using free weights engages more and different muscle fibers to control balance and direction of the lift, while the machines do a lot of the work of controlling the balance and direction of the lift.
Kinda like doing stuff on one of those balls. extra muscles come in to play in order to maintain balance and control.
I generally use free weights for upper body stuff, and the machines for variety. I can lift more weight using the machines, but it is, as you have discovered, not as intense a workout.
I like to use the machines for leg-work, though, because I am heavy and have iffy knees, and the leg-press, for example, gives me more control than doing free squats. Also more options. I can do many reps at a lighter weight, give the muscles a good workout without crippling myself.
Whether using hand weights or machines, the most important factor is proper form and control.
current weight: 248.0
Fitness Minutes: (750) Posts: 34 7/3/11 11:05 A
I just joined a gym. Prior to this I was using hand weights and a weight bench at home. I've noticed when I use the machines at the gym I'm putting forth as much effort as I can, but am barely sore the next day. When I used hand weights my muscles felt more during recovery. It was "good pain" and not debilitating in any way, just the type of sore you can expect from a good workout. Why is this and am I better off sticking with my hand weight routine even at the gym?
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