2

votes

Weight machines deprecated?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 26, 2013 at 10:12 PM

From what I've heard, free weight training is recommended and weight machines are not thought to be effective.

But I wanted to check in on that. I lifted on weight machines for years, and was strong (and regained strength quickly when I resumed after less exercise). And I know that a healthy bit of walking is highly beneficial. But are weight machines a losing proposition compared to free weights? The concern I remember hearing is that they only exercise through a narrow area, but the strength I had when weight lifting was not in any sense narrow; I was overall strong.

I'd at least like to know why I've heard that weight machines are not to be considered as an alternative to free weights.

7947663ae0b5333554fd462635418724

on January 28, 2013
at 08:50 PM

@all... wow, I can only choose one correct answer?

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on January 27, 2013
at 03:40 PM

barbells > dumbbels > weight machines. However, all are useful tools. Your main lifts should be bench, deadlifts, squats, and chins/pull ups. These are barbell exercises

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 27, 2013
at 03:28 PM

While you are correct on all accounts, free weights are also superior to weight machines in almost all metrics. It isn't not so much about macho crap, but preferring the most efficient way to gain strength - although it certainly plays a part. I'm ok with that, as their's enough emasculation in today's society as it is.

Ed7403e397077dd1acdbf25c7f6e56ce

(3452)

on January 27, 2013
at 02:41 AM

^^^^^this^^^^^^

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7 Answers

best answer

4
Bfd70bb38267fcc2d762063d691fa226

(723)

on January 27, 2013
at 01:11 AM

I think that if you are trying to get the most out of your workout, free weights are the way to go. They work your entire body because they require coordination and stability. This is practical to everyday tasks, which is the essence of the paleo lifestyle. Free weights are also good for brain function because they force you to be aware of the weight in relation to your body and how your movements will affect the stability of the weight. Free weights are generally good for overall strength and mobility. Also, they provide a great workout for the core. You don't have to spend endless hours doing tedious crunches in order to strengthen your core.

All this being said, there is a time and place for everything. You can definitely benefit from using weight machines, especially if there is a body part that you really want to build. Also, if you are injured and cannot do full-body weight training like olympic lifts, you can keep your non-injured parts in shape with weight machines. Beginners can also benefit from using weight machines.

All in all, both free weights and machines have their place. What I do and what I suggest you do is to concentrate on the free weights and use machines as supplements to your workouts.

Ed7403e397077dd1acdbf25c7f6e56ce

(3452)

on January 27, 2013
at 02:41 AM

^^^^^this^^^^^^

5
Ee6932fe54ad68039a8d5f7a8caa0468

(2668)

on January 26, 2013
at 10:47 PM

i prefer free weights, because you have to stabilize the object, and you have to learn how to move your body correctly. but machines are a perfectly viable way to create a nice, muscular body. don't listen to the macho crap that relegates them to the dustbin.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 27, 2013
at 03:28 PM

While you are correct on all accounts, free weights are also superior to weight machines in almost all metrics. It isn't not so much about macho crap, but preferring the most efficient way to gain strength - although it certainly plays a part. I'm ok with that, as their's enough emasculation in today's society as it is.

3
2fd93e91bb14e641a2bac9c6033e84e2

(1614)

on January 27, 2013
at 12:29 AM

Depends on your goals and constraints.

If you want to build full-body functional strength for compound movements, you're going to have to step out of the machines. There are no machines that I've seen in a commercial gym that provide simulation of lifting and dragging a heavy object, carrying a heavy load on your shoulders, pulling yourself up into a tree or out of water. Deadlifts, squats, and gymnastics/bodyweight exercises aren't exact replicas of those movements, but are close. Pressing machines do simulate having to push a heavy load off of yourself, but you're still constrained by the dimensions of the machine- the width of the grip, the depth and extension of the press, the seated position, the angle of the press. All of those things can be varied and individually controlled with free weights, giving a more fully functional strength to the "press" movement.

If a persons lacks the strength, mobility, or stability to start with free weights, I think weight machines are a better option than not strength training at all. Same with if a person lacks access to free weights and proper training resources. If a person is training to beef up a specific part of their body, achieve a specific look, then weight machines will work. Same with your idea of "being strong"-- if being strong to you means you can move the notch down to a heavier weight as you progress, then yes, free weights will give you that absolute muscle strength and mental achievement. But free weights can do that too.

My mother is 57 and just started using weight machines. She lives in a town of 500 with the HS weight room being the only free weight facility. There are no women's bars or dumbbells under 10 lbs. Free weights are out of her comfort zone and she would never entertain that kind of training. But weight machines are "safer" in her mind, and I'm just glad to see her doing any kind of resistance training for the first time in her life. So while I think weight machines are not ideal, I acknowledge that they definitely serve a purpose.

1
24c27817ad9ac518946dda4a131737b5

on January 27, 2013
at 02:33 AM

I believe when "Paleo template" is finalized, machines will find a place as part of a well-rounded routine (and I don't mean only for athletes, but non-athletes.)

I like to hit the Machines once a month, as a complement to HIIT and free weights. They do best what they do, which is iso. And which allows neat sets and quant tracking.

1
Cf416725f639ffd1bb90764792ce7b8a

(2799)

on January 27, 2013
at 12:09 AM

If the machine fits well and the movement feels natural I use the machine. Some machines simply don't fit well no matter how I adjust them. If they do fit they're huge timesavers so why not?

I think most of the bad rep machines got was back in the old days when the Mark 1 weight lifting machines first came out. They weren't nearly as good as the new stuff.

1
3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on January 26, 2013
at 10:34 PM

Weight machines are fine for strength training in the proper context. Depends on the individual and their goal. I personally do one HIT session with machines each week, one session of just deadlifts, one sprint day, and grease the grove type of body weight stuff most days.

0
089dd41b18fbb95ebb5347cded708d98

(5635)

on January 26, 2013
at 10:24 PM

i think in regards to paleo it's because we didn't have machines back then. we lifted whatever was around.

personally, i haven't used machines in a few years, but i don't think they are "bad." just not necessary. i've gotten way stronger using a pair of dumbbells and my own body weight as resistance.

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