T Nation

Free Weights vs. Machine Weights

Hello, I’m a new poster to T-Nation, though I’ve been lurking for a while. My question is, what makes free weights superior to machine weights? I have a lifting buddy that refuses to use free weights because he “doesn’t like needing a spotter” (which makes me wonder why he think’s I’m there) and although I tell him free weights are better, I don’t have any arguments to back the statement up.

I was wondering if anyone could point me to articles or threads that explain why most BBers think free weights are superior to machines. Thanks!

Your friend is a pussy afraid of hard work, simple as…

Machines are nice for fresh out of the box rank newbies to a gym beacuse they’re supportive, which can actually help when trying to learn the pattern of a new exercise.

A fixed path makes them very easy to use, and with instructions written on them they are much less intimidating to a newbie(or someone who is afraid of hard fucking work).
They are also handy for rehabbing injuries etc…

But people who take their training in any way seriously use free weights, and with good reason.
They:
-Are cheap
-Don’t limit you to one exercise per piece of equipment
-Exercise the body in a anatomicvally functional(natural) way
-Incorperates the use of stabiliser muscles which machines eliminate
-Improves Central Nervous System Activity
-Improves Bone Density

Jesus the list goes on.
‘‘Properly performed, full range-of-motion barbell exercises are essentially the functional expression of human skeletal and muscular anatomy under a load’’
-Mark Rippetoe

[quote]Wiskonstantin wrote:
Hello, I’m a new poster to T-Nation, though I’ve been lurking for a while. My question is, what makes free weights superior to machine weights? I have a lifting buddy that refuses to use free weights because he “doesn’t like needing a spotter” (which makes me wonder why he think’s I’m there) and although I tell him free weights are better, I don’t have any arguments to back the statement up.

I was wondering if anyone could point me to articles or threads that explain why most BBers think free weights are superior to machines. Thanks![/quote]

Who says most bbers think free weights are superior? I think most would agree both have their place in any persons routine. Unless you’re an athlete where the bulk should be compound barbell movements. Yet if you’re trying to get big, using both will get you their the fastest I think(and safer for some pushing bigger size and weights).

Some people nuerologically are shit when it comes to using complex compound movements. So they either A)use crap form for a long time until they/someone corrects it B)Do use good form and build up some muscle yet the stronger ones take over consistently leaving some other muscles underdeveloped.

On B) is where machines/isolation exercises can come in.

Free Weigths Vs. Machine Weights is beating a dead rotting horse. Use both and train using each one of them with equal intesnity if size/strength is a goal. If you’re an athlete. Learn compounds effectively and they’ll transfer over better in sports alongside skills training.

free weights are better because you have a larger range of motion, and also many stabilizer muscles are activated that are not used nearly as much when using machines, but as mentioned above both free weights and machines should be used not just one or the other

With free weights, your joints move the way they’re meant to do, with machines, they move following a fixed path, made for the average person, with average built, average joint angles and average leverages…Does one size really fit everybody?

Machines give you somewhere to sit between sets.

a muscle doesn’t know or care where the stress comes from. break down the muscle and it will grow. period.

You should have a contest. You could do Starting Strength for 2 months and your friend can do his curves machine circuit. Then you could have an old fashioned pose-down and a mini strongman competition.

Compare and contrast your results.

Thanks for the discussion guys, I appreciate it.

Don’t forget that not all machines are created equally. Some are great but others are just plain crap.

[quote]Taufiq wrote:
Don’t forget that not all machines are created equally. Some are great but others are just plain crap.[/quote]

Exactly, I wouldn’t call HS machines or a well built smith machine “shit”. If you’re telling people NOT to do machine work for any reason, or saying free weights are simply just better, you probably shouldn’t be giving advice.

Tell your buddy to quit being a pussy. My belief is that free weights build functional/carry over strength while a machine really does very little. Even with the hammer strength machines 4 plates per side is a hell of alot easier than 4 plates per side on the flat BB bench press. Use them both in your training, but focus your efforts on free weight movements and using machines as lets say a condiment.

Get him to watch Ronnie’s The Unbelievable

[quote]zephead4747 wrote:
Taufiq wrote:
Don’t forget that not all machines are created equally. Some are great but others are just plain crap.

Exactly, I wouldn’t call HS machines or a well built smith machine “shit”. If you’re telling people NOT to do machine work for any reason, or saying free weights are simply just better, you probably shouldn’t be giving advice.[/quote]

Smith machines are only good for keeping the lifting area free. God forbid someone letting these silly people know that squatting is better without the support of a smith machine…

But yeah, do the bulk of your training with free weights. Your friend will regret only using machines later on when he can’t throw a ball without injuring himself

[quote]stickyglue wrote:
zephead4747 wrote:
Taufiq wrote:
Don’t forget that not all machines are created equally. Some are great but others are just plain crap.

Exactly, I wouldn’t call HS machines or a well built smith machine “shit”. If you’re telling people NOT to do machine work for any reason, or saying free weights are simply just better, you probably shouldn’t be giving advice.

Smith machines are only good for keeping the lifting area free. God forbid someone letting these silly people know that squatting is better without the support of a smith machine…

But yeah, do the bulk of your training with free weights. Your friend will regret only using machines later on when he can’t throw a ball without injuring himself[/quote]

This is the dumbest post I have ever heard.

