Free Weights vs Machine Weights

There is a reason it is getting harder to find a gym full of Nautilus machines and it’s easier to find an old warehouse space filled with free weights.


Advantages of Free Weights

  1. Provides the ability to perform multi-joint or single joint exercises

  2. Extremely versatile allowing you to perform a large variety of exercises

  3. Ability to replicate natural and sport specific movements

  4. Provide the ability to apply greater mechanical specificity

  5. Allows for greater ability perform specific tasks and to target specific muscular activation patterns

  6. Allows you to target more muscle groups per exercises leading to higher metabolic rates

  7. Moving in three-dimensions allows a greater enhancement of proprioception

  8. Multi-joint/multi-muscle movements allow for higher training intensity

  9. Provides greater ability to manipulate loading

Advantages of Machine Weights

  1. Easier to use when beginning weight training

  2. Less technique required using guided ranges of motion

  3. Less coordination and ability is required

  4. Ability to isolate specific muscle groups

Disadvantages of Free Weights

  1. Time to master technique is slower for beginners

  2. Certain technique requires professional instruction

  3. Some movements require spotters for safety concerns

  4. Requires a higher level of neuromuscualar coordination

Disadvantages of Machine Weights

  1. Machines do not accommodate all sizes of people

  2. Movement is restricted to the machines path

  3. Exercise selection and variety is limited and based on the machines available

  4. Limited ability to adjust mechanical load

  5. Restricted to a single movement plane

  6. Lack ability to use explosive of accelerated movements (except Keiser or similar)

  7. Workouts are restricted to equipment available and not easily transported