Last Updated on June 10, 2016 by Michael Brockbank
There are several significant differences when using a weight machine as opposed to free weights. One of the most apparent of differences is that of leverage. Using weight machines gives you the ability to process more weight with less effort. For example, you’ll put in far more physical effort to lift 40 pound dumbbells 20 times than you would if you used a bicep curl machine for the same weight and repetitions.
Why Should You Use a Weight Machine?
Weight machines do offer a few benefits. Not only do they contribute to strengthening and toning muscles, but they can also help you lose weight faster. It’s not necessarily the number of pounds your lifting, but more of the act of lifting it. Like the adage goes for toning muscles, “less weight, more repetition.”
For myself, I really don’t have much of a choice in the matter. It was cheaper to join the rec center, which only has weight machines and a few dumbbells – all less than 12 pounds each. However, we also have access to a swimming pool and racket ball court. Sometimes, you just don’t have the options that bigger facilities offer.
Most machines help guide you through a safer workout by positioning your body for optimal performance. The seats, arms and ropes are all designed to focus on specific muscle groups while making it a much more comfortable workout. For example, the machine fly that I enjoy doing positions your back and legs properly – which relieves unnecessary strain on your spine.
Building Muscle Through Weight Machines
Since I’ve been on my health kick recently, I’ve noticed a significant difference in the development of my arms. My wife thinks they are coming along nicely. Personally, I can see the definition and the size. The majority of this was done through the use of the weight machine bicep curl and triceps extension.
There is also a difference in the amount of time I can sustain lifting weight. When using the machines, I don’t get tired as fast and can put in more consecutive sets. Even though the pulleys reduce the amount of physical strain on the body, it helps you keep moving for a longer duration – which feeds into calorie burn and weight loss. Instead of a 25 minute workout before getting exhausted, I can go for up to 45 minutes.
It All Depends On Your Personal Goals
I don’t want to bulk up and look like a body builder. I simply want to lose the weight and add strength to my body. For this purpose, the machine weights are all that I truly need. If you want to sculpt and transform yourself, you may have better luck using traditional weights.
This isn’t saying that machine weights are not as productive as traditional styles. In fact, I know plenty of people who turned themselves into ripped monsters using machines for the majority of their workout. Regardless of methods, any weight resistance to your muscles will build and tone them. It’s all about what you want to accomplish as the end result.
Before you look down on machines, bare in mind that they are usually a much safer alternative and help put your body in the optimum postures. They can be quite beneficial, especially if you’ve never lifted weights before in the past. I would suggest starting with the machines and get used to lifting before you grad a barbell or the heavier dumbbells.