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Are free weights better than machines?

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  • #31
    This made me think about free weights differently: http://blog.exuberantanimal.com/focus-on-function/

    I prefer DBs and KBs to the bar because my upper arm length is a little short - I can't rack the bar because my wrists are behind my shoulders. Also, I have no spotter, and DBs/KBs are far safer. The weight increment is a little more difficult to manage, but not greatly. I'm going to make "sandbags" - Mountain Athlete (http://mtnathlete.com/subpage_detail...189&page_ID=25) has a good video on them, and they're lots more difficult than a bar of the same weight. They do nice things for grip strength, too - even if you get the commercial kind, with well-built handles.

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    • #32
      Originally posted by Annlee View Post
      This made me think about free weights differently: http://blog.exuberantanimal.com/focus-on-function/

      I prefer DBs and KBs to the bar because my upper arm length is a little short - I can't rack the bar because my wrists are behind my shoulders. Also, I have no spotter, and DBs/KBs are far safer. The weight increment is a little more difficult to manage, but not greatly. I'm going to make "sandbags" - Mountain Athlete (http://mtnathlete.com/subpage_detail...189&page_ID=25) has a good video on them, and they're lots more difficult than a bar of the same weight. They do nice things for grip strength, too - even if you get the commercial kind, with well-built handles.
      That's an interesting contrarian argument, I don't really buy it wholeheartedly - especially the power part. bar training for athletes is supposed to form a foundation upon which they lay explosive power - the raw strength side of the overall power equation. And there are the Oly lifts that are super-hard, explosive power moves (and super fun!). I think the first idea that has got to go is that barbell work is only for people who want to be powerlifters and slow lumbering types. My chosen sport is racquetball and that is all about fast-twitch explosion, and I think my game has already improved since starting barbell training - I can hit the ball harder, and towards the end of the matches I still have gas to hit it hard. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_dSWol84B0 (not me!)
      Last edited by tfarny; 12-11-2010, 04:34 PM.
      If you are new to the PB - please ignore ALL of this stuff, until you've read the book, or at least http://www.marksdailyapple.com/primal-blueprint-101/ and this (personal fave): http://www.archevore.com/get-started/

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      • #33
        No... they are all just a means to an end.

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        • #34
          The other thing I like about free weights is that they are more open to adaptation. If you usually workout using such and such a machine and the machine breaks or the gym is closed what do you do? But if you lift free weights 1) pretty hard to break them! 2) if the gym is closed you can lift any other heavy thing. Grab a rock, a lock , a sand bag, a backpack with rocks in it, a broomstick with buckets of water, etc. Kinda useful sometimes!

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          • #35
            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.
            This is exactly what my first trainer in Texas said to me, many years ago. She started newbie me on machines, then I progressed, under her guidance, to free weights. And I am doing bodyweight stuff now with my physical therapist in rehab. Machines definitely do have their place.
            "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." -- Hippocrates

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            • #36
              Originally posted by Vick View Post
              That is to build muscle mass.
              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? A dead lift... absolutely.
              that boggles the mind. if you want to build mass, then you need to squat. take a look at Martin over at leangains.com
              not a machine in site, he never trains to failure and i would say he is pretty buff.
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              • #37
                Machines are in most gyms to take the place of coaching and this is a bad thing. I have never met anyone who could not, even with zero gym experience, perform some basic scaled free weight training. The machine based gym is idiot-proof so it's a very attractive model for the big commercial companies out there. This ,again, is a bad thing. Life is generally about moving external and internal loads rather than training to apply force using complex mechanics.

                And in response to the training for muscle mass thing - this makes you a body builder, one of the least athletic sporting individuals you can be. Every human should be interested in functional movement.
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                • #38
                  Since when were machines considered Primal? Freeweights are a bit closer, but nothing like that occurs in nature. I use KB's (to perpetuate the minimalist mindset), and run every so often (mostly brief warm-ups or my sprints). I think KB's, aside from rocks and bodyweight, are as close to primal as it gets, I mean the KB looks like a perfectly round rock (a bit of a stretch but makes sense?). Honestly I think freeweights are starting lean more towards the fad area of fitness, though I'm sure they'll be here for years to come due to the CW.

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by paleo_rob View Post
                    that boggles the mind. if you want to build mass, then you need to squat. take a look at Martin over at leangains.com
                    not a machine in site, he never trains to failure and i would say he is pretty buff.
                    +1million

                    They don't call the squat the king of exercises for nothing. Granted I suck at squating and am very strong in deadlifts but that doesn't keep me from doing them.

