The advantage of Free Weights vs Resistance Machines
But the real question is what is the most effective way to train?
And what builds muscle faster?
Resistance machines and free weights both have their place in a gym routine, but some will suit your needs more than others.
To avoid any confusion, free weights are defined as items that aren’t attached to anything, so you can freely pick them up to perform a movement. These items may consist of, dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, medicine balls and individual weight lifting plates. Unlike machines that provide a fixed movement and isolates a specific muscle group, which in turn limits the movement of the surrounding muscles, free weight training allow your body to work a wider range of muscle groups at once.
Generally, free weights activate more muscles than machines, and are therefore better for building lean muscle in the long-run. Free weight training will allow you to build muscle, whilst accommodating your balance and coordination making it a more efficient workout. By moving through a greater range-of-motion, free weight training will help to decrease imbalances and engage a wider range of muscles which will ultimately lead to more gains and strengthen your stabilising muscles to help to support your body and joints which is key to preventing injury.
Free weight training can replicate the machine movements, but it’ll force your body to use your stabilising muscles in order to control the volume, whereas a machine would assist with holding your form and working the targeted area. Resistance machines will support your training by keeping you in place, whereas weight plates are renowned for enabling free weight movement, since you can move the plate in any direction you wish to facilitate your workout! This makes weight plates ideal for free-weight training, by allowing you to alter your load depending on the movement you wish to carry out, (depending on your strength, our fractional Olympic weight lifting plates are perfect for increasing the load in smaller increments).
To summarise, the use of free weights allows your body to work various muscle groups which will help strengthen your body overall without even realising it. It’ll also improve your coordination, form and mobility, making free weight training a key element in everyone’s training routine. You can increase the load of any workout by adding Zenith Plates to Barbells and Dumbbells or by carrying our functional movements with our 20kg Olympic weight lifting plates with handle grips, making it a convenient way to train and work your overall muscles.
It goes without saying that machines do help to hold your form if you’re at the end of a session and feel fatigue so do bear this in mind. However free weight training can be much more convenient in comparison to hanging around for someone else to finish on a machine!
To see how Zenith Plates can assist with your training, check out our full range of Olympic weight lifting plates, ranging from 2.5kg to 20kg.