Free Weights or Machines: Which is Better?

18 Oct

Proponents of free weights and weight machines are very much like sheepmen and cattlemen in the old west: both feel strongly about their point of view and have inflexible atti­tudes toward the other side. Machines are convenient, high tech, comfortable and attractive. However, they move joints through fixed ranges of motion that can create excessive torque and unnatural stresses. Also, the exercises are artificial and do not transfer well to functional movement.

free weights

Angelo Cacchio and coworkers from the University of Rome in Italy and Illinois State University found that exercising on a machine that provided free motion similar to dumbbell and bar­bell exercises created greater activation of shoulder girdle muscles than a machine that forced movement in a fixed path. They concluded that unconstrained weight training is superior to fixed path weight machines because it builds intramuscular coordination that might transfer better to functional activities.

machines for training

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One Response to “Free Weights or Machines: Which is Better?”

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