Free weights are synonymous with professional body builders., there is of course some truth to this as most if not all professional body builders use the majority of their time lifting free weights with some machines used to target specific muscle groups. This does not mean of course they cannot be used by beginners, intermediates, males, females, young and old and any where in between.
Lifting free weights is one of the most popular ways of building strength,muscle mass, develop speed, improve flexibility, balance and fitness and generally keeping you in great shape. Also a great way for athletes to improve performance in their desired sport.
So what are “free weights”? Equipment that isÂ classed as free weights isÂ a dumbbell, barbell, kettlebell, medicine ball, wearable weight or your own body, they can be adjustable or fixed in weight. They come in all shapes and sizes can be made of metal or cement, they are sometimes bare metal or surrounded or coated with rubber. In short, a free weight is a a weight that can be held or worn and is notÂ limited by any range of motion.
Now let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of buying weights as opposed to machines. This debate has been raging for years and my personal preference are weights but machines can also be very useful in targeting specific muscle groups or in rehabilitation.
- Does not require a spotter and areÂ very supportive
- Easy to use
- Saves time
- Better for isolation exercises
- Too supportive, doesn’t work out the secondary muscles
- Limited in range and movement
- Can develop weaknesses over time
- Are generally more expensive
- Have a shorter life span as they a prone to break downs
- Versatile, can be used for an almost unlimited range of movements and exercises
- Are moved with the natural movement of the body
- Burn higher calories as more muscles are used
- Allow for smaller weight change increments
- Involve more muscle fibres
- Harder to use
- Take longer to complete a workout
- Higher risk of injury if correct posture is not used
- Spotters are required
- Some muscles cannot be targeted properly i,e knee extensions.
As you can see from the above lists there are pros and cons for both arguments, it usually comes down to personal preference and no matter what option you take just take action and start. Another option if your still not sure, is to join a gym and take one of those trial options for a few weeks and actually try out the different equipment, gym’s usually have plenty of machines and free weights to choose from. Talk to people and the gym and get their opinions on what they use and why or better still read what IronDog and Dog Pound have to say about which is better. Anyway hope that gives you some more information, in the coming weeks I’ll have more on gym routines, supplements and the different types of weights that can be obtained.