View Full Version : WEEKLY BLOG: Certified Short Guy says...

06-03-2009, 11:26 AM

Some people wonder what the difference is between machines and free weights (besides looking different). Some people think machines are useless, and that free weights are far better because they work stabilizer muscles and take more work to use, etc. Sadly, this isn’t true.

Like everything else in the fitness world, everyone has their own opinion (and it annoys the dfsljkfsdf out of me). One expert will say protein powders are awesome, another will say its not necessary. One expert will say “do this, you’ll lose weight!” and another will say “no, that’s wrong”. Confusing isn’t it? The key to fitness is to do what works for you. What works for one person, may harm another person (don’t ask what happened to me after I tried Arnold Schwarzenegger’s workout routine. Let’s just say, people thought I was a zombie. Well for some reason people think I’m a zombie anyway...)

If free weights work very well for you, by all means, keep doing it. But there is nothing wrong with machines. Proper form, slow, controlled movements is what all the experts agree on, is the best way to get muscle (heck, it’s the only thing they seem to agree on). So if you’re doing bicep curls and swinging the weight, nothing is going to happen. If you’re doing dumbbell bench press and jerking the dumbbell all over the place, you’re not working anything. At least with machines, you get a controlled, proper form movement, and can also go slower without dropping the weight. Depending what height you are, just move the seat up or down.

‘Machines don’t work stabilizer muscles’. That’s false. They do, just not “too” much. ‘You never see the pros using machines’. That’s false. I’ve seen videos of the pros using machines several times, but yes, they use free weights more often. ‘There’s a greater chance of injury if you use machines’. Again, false. There’s a greater chance of injury by jerking, swinging, not using proper posture/not keeping you’re back straight. ‘You can’t get big and strong off using machines’. Incredibly FALSE. In order for the muscle to grow, you need to burn the muscle fibers significantly (burn those little microscopic fibers), so they can repair and thus, grow bigger. Muscle fibers burn most in the final 2-3 reps when you’re having the hardest time lifting the weight (with free weights, you may be jerking and swinging to get the final two reps. At least with machines, you don’t jerk or swing, you keep it controlled.)

If you’ve been using free weights for so long and haven’t seen much difference, or feel pain, or swing and jerk too much, give the machines a try. You’ll be surprised.