Machines Or Free Weights: Structure Vs. Function!
Updated: Jul 8, 2019
I personally have been Team “Free Weights“ due to being a Group Fitness/Team Training Instructor and Coach. As a personal trainer, I absolutely subscribe and advise to using machines equally as much [as free weights].
You're probably getting tired of hearing it but it’s the truth, neither modality is better than the other. It all depends on your goals. Each side has their arguments, each side has merit to their claims.
A free weight can be classified as any object or device that can be moved freely in three-dimensional space. Some of the more common free-weights found in a gym would be: dumbbells, barbells, cables, medicine balls, kettlebells etc and the human body which is the ultimate free-weight of all! My ultimate FAVOURITE own body weight equipment is the suspension trainer. As a TRX Coach I of course recommend the original brand.
A machine for this post is any of a great variety of devices, powered by the user, used to improve strength through resistance.
STRUCTURAL VS. FUNCTIONAL GOALS
Structural fitness gains comes from the hypertrophy (strengthening of muscles, tendons, and bones) and increased glycogen storage in muscles.
Functional fitness exercises train your muscles to help you do everyday activities safely and efficiently.
Free weights, with their extreme versatility are the ultimate tool for both structural and functional goals.
For the vast majority of exercises and goals, whether structural or functional, free-weights usually offer the most variety as well as total body stimulation because many muscles other than the prime movers (muscles responsible for moving the load) are stimulated as stabilizers.
Machines on the other hand, with their ability to isolate better, can be useful for structural or bodybuilding purposes when they are carefully planned in the workout which is usually to place them after all free-weight exercises.
And so the bottom line is that both are equally important and complementary to each other.
Depending on your goals, needs and preference you may gravitate more to one but both can be part of your exercise program.
If you have questions about workouts and how to make sure you are using the right training for your goals, contact me and I can answer any questions you may have:).