Are Free Weights or Weight Machines Better?


The topic of free weights vs. weight machines in the bodybuilding community is pretty one-sided. When it comes to building muscle mass, are free weights like dumbbells and barbells better than weight lifting machines? Each of them has its advantages and disadvantages that you need to consider.

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Free weight Vs. weight machine

Advantages: Free Weight

  • Free Weights enable more synergistic use of muscles, which means that you can exercise more muscles at a time, and as a result, develop greater growth of muscle and strength.
  • You can refine your balance and coordination of muscles to balance the free weights while lifting them. It requires the recruitment of many muscles. It will lead to an improvement in your sense of balance and muscle coordination.
  • Free weights are practical and affordable. You do not need to attend a gym to get access to these weights, and free weights are a lot cheaper to purchase than weight lifting machines are.

Disadvantages: Free Weight

  • There is an increased risk of injury resulting from using the weights with the wrong technique and form or without a spotter.
  • Free Weights take up time as you need to carry the weights from one place to the other and the time required to adjust, increase, and decrease the weights.

Advantages: Weight Machines

  • Weight Machines are well suited to beginners as they are user-friendly and have a fixed range of motion. It means that someone new to bodybuilding does not need to worry about lifting a weight the right way to target a muscle group.
  • They are simple and straightforward to use and usually come with instructions.
  • Weight Machines are safe, and there isn’t the risk of weights falling on you during a lift.
  • They enable you to work out separate muscle groups and let your other muscles rest simultaneously.

Disadvantages: Weight Machines

  • The first disadvantage of weight machines is an increased risk of injury as they have a fixed range of motion. The continuous workout will cause stress on the joints, muscles, and tendons as you are lifting in a fixed course.
  • As they separate the muscle groups, you’re working out. Primarily the target muscle groups will only benefit from a single workout, resulting in a slower and less balanced muscle-building process.
  • As weight machines come with a fixed setup, your workout will not fit your body frame and build. Whether you have a small or large figure, narrow or broad shoulders, you will be working out with the same range and motion and measure of grip. It increases the chances of injury and poorly developing your muscles.

So, free weight or weight machine?

So, when it comes to free weights vs. weight machines, which one is best for building bigger muscles that are well balanced? It appears that free weights are superior to weight machines when it comes to building muscles quicker. But, as both free weights and weight machines have their advantages and disadvantages, you can consider and compare them to decide for yourself whether you’re going to use a machine or free weights for your workouts, or use them both, to meet your individual needs.

Pratyaksha Agarwal
I am a fitness enthusiast and gym junkie who spend not more than 1hr a day working out. I believe sufficient workouts with proper nutrition can render an impressive ripped body.