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Are free weights better than machines?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Coach Palfrey View Post
    Put simply - free weights produce real world results.
    +1
    Rebecca

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Dragonfly View Post
      Depends on the situation.

      Machines are better for newbies who have no personal trainer to teach them proper form. Also for older folks who have never exercised and need to gain confidence. And of course for rehab.

      Free weights are certainly better for those who have been taught and are capable of proper form.

      Bodyweight/functional lifting, IMO is the best! In my lifting career (personal trainer), I have progressed from machines, to free weights, to bodyweight. All have their place.
      While I understand the thinking I disagree. If you are elderly, new, or do not know the proper techniques start with light weights and learn! You will be amazed and excited to watch your progress.

      I lift light weights (recovering from bypass surgery) twice a week.

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      • #18
        Is using a bicep machine really that much easier than just doing bicep curls with a free weight?
        Rebecca

        Right click here to watch me lose 22.5 pounds of body fat and gain 5.5 pounds of muscle in only 5 months right before your eyes in this cool morphing video!

        Click the banner below to visit my blog:

        sigpic

        Feb 2009 - 158 pounds - 43.6% body fat
        Aug 2013 - 138 pounds - 34.3% body fat
        So far, lost 19.8 pounds of body fat and gained 1.8 pounds of lean mass
        Goal - 136 pounds - 30% body fat
        Still need to lose 6.4 more pounds of body fat and gain 4.2 more pounds of lean mass

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        • #19
          Originally posted by DanC View Post
          While I understand the thinking I disagree. If you are elderly, new, or do not know the proper techniques start with light weights and learn! You will be amazed and excited to watch your progress.

          I lift light weights (recovering from bypass surgery) twice a week.
          Having worked in a gym and watched folks of all ages trying to lift free weights without any instruction (and cringing inside), I respectfully disagree. I have seen more injuries--especially rotator cuff injuries resulting from improper lifting, to ever recommend that folks start out without any instruction. Of course, these days you can learn from YouTube videos, but nothing replaces the eye and experience of a good personal trainer.
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          • #20
            I do agree with those using free weights that the dead lift is probably one of the best exercises. It accomplishes so many positive things in one routine.

            I do admit that I come from a different mind set. I use resistance training for 1 purpose only. That is to build muscle mass. I do that by training to fatigue, then resting those muscles and allowing them to heal and adapt.

            My routine is now 1 exercise per week on a 6 week cycle. I do 1 set to failure which reached when I'm unable to complete the last positive rep. I time myself rather than counting reps. Even with three weeks between routines I continue to see progressive increase in weight and or time.
            Row
            chest press
            leg press
            lat pull down
            shoulder press
            leg press.

            I don't use weights for "functional applications". In August I was swimming twice a week. Once I started officiating football I was doing that about 6 hours a week. Now I'm doing walking and sprints on a stationary bike. We have an upright grand piano in the house. I do lift it once and a while for functional reasons. That is my version of the dead lift.

            That is why I have no problem thinking that machines are just as effective as free weights. In many ways they can be better because it allows to safely go to fatigue. How many times have we seen a trainee trapped under a barbell when they were doing a chest press.

            I can't remember putting something on the back of neck to try and lift it. Why would I do a squat? A dead lift... absolutely.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by RSL View Post
              Is using a bicep machine really that much easier than just doing bicep curls with a free weight?
              Its not just about easier. If you stand and do alternating curls you will tighten your abs and glutes, you will also maintain balance which requires I dont know how many muscles to work. If you sit in a machine you work your biceps and that is about all. IMHO

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              • #22
                I don't know if this analogy is valid but...

                Dips on a dip station < dips on rings.

                I can do about 20-30 dips on a dip station (where the machine doesn't move) but I can only muster about 4 dips on rings, where my stabilizing muscles are all out of wack and working hard just to keep me upright. Technically, I'm still lifting the same weight (my body) and doing a similar movement (the dip), but the muscles involved seem to be heavily under-developed when it comes to rings than when it comes to the dip station/parallel bars/etc.

                That's kind of how machines and free weights seem to me.
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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Vick View Post
                  I can't remember putting something on the back of neck to try and lift it. Why would I do a squat?
                  To carry a carcass to camp? Or in these modern days - saving someone that is hurt by carrying them in a fireman's lift? Doesn't happen often I am sure, but it is nice to be able to do it if needed.
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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Sungrazer View Post
                    To carry a carcass to camp? Or in these modern days - saving someone that is hurt by carrying them in a fireman's lift? Doesn't happen often I am sure, but it is nice to be able to do it if needed.
                    Fireman's lift... I'll buy into that.

                    Is there a better exercise to simulate a fireman's lift?

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Vick View Post
                      Fireman's lift... I'll buy into that.

                      Is there a better exercise to simulate a fireman's lift?
                      Heaving sandbags onto your shoulders.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Coach Palfrey View Post
                        A machine is, by definition, designed to make a load easier to shift - this means that your body adapts to the particulars of that system (be it leverage or pulley or whatever). If you are training to improve performance in that given modality then it could be argued that it remains functional to carry out machine based resistance work. But this is rarely the case. We should be training to move better/increase performance, and this generally aligns itself to working with a freely moving external load.

                        Put simply - free weights produce real world results.
                        I agree with everything but your last sentence. Free weights produce people who are good at lifting free weights.

                        To improve my skills at keeping up with football players as an official I need to run. I need to do that so my nervous system and VO2 max is more efficient at running not doing a calf raise. That will produce a real world result.

                        Anti-sarcopenic exercises need to be designed to build muscle mass.

                        Coach I think building muscle mass and improving performance are two totally different concepts and need to be considered separately as part of an overall fitness or training program.

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                        • #27
                          ..but Vick that is like asking "what is better Bacon or Eggs?"

                          Each kicks ass in their own special way.

                          Also, for some people who can't squat the leg press machine is better.

                          Machines and free weights have their place and can compliment each other well. But then most machines are used outside of their application by people who really need to hire a trainer or at least pay attention.
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                          • #28
                            "Coach I think building muscle mass and improving performance are two totally different concepts and need to be considered separately as part of an overall fitness or training program."

                            Exactly.
                            Don't be a paleotard...

                            http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/nut...oxidation.html

                            http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/nut...torage-qa.html

                            http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/fat...rn-fat-qa.html

                            http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/nut...-you-need.html

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Vick View Post
                              I agree with everything but your last sentence. Free weights produce people who are good at lifting free weights.
                              So you never lift anything? You might not regularly need to lift anything heavy, but most other people don't need to regularly run, so your argument comes right back to you

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Vick View Post
                                I agree with everything but your last sentence. Free weights produce people who are good at lifting free weights.
                                . . . What is not free weight? Whether it's a barbell or a sack of dog food, neither are fixed to a pulley system. Your body needs to be able to stablize the load, and machines do not enforce that. For me, free weights are ideal because they are functional, they translate well over to other aspects in my life. (and from a sports aspect, I'm a lifter in rugby; being able to squat and recover from a large load is essential for completing a lift).

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