Free Weights vs Machines – Best For Building Muscle? Get Stronger?

Free Weights vs Machines – Best For Building Muscle? Get Stronger?


Going to the gym but don’t know what equipment
to use? Free weights or machines, which one is better? You’ve probably heard others talk up the awesomeness
of free weights such as barbells, dumbbells, and even kettle bells, since they do so much
more than machines right? So what exactly makes them better?
For one, the instability of free weights helps build stabilizing muscles, which is great
for improving balance, coordination, and athleticism. Sadly, machines usually have you seated or
placed into a fixed position that takes instability out of play.
Free weights also lets you follow a natural bar path, meaning you can move the weight
in a pattern that comes natural to you, making it great to replicate functional, real-life
movement. Machines are usually made for the average-sized
person with limited adjustment options, making the movement pattern uncomfortable and restricts
range of motion for people that don’t fit the machine’s size.
And of course, free weights are great for performing a wide variety of exercises.
Whether you want to do Olympic Lifts such as the snatch, or a big compound exercise
like the deadlift, free weights are the way to go. Now this doesn’t mean that machines are at
all useless. Actually, they’re pretty darn good in their
own right. Instability from free weights? Great.
Stability from machines? That’s great as well when you need it, such as times when going
through rehab. Free weights also require you to learn how
to perform each exercise correctly in order to avoid injury and making sure you work the
right muscle groups. Since most machines provide a fixed movement
pattern, the learning curve drops way down, making it perfect for beginners and the elderly.
Fixed movement patterns also means you can isolate muscle groups much better.
Want to build your hamstring flexion? Look no further than the hamstring curl machine.
And as far as the limitations you find in machines, well it really depends on what machine
you’re talking about. Barbell squats are commonly compared to leg
presses on a machine, and the barbell squat wins by quite a landslide.
But the comparison isn’t actually fair. If you pit the barbell squat against squats in
a power squat machine, they are much more similar in terms of overall strength and muscle
building. One of the most popular free weight barbell
exercise is the deadlift, something that machines cannot do, right?
Actually, there is a machine that can do deadlifts just as well as a barbell called the hammer
strength machine. It might even be better since the load of
the weight is more in line with your hips, putting more tension on your glutes, hamstrings,
and quadriceps more so than your lower back. Sadly, most commercial gyms don’t have many
of these awesome and more well-suited machines. One thing that most gyms do have, however,
are the cable machines, which is by far one of the most versatile machines you can find.
So when you ask the question “which one is better?,” the only logical answer is “It depends.”
Both free weights and machines have advantages that the other doesn’t.
They both can do a decent job in building muscle and strength, depending on what you’re
aiming for. So the next time someone tells you that you
shouldn’t use machines or that you shouldn’t use free weights, just ignore them and do
you booboo! Share your health and fitness questions below.
Please come check out and support PictureFit on Patreon. And don’t forget to like and subscribe.

100 Replies to “Free Weights vs Machines – Best For Building Muscle? Get Stronger?”

  1. Machines are better because you can move more weight with less chance of injury. You can load up a bench press machine with lots of weight and can bail on a rep without necking yourself.

  2. i have a question, compound excersises like over head shoulder press, squats, etc that have a machine where it can be done, does it also boost testosterone doing it at the machine than doing it with free weights? that is basically the reason now i avoid machines and use free weights, because i think they will help more in boosting testosterone, i think what boost testosterone its the fact that core muscles and other muscles are involved at the same time while performing the excersise

  3. There 2 numbers on my machine weights. What do these numbers mean 😋 Let me know. I look forward to hearing from you 😎

  4. I use this channel as a parameter to judge other fitness channels. Great content. Been a fan for a long time. I used to be 12 kgs overweight, got that down in 3 months. Now time for some gaainzz.

