Will weights or machines will help you gain the most strength, muscle mass, and burn the most fat?
Is it better to train with weights or machines when working out? Depending on your goals and objectives, the solution may vary. Each type of exercise, along with the various ways to execute them, produces different results.
With the evolution of exercise methods, such as HIIT and CrossFit, the studies have shown that we can get pretty far in our workout goals without having to use machines. Then there are results that we see from big name celebrities using machines and prove otherwise. So what differences are there between weights or machines?
First thing is to understand the types of products within each category. Weights include dumbbells, kettlebells, and medicine balls. Machines or equipment include leg press machines, cables, smith machines, bowflex machines, fitness bikes, etc. Machines are mostly stationary, and often more accessible at a gym.
It is important to know that machines prevent the person working out from pushing themselves from place, meaning there is less muscle work done overall. Free weights force you to employ more of your stabilizing muscles, meaning more muscles from your body are in use.
According to experts, weights are better for building muscle and can activate more muscles than machines. Meanwhile, machines are much lower risk to use making it a safer workout. For example, a free weight can be accidentally dropped and may lead to an injury. Machines have guard or latches that can prevent a falling weight from injuring the user.
In conclusion, there are both pros and cons for working out with weights or machines. Weights allow a more complete workout although it may require a spotter. Machines do not build muscles as fast or thorough as free weights but are much safer. We would advise all beginners to start off with machines first, then transfer to free weights to gain more muscle. For seasoned trainers, free weights are the way to go.