Free weights vs machines: a new perspective

Posted: October 9, 2013 in fitness, Muscle Building
Tags: , , , ,


I was asked a really good question recently: “I’ve heard that free weights are better than machines, so why do the trainers at my gym always take people through the machine circuit?”

Before really thinking about it I blurted out “because they’re idiots.” But it actually initiated a very interesting discussion.

While I have never gone through the manditory “training” that the gym-employed PT’s are given, I can only see a few reasons for limiting your client to such a program…

  1. The trainer is not confident in their own ability to keep the client safe with free weights
  2. The client is an old woman with feeble joints
  3. The client has never been to a gym before and does not know what a flexed muscle feels like

Except perhaps the first one, none of these are common enough to justify the overuse I see in the use of machines.

But that is not to suggest there is no place for them, not by a long stretch!

Here’s where I feel machines are best utilized:

  • to Isolate a specific muscle at the end of a session
  • to activate “hard to feel” muscles
  • to target certain muscles that are not adequately stimulated with free weights
  • That concludes today’s broadcast; go forth and grow!


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