  5. Machines are good for ISOLATING MUSCLES AND KEEPING FORM. Freeweights are better for building mass and strength. But nothing is better than bodyweight exercises

  6. I always used free weights for 4-5 different exercises at 8 reps of 5 sets per muscle, then finished it up with another two exercises (again 8-10 reps at 5 sets) on machines. But I would always mix the machines up each session, in hopes of the new stimulus to my muscle each week stops it from adapting as quickly

  7. Dear picture fit admin, i would like to thanks you for all the efforts that u r doing to get us better understanding about gym staffs. I have one suggestion if u don't mind it, i want u to give us a corse for beginners that we can run on to lose weight and build muscles hence other channels don't have something like this. With my best regards.

  8. my opinon is machines..muscle growth is more when we choose machines….free weight is slower gain but never drop out the body maintance..however do machines first get big get form then move on to free weights to maintain the body…thank u

  9. Although free weights are better, I feel safer using machines for certain muscles because I worry about dropping the weights on my face

  10. Injured my SI joint performing deadlifts, so have to resort to machines for back work which don't hurt my lower back. So for injuries, folks with ROM problems, or for safety machines/cables win. For getting the biggest and strongest you can be use free weights.

  11. I'm 15 and i started lifting a month ago and most of my muscles have been activated. They started to get slightly larger, thank you so much for good advice! I'll give you an update a month from now.

  12. Why not do both? Using free weights for compound movements helps more than 2 or 3 muscles while most of the machines help you isolate a certain muscle plus with machines you can lift more weight than you can handle with free weights, and free weights as you said buid your athleticism and also help you develop some lung capacity( by doing squats and deadlifts with heavy weight mostly).

  13. I like do a combination of free weights and machines. I would personally avoid all seated ab machines, pec deck machines, and the selectorized seated hip twister thingy. My preferred machines are the cable cross towers, lat pull down, tricep push down, rowing machine, seated squat machine, and hammer strength machines. I would use hip abduction and adduction machines and back extension machines sparingly as a supplementary exercise instead of a primary exercise. Free weight exercises I would personally avoid is behind the back overhead presses and the standing barbell row. All other free weights exercises are very beneficial especially when good for is used. Deadlifts are very good but, you may want to use a deadlift platform or borrow some Pilate mats to minimize the risk of getting the cold shoulder at globo gyms and never ever do deadlifts at planet fitness. I have gotten 2 cold shoulders by la fitness staff for deadlifting at LA fitness and I borrowed a few Pilates mats from the Pilates studio and it dampened the noise more than enough to please the gym staff. I am not ego lifter, I do 80 percent 1 rep max and I try my best to minimize metallic clanging noise created by the deadlifts.

  14. Machine I think are better because they have more isolation, not to mention easier going to failure since there is no fear of a 200+lb hunk of metal crashing down thus you can push for those last few juicy reps.

  15. It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends

  16. Your muscles don’t know what you’re lifting. You could lift heavy ass stacks of paper all day and still get big.

  17. I just wanna get in better shape, not do fitness as a career. Free weights look like a hassle and dangerous so I stick to machines.

  18. Aye just saying I never went to a gym once growing up my dad bought me a total gym when I was 12 and I used tf outta that shit until I was 18 and I got some pretty nice ass results

  19. I'm sorry, but machines can be great and gives you more concentration on the muscle…….and I have been around for a long time……Smith Machine Bench is great and better 💪

  20. It's weird watching a PictureFit video without hearing him quote a study or use some kind of data to support his thesis/video topic. My only guess is that it's because this is one of his early videos?

  21. Machines have several advantages of over weights…. warming up is much faster on machines… getting a pump and pump sets is better on machines… it's better to do forced reps and maxed out reps on machines… machines are biomechanically correct!…. people use bad form using barbells and dumbbells!

  22. Fun when you’re looking to see what you’re doing wrong and the video ends with telling you that you’re doing just fine

  23. Tbh this is what I did when I first started I used the machines to build my body stronger to then move on to free weights. You know you don’t wanna be that guy who’s lifting and doesn’t know his capacity or just looks stupid out there by lifting shit the wrong way.
    So I basically used to the machines to get stronger so that when I would get on the pull up bar it came much easier to be able to to do 5 then it became 6 then 10 then etc.
    take my advice and don’t rush into the free weights man 💪🏼

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