Free weights vs. machine weights, is a wonderful question to consider as it assumes weight lifting activity. Great! Weight lifting isn’t only for body builders, it’s for everybody. When you build more muscle, you improve metabolism as well as functional fitness. So back to our question – which is best? Here’s what you need to know.

Advantages of free weights
Free weights force you to stabilize the body and work your core, even if that isn’t the focus of your exercise. The advantage here is improved functional fitness and double duty fitness. With so much to do and so little time, anything that improves exercise efficiency is a boon.

Free weights are affordable and widely accessible. You can start your lifting program with just the few dollars it takes to buy a set of dumbbells. Don’t worry if you can’t get heavy weights right away. Studies show you can accomplish just as much lifting lighter weights for more reps as you can lifting heavy weights for fewer reps.

Real-life muscle action
Another advantage of free weights is their ability to approximate real life movements. For example, bicep curls use the same muscles as those used for lugging groceries.

A disadvantage
For the most benefit and least likelihood of injury you must use proper form with free weights. Unwillingness to learn or use proper form is a drawback and definite reason to not use free weights at all.

Advantages of machine weights
Go for cable machines if you choose machine lifts. These machines make it easy to get a total body workout without the injury risks you get from free weights. They offer smooth, fluid movement to help you exercise at a higher range of motion.

machines-1Ease of use
Machine weights help you target specific muscle groups even if you don’t have a lot of knowledge about anatomy. Simply follow the photos on the circuit for a total body workout.

Better for creating metabolic overload
Machine weights make it easier to perform drop sets (exercise to fatigue, then drop the weight momentarily before lifting again). Drop sets engage more targeted muscle fibers for better muscle growth.

A disadvantage
One size does not fit all. Machine weights are most effective when they are appropriately adjusted for the user. Some men and women may find there is no comfortable adjustment and should therefore avoid most machine weights.

The final word
The best kind of weight to lift is the kind of weight you will safely lift. Both types can help you achieve fitness goals. Which you choose will depend on how appropriately sized machines are for your body, how well you adapt to free weight form and how much you know about targeting muscles. However, choose to go slow and pay attention to any signals you get from your body. You don’t want to become injured as you find the right lifting routine.