Thanks everyone for your responses! Archimedes, I actually never thought about how the weight machines worked and that is why I can lift more weight with them.
Fitness Minutes: (3,029)
162 2/17/14 9:28 A
Before I fell off the Spark Wagon so to speak I was working out religiously. I was doing a lot of cardio along with running through the circuit (machines). I alternated days and what parts of my body I was concentrating on to allow for adequate recovery time. After a while I was feeling pretty good and was losing lots of weight. I had always been intimidated by free weights but decided that it was time to mix things up. I began to mix free weights into my routine. I am glad that I did this as free weights defined my body in a way that machines never did