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Machines vs. Free weights

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Old 06-05-2007, 02:27 AM   #31
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hi I am new to this thread, I am a regular at 30 something.
First Meg YOU ARE AN INSPIRATION! YOU ARE AWESOME!!!
I have a few questions if you don't mind, I go to the gym every day, I wanted to loose a little bit of weight before I started using weights, I lost 10 Lbs. and I started using the machines, and I kept doing a lot of Cardio, then the trainer at my gym said to cut some on the cardio and do interval training on the elliptical, bike, stairs and so on for no more than 45 minutes and to keep lifting weights, I started using free weights, a lot of the same exercises you suggested Meg, now I am at a plato, and the trainer suggested now I don't do any cardio for 2 weeks, only to warm up and only use free weights. I am not sure this is sound advise. what do you think?

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The more body parts and joints that are in motions during an exercise, the more effective that exercise will be. For example, a free bar or dumbbell squat is a compound exercise that is far more effective than a leg extension machine. Both work the quads, but the leg extension ONLY works the quads, requires no balance and no movement other than at the knee joint. Much less effective!

Mel
My question on this is, what do you suggest to do each day, which muscles to use each day as a combination. for example: triceps/legs, back/abs????? I find that too confusing. is my question easy to understand? thanks for the advice!!!
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Old 06-05-2007, 12:12 PM   #32
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If you work out at home instead of a gym, you can purchase some muscle toning videos, like Arms and Abs of Steel or something along those lines. They will show you all the proper form to train all your different muscle sets and will tell you what size weights to use for which exercises. Generally, beginners would use a set of either 2, 3, & 5 pound; 3, 5, & 8 pound; or 5, 8, & 12 pound weights. I use the 5, 8, & 12 pound dumbells for toning and heavier dumbells for building muscles (I have a free weights bench for benchpressing and squats). I think that the videos are really useful for learning form and technique, which you can build upon as you use more weight.
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Old 12-03-2007, 01:48 PM   #33
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hmmmm..... free weights vs. Machine really depends on why are you at the gym.
If you are really overweight and you are going to the gym to help you in the weight loss process then machines are you best bet. You dont risk any injury and you can push yourself to the limit.

If you are healthy and fit and looking for weight training to tone /buff and for strenght training then free weights are better.

Now if you really want to sculpt your body then machines really isolate your muscles. Now some good advice pointed this out as a "bad thing".(in case of the benchpress). As machines dont get into play some muscles that free weights do. It is not a "bad things" if you are body building. Infact body builders do a lot of machines to isolate certain muscles.

So if you are new stick to machines until you are confident that you can handle free weights and remember always have a partner looking over you ready to spot you when you are doing free weights.
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Old 12-03-2007, 06:05 PM   #34
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If you are really overweight and you are going to the gym to help you in the weight loss process then machines are you best bet. You dont risk any injury and you can push yourself to the limit.

.
Sorry, but I couldn't disagree more with this paragraph.

Why is not using stabilizing muscles and focusing on one muscle ata time better for weight loss? Use less muscles = Burn fewer calories = less fat loss.

Also, if you use free weights properly and take the proper safety precautions they are actually less of an injury risk as you are able to use the body's natural range of motion and not limited to the machine's range of motion which could put a person at serious injury risk.

Why do you need a machine to push yourself to the limit?

I do agree that if your goal is to isolate certain muscles, there are many reasons to include machines as part of your workouts. Many bodybuilders do.

However, if your goal is fat loss, then getting up off the machines and on the feet is far superior in the majority of cases. Of course there are those with physical limitations for which this may not apply.

Last edited by Depalma : 12-03-2007 at 06:06 PM.
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Old 12-03-2007, 07:01 PM   #35
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IMO machines should be used only:
- in case of injury (which prevents you from performing movements at full range) and sometimes during physical therapy when the work/progress needs to be more gradual
- to supplement exercise done with free-weights and body weight (calisthenics, isometrics, etc)

Nowadays there are so many different kinds of machines that it seems as if you can take care of each body part full, but the body wasn't made to operate the way machines make you, so it really is best to use the full range of motion and also use a variety of activities. The muscles we need to work aren't only those you see with the naked eye, so activities that work your core, pelvic floor etc are also important.

Even The Firm now has a variety of wokouts including power yoga and Pilates!
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Old 02-02-2008, 01:03 PM   #36
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i discovered a book at barnes and nobles that helps me determine which exercises i do when i hit the gym.

its called "101 workouts for women". don't remember who its by, b/c its in my living room and i'm in the bed room relaxing.

but only problem i have with the book is the super hyped up women in the photo's shown doing the exercises... i mean yeah i'm striving for killer abs, but i know i'll never have abs like they do.
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Old 02-02-2008, 01:04 PM   #37
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Here's the book cover


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Old 05-12-2008, 09:49 PM   #38
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free weights are my personal fav of the both, but i do use the assisted chinup/dip machine for now.
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Old 11-17-2008, 07:03 PM   #39
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Quote:
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free weights are my personal fav of the both, but i do use the assisted chinup/dip machine for now.
I agree that machines are great when you are doing something that requires you to use your body weight as resistence but are unable to. As suggested above, I also do pull-up and dips weight-assisted.
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Old 12-27-2008, 01:00 PM   #40
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I have read about the workout for the upper body but what do you guys do for the lower body? I had knee surgery and can't do squats or lunges. Any recommendations for alternatives?
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Old 01-04-2009, 11:48 PM   #41
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I use machines only when free weights are too annoying. If you're not allowed to do squats or lunges, it's hard to tell what you can do, so I guess you should check with your doctor first, but I like the dumbbell step-up, the sled 45 degree leg press, and lever lying leg curl.
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Old 08-12-2009, 09:50 PM   #42
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JamZ , if you just go knee surgery are you doing physio therapy? Your therapis should be able to tell you...
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Old 09-02-2009, 12:33 AM   #43
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I had knee surgery 16 years ago, unfortunately another one is looming on the horizon. PT suggested staying on machines for my lower body work, because it allows a slower, more controlled movement and more importantly, I won't have my knee go out, (literally, I have no cushioning cartlige under the patella, and the tendons and ligaments around the knees are weak and overstretched due to many times the patella has slid around of its own free will) I wear a specialty knee brace during workouts, one of those seriously sexy ones with the metal bars all around it, but I refuse to NOT work out. So we've come up with machine workout for lower half, that works for me, as well as involving yoga and pilates to help strengthen stabilizing muscles, in the hopes of preventing total knee replacement.
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Old 09-09-2009, 11:38 AM   #44
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I can't tell you all how helpful this thread has been for me! I've always wondered about free weights vs. machines and everyone's advice has been great.
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Old 06-20-2010, 11:48 AM   #45
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I've only skimmed this thread, so I'm not sure if this has already been mentioned, but I hate machines.

Not just because they employ fewer muscles (although I do agree that true compound movements like a barbell squat or deadlift are better), but because machines are designed for the "average" person. If you're very tall, or (in my case) very short, machines aren't designed for you. So the range of motion they're forcing you to move through is totally wrong for your body, and you're more at risk of injury than you would be with a barbell - assuming you do the barbell exercise with good form, and the right amount of weight.

Also, if you exclusively use machines you'll end up with muscle imbalances. When I was at school I worked out a lot with machines, and I could squat an obscene amount. The first time I tried to do a real barbell squat was a huge eye opener!
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