscles that help balance our body and add to the actual benefits of just a particular muscle exercise. By combining both, we can get the best of both worlds and a super varied workout.

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