Free Weights vs. Resistance Machines

After talking to a fitness expert, you discover that a good exercise program must incorporate aerobic exercise such as running, aerobic dance or cycling, and some form of strength training. You have been to the gym and noticed some people were using dumbbells and some were using the machines. So, are weight machines the best way to build strength? Or are free weights (barbells and dumbbells) more effective? The truth is both have advantages and disadvantages.

Free weights

For many people, dumbbells and barbells are used to provide a great workout. Free weights, together with a bench and a rack, offer a great variety of exercises. But as with machines, free weights have advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages

Disadvantages

Resistance machines

Many machines use a stack of weight as a means of resistance. By the use of cams, cables, gears and pulleys, the resistance from the weight stack can be controlled by one specific movement. Still other machines may require giant springs or rubber bands to provide resistance, and may be less capable of gradual increases in resistance. Some large multi-station weight machines allow a variety of exercises for a full body workout.

Advantages

Disadvantages