Everybody asks this question. Either the first time they walk into a gym and see the selections or at some point they wonder if the bench press machine is better than the regular flat bench press with free weights. I was a machine person for quite some time…then it hit me!
Why not incorporate a little bit of both! That’s right…there’s not some rule that says if you use a machine you will never get the results you want. And there’s no rule that says you must only use free weights.
Fact is…. By doing a little bit of both for certain exercises, you will target various areas. Let’s take the bicep curl as an example.
There you are with the straight bar. Working your biceps. But really, you are working a lot more. Your forearms are being stimulated. Your shoulders are taking some weight, and you’ll notice your abs are tight as they stabilize your body. So doing a bicep free weight curl entails a little more than just a bicep workout.
Compare that to the preacher curl machines. You are sitting down. There are no legs involved. Your abs really aren’t that tense. And there’s much more direct focus on the muscle.
Truthfully, you are not alone in asking this question. By incorporating machines and free weights you can target a muscle group and isolate it while doing some compound movements to hit the entire body.
Bottom line is, there is no better than. If you only do free weights, you are missing out on a vital component of variety. If you only do machines, you are forgetting about the all important but hidden stabilizer muscles that help balance you. By combining both, you can get the best of both worlds and a super varied workout.