If you train for hypertrophy, and have a smith machine, USE IT. It’s a great piece of equipment. Please don’t tell me you’re another one of those dumb bastarsd who now hates machien training because some author said they are unfunctional?

[quote]zephead4747 wrote:
stickyglue wrote:
zephead4747 wrote:
Taufiq wrote:
Don’t forget that not all machines are created equally. Some are great but others are just plain crap.

Exactly, I wouldn’t call HS machines or a well built smith machine “shit”. If you’re telling people NOT to do machine work for any reason, or saying free weights are simply just better, you probably shouldn’t be giving advice.

Smith machines are only good for keeping the lifting area free. God forbid someone letting these silly people know that squatting is better without the support of a smith machine…

But yeah, do the bulk of your training with free weights. Your friend will regret only using machines later on when he can’t throw a ball without injuring himself

This is the dumbest post I have ever heard.

If you train for hypertrophy, and have a smith machine, USE IT. It’s a great piece of equipment. Please don’t tell me you’re another one of those dumb bastarsd who now hates machien training because some author said they are unfunctional?[/quote]

Don’t get personal about having a different opinion… I want this guy to have the best advice possible. I would never tell a beginner to use the smith machine as a primary exercise, whether he’s training for hypertrophy or not. Thats my two cents, do what you will with it

EDIT: That youtube video contributed nothing to your argument, other than proving they are still installed in gyms. Thanks for that

[quote]stickyglue wrote:
zephead4747 wrote:
stickyglue wrote:
zephead4747 wrote:
Taufiq wrote:
Don’t forget that not all machines are created equally. Some are great but others are just plain crap.

Exactly, I wouldn’t call HS machines or a well built smith machine “shit”. If you’re telling people NOT to do machine work for any reason, or saying free weights are simply just better, you probably shouldn’t be giving advice.

Smith machines are only good for keeping the lifting area free. God forbid someone letting these silly people know that squatting is better without the support of a smith machine…

But yeah, do the bulk of your training with free weights. Your friend will regret only using machines later on when he can’t throw a ball without injuring himself

This is the dumbest post I have ever heard.

If you train for hypertrophy, and have a smith machine, USE IT. It’s a great piece of equipment. Please don’t tell me you’re another one of those dumb bastarsd who now hates machien training because some author said they are unfunctional?

Don’t get personal about having a different opinion… I want this guy to have the best advice possible. I would never tell a beginner to use the smith machine as a primary exercise, whether he’s training for hypertrophy or not. Thats my two cents, do what you will with it

EDIT: That youtube video contributed nothing to your argument, other than proving they are still installed in gyms. Thanks for that[/quote]

It also proves this guy lives on a much more massive planet than Earth, because he says the bar on his smith machine weighs 75 pounds.

[quote]stickyglue wrote:
zephead4747 wrote:
stickyglue wrote:
zephead4747 wrote:
Taufiq wrote:
Don’t forget that not all machines are created equally. Some are great but others are just plain crap.

Exactly, I wouldn’t call HS machines or a well built smith machine “shit”. If you’re telling people NOT to do machine work for any reason, or saying free weights are simply just better, you probably shouldn’t be giving advice.

Smith machines are only good for keeping the lifting area free. God forbid someone letting these silly people know that squatting is better without the support of a smith machine…

But yeah, do the bulk of your training with free weights. Your friend will regret only using machines later on when he can’t throw a ball without injuring himself

This is the dumbest post I have ever heard.

If you train for hypertrophy, and have a smith machine, USE IT. It’s a great piece of equipment. Please don’t tell me you’re another one of those dumb bastarsd who now hates machien training because some author said they are unfunctional?

Don’t get personal about having a different opinion… I want this guy to have the best advice possible. I would never tell a beginner to use the smith machine as a primary exercise, whether he’s training for hypertrophy or not. Thats my two cents, do what you will with it

EDIT: That youtube video contributed nothing to your argument, other than proving they are still installed in gyms. Thanks for that[/quote]

LOL . Who the fuck are you exactly? Since when do skinny ass fucking volleyball players know shit about hypertrophy?

There’s people who have been lifting for 15-20 years who use free weights and machines in equal fashion. I suggest you stop talking about shit you don’t know. It’s pretty retarded to actually hear this bullshit on T-Nation. If his goals are to get as big as possible using all means when it comes to machines and free weights will help attain this.

My advice to you is don’t give out advice about “hypertrophy”. Maybe you can help some one learn how to serve a volleyball or some shit.

With free weights you are going to get the better result, period. Why, because the movement is “free”.

  1. Your joints have to work harder to stabilize themselves.

  2. Joint stability = increased strength for the whole body.

  3. Increased strength = bigger muslces.

Take the barbell back squat for example. It isn’t just a quadriceps exercise.

The shoulders, traps, and arms work to keep the bar from falling. The abs and torso muslces work to keep you upright and the spine straight. The hips and glutes work to stabilize the pelvis and hips. The quads work to move the weight, hamstrings and glutes help some to. Calves work to stabilize the lower leg.

Leg Press, well, just quads with some glutes and ham action. If you want the strength and increased size get away from the machines!

-Bulwark

Machine weights are vastly superior to sitting on your ass doing nothing. Why begrudge someone their choice of how to get into shape? Maybe have your buddy lift with you when you do your free weight routine so he won’t be intimidated.