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Weights or Machines Which is Better?

What should you use to maximize your training – weights or machines? Weights, typically termed "free weights", had been basically the only option until Arthur Jones brought out his Nautilus line up of revolutionary machines a few decades back. Since then an entire industry has sprung forth with ever more fancy machines.

Which is better? Usually you aren't limited to an either/or choice on free weights and machine weight training. And indeed, the best approach is to mix them up somewhat. However, that doesn’'t mean they are equal by any means.

You can use machine weights but you should do so sparingly. That'’s because free weights are far superior for developing the body. Often a machine requires that you either sit down or move the weight load in a prescribed path, or both. And those are huge limiting factors. But that's not how your body moves in real life and someone who trains exclusively with machines is usually not very athletic.

Machines also often provide balance control during the lifting. However, in real life, your body is going to have to provide balance control so it is best to train in a manner that requires your muscles to employ balance during the lifting. And it is not just static balance, but balance moving in space. This is called proprioception and you don’t develop it by using machine weights.

Machine weights limit you athletically and should be used as an auxiliary to the main element, which is free weights. Free weights also allow you to do a lot of ground based training and this will make you much more athletic and create functional muscle in your body.

Why ever use machine weights? While you should minimize machine weight use, there are some instances when they can be beneficial. For instance, getting a certain angle of work into a muscle. And cable weight machine work is very beneficial to the body. So don’'t toss out all machine work but make it a supplemental tool that supports your primary training with free weights.

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