                    Also the whole bodybuilders not being athletic is such bullshit. Granted Jay Cutler and Ronnie Coleman may not be graceful beasts but my good friend is a professional natural bodybuilder and I say pick the fucking sport and he would woop your ass at it.
                    "Live Free or Die"

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                    • #40
                      There seems to be a lot of talk on "functional" muscle. How does one possess un-functional muscle?

                      I used the leg press machine the other day and I didn't feel the "function" leaving my body nor did it create muscle that wouldn't translate over to my sprints, squats, sandbag clean and press, etc.

                      They are all just modatilies to use to reach a goal.

                      Yesterday I did sandbag clean and press, weighted pullups and ring dips... didn't use either free weights or machines.
                      Where does that fall into this thread.

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Coach Palfrey View Post
                        And in response to the training for muscle mass thing - this makes you a body builder, one of the least athletic sporting individuals you can be. Every human should be interested in functional movement.
                        Don't confuse body building with anti-sarcopenic. I had never done any resistance training until a year and a half ago. It is safe to assume that from the age of 25- 30 I had lost anywhere from 15 - 30 pounds of muscle mass over the years. Lack of physical activity and in particular RT puts sarcopenia one of the major costs of health due to to its contribution to diabetes, heart disease etc.

                        It is that continued lack of muscle mass that puts our seniors in wheel chairs as they lose their lack of mobility.

                        It is my contention that the first priority is get the muscle mass up to a healthy standard. This can be done with machines. It is then necessary to improve function and leaast mobility to maintain a long and healthy life. Is it neccesary to do this with free weights? Is there not a better way?

                        Maybe there isn't. Maybe I should lift free weights during the week to improve function. This discussion has me rethinking this.

                        However as the McMaster study and other studies show to build muscle mass you need to train to positive failure. The gym I go to does not have a power cage or Smith machine. Therefore, I'll stick to machines for that part of my training.

                        It appears I'm the only one that likes machines. I 've explained why. When setting up this protocol I followed the advise of former U.S. Olympian Clarence Bass. (He was a weight lifter). He confirmed the reccomendations given by Phillips - Winnett.

                        "Here's what they suggest in a nutshell. (Bass' comment not mine.)

                        Their new model calls for an effort-based program with one set of 10-15 multiple muscle group exercises (for example, leg press, chest press, pulldown, overhead press) executed with good form. That’s it. Simple, effective, efficient, and calculated to keep people training—and liking it."
                        Last edited by Vick; 12-12-2010, 06:59 AM. Reason: typo

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by arthurb999 View Post
                          There seems to be a lot of talk on "functional" muscle. How does one possess un-functional muscle?

                          I used the leg press machine the other day and I didn't feel the "function" leaving my body nor did it create muscle that wouldn't translate over to my sprints, squats, sandbag clean and press, etc.

                          They are all just modatilies to use to reach a goal.

                          Yesterday I did sandbag clean and press, weighted pullups and ring dips... didn't use either free weights or machines.
                          Where does that fall into this thread.
                          Anywhere you want. I would certainly consider it part of resistance training and part of the discussion.

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by Vick View Post
                            Anywhere you want. I would certainly consider it part of resistance training and part of the discussion.
                            That's kind of the point I was trying to make... the machines vs barbell training...

                            there is no one "best" way.

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                            • #44
                              Here ya go, Vick: Testosterone Nation's latest article on hypertrophy. (BUILDING MUSCLE MASS).

                              http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_...mpaign=tnation

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by Bostonbully View Post
                                +1million

                                They don't call the squat the king of exercises for nothing. Granted I suck at squating and am very strong in deadlifts but that doesn't keep me from doing them.

                                Also the whole bodybuilders not being athletic is such bullshit. Granted Jay Cutler and Ronnie Coleman may not be graceful beasts but my good friend is a professional natural bodybuilder and I say pick the fucking sport and he would woop your ass at it.
                                When the champions in any sport have such problems with basic human movement then it's not out of the question to suggest that the training methods for that sport may be slightly flawed.

                                I don't know your friend and I doubt we'd ever have the chance to play sport together so it is a bit of a mute point but I'd suggest that he is the odd one out in the fraternity of bodybuilders. Most of the bodybuilders that I have known (and that includes many professionals as well) struggle to move at all outside of the gym.
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