Free Weights vs. Weight Machines - Sears
|Free range of motion||Controlled motion|
|Weight changes can be fast or slow||Weight changes are often rapid|
|Multiple muscles are worked together||Muscles are worked in isolation|
Advantages of Free Weights
- Lower cost - Free weight sets are often much less expensive than machines, and you can also buy individual pieces and slowly grow your collection over time to avoid a large up-front expense.
- Free range of motion - Since you are not controlled by the cables and bars of a machine, you can move more naturally and comfortably.
- Efficiency - With an expanded range of motion, you can perform compound movements that strenghten the whole body.
Limitations of Free Weights
- Higher injury risk - Without a machine to guide your motions, there are more ways to incorrectly perform moves and potentially injure yourself.
- Spotter - Many movements, such as bench press and squats, you may require a spotter when trying to hit heavier weights.
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Advantages of Weight Machines
- Isolates muscle groups - Weight machines are designed to work a specific muscle or muscle group, so you can focus your workout on a target area as well as avoid working muscle groups that are hurt or susceptible to injury.
- Lower injury risk - While injury is always a possibility, you are less likely to hurt yourself due to improper equipment use with the controlled motions of a weight machine than with free weights.
- Fast weight changes - If you need to change the weight that you're lifting, you can easily change it by switching the settings on the machine instead of swapping plates around.
Limitations of Weight Machines
- Higher cost - Weight machines are often significantly more expensive than free weights.
- Controlled motion - Since you're being guided through motions, you don't get the added benefit of working additional muscle groups.
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