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Machines vs Free Weights

August 14, 2016 / no comments, on Fitness Blog

Machines vs Free Weights

The gym is full of different equipment. Usually there are platforms to perform body weight exercises like pullups and dips. There are cable machines, plate loaded machines and free weights. So, which ones are the best for gaining muscle and burning  fat? You may be surprised to find out that to get the best results, you need to be using all of them.

The people that go into the gym and only stick to one type of medium to work out to are losing out on building a lot of muscle mass over a long time. There are individual benefits of using either machines or free weights, but to really get the most out of your workout you needt o always be switching it up. Keep in mind tha tyour body doesn’t know if you are pulling a cable or a bar. The only difference is the effect it has on the muscle. Getting a good mix different ways to workout will force your muscles to grow since they are presented with a challenge that they are not used to.

Lets look at free weights first. Everyone’s favorite. Free weights are good to go heavy on; usually at the beginning of your workout. Heavy squats or bench press is what helps to build muscle mass, or so they say. Using free weights is unique because during your lift you have to use your smaller stabilizing muscles everytime you rep out a set. Imagine you are bench pressing. The bar goes up and down, however it can also move horizontally. Wheather you realize it or not, you are using extra muscles to make sure the bar path is straight. This is the main benefit of free weights.

Machines are special and effective because they are locked in place. The range of motion is set for you; it can’t go side to side. This is good for isolating muscles and getting a really good squeeze and stretch. Cables can be altered to go from incline to decline and everywhere in between, giving you the ability to hit the muscles from different angles. Lots of people miss out on this fact. A good simple way to put this into perspective is to think of free weights as the exercises for big compound movements. Compound = involving more than one joint to perform the lift. Since you are using more muscle and strength to perform these types of movements, it is a mass builder. Cables isolate different parts of the muscle, allow you to change up the range of motion and put the stress of the movement anywhere you want. For this reason it is considered a shaping and toning exercise for adding definition and those deep cuts that people want in their muscles.

The key to building muscle and muscle growth is as Arnold Schwarrzeneger calls “shocking the muscle”. When you always do the same machine or exercise your body eventually gets u sed to it. It may seem like your muscles are getting tired, so you are building them, right? Not really. When your body is used to something it will not grow. WQhat you need to do is either add weight, use  a faster tempo, take less breaks between sets and most importantly change up the exercises. Use cable machines, body weight exercises and different workout parameters in your training if you want to see real results. This is golden advice. Always be switching it up.


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