Weight Training with Free Weights

Benefits of Using Free Weights As Part of a Weight Training Program

When you decide to embark on a weight training program, one of the first questions you will have to address is, “Do I use machine weights or free weights?”

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Beginners will tend to gravitate toward machine weights, because they do not have to worry about balancing a set of dumbbells through a range of motion and they can just focus on feeling the burn. And that’s okay. However, as you progress and become more comfortable with a weight-training program, consider incorporating free weights as they have many advantages.

So what are the advantages of using free weights in comparison to machine weights?

1. By using free weights you will stimulate many more stabilizer muscle groups as you work to balance the weight through your range of motion.

* The fact that machine weights are supportive is actually their hugest downfall. They are so supportive that you only need to use a few major muscles groups for any given exercise.

* In contrast when you use free weights you are targeting extra muscle groups. This will help to burn more calories than with machine weights alone.

2. Using free weights allows you the flexibility to change the path that you will take when performing an exercise.

* Unlike the singular repetitive motion of a machine that targets the same muscles over and over, varying the path of your dumbbells will work different muscle groups.

* Dumbbells and other free weights have a tremendous versatility that machine weights cannot match. You can use any given dumbbell to work out almost every different area of your body.

For example, in addition to doing bicep curls a dumbbell can be used:
o in a bench press
o it can be held against your chest during a series of crunches
o pressed over your head to work out your shoulders
o held between your feet during a hamstring curl.

* Using machine weights for all of these exercises would require multiple machines.

3. Free weights take up much less space when compared to the size of a typical machine system.

* Further to this since machines usually boast of attachments and the latest technology, they inevitably cost many times more than what it would cost to equip yourself with a basic set of free weights. Cost and space are two key factors when people choose any workout equipment.

4. Free weights do not allow your stronger side to compensate for the weaker side.

* Weight machines focus on working out both sides of your body in tandem. The pec fly machine is an example. If you have one side of your body that is stronger, which is often the case, the machine will allow your stronger side to work harder and compensate for the weaker side.

* As a result, machine weights will often hide your weaknesses on one side, however small they may be. This cannot happen with free weights, because if your left side cannot push out that last rep, your right side cannot help it at all. This allows you to develop more evenly balanced strength.

In summary, a weight-training program does not have to be one dimensional – only machine weights or only free weights. It can be a combination of both. However, definitely consider letting free weights play a significant role in your weight training, as the benefits to using them are numerous.

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