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Machines Versus Free Weights



  1. They are great for beginners because they are safe and easy to use.
  2. Machines guide your body through a certain range of motion.
  3. You don't have to worry about balancing the weight as much as with free weights.
  4. Machines don't require as much coordination.
  5. Machines isolate each muscle group.
  6. Machines let you get in a fast workout. You go through a circuit of machines and then you are finished.
  7. Machines are usually arranged so that you work large muscle groups and then smaller muscle groups.


  1. Machines don't fit everybody. They can be hard to adjust.
  2. Machines don't build as much balance or coordination.
  3. Machines can put your body into a bad range of motion. (If you feel uncomfortable move onto another machine)
  4. Machines are not portable. They can't be moved around very easily.
  5. Many trainers (including me) believe that working out with machines alone doesn't build a very good (lean, strong, flexible) body.

    Free Weights


  1. Free weights are versatile. One set of dumbells can be used for many exercises.
  2. Free weights build better balance and coordination.
  3. Free weights work your muscles in a way that matches real life.
  4. Many trainers primarily use free weights to gain strength while maintaining flexibility and agility.
  5. Free weights allow you to strengthen muscles and tendons that wouldn't get much work when using machines.
  6. Free weights are easier and cheaper to do at home.


  1. Free weights can be difficult to learn because of the balance and coordination required.
  2. A free weight workout can take longer than a machine workout.
  3. You can get injured easier using free weights.

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All images and text Copyright J Slemmer 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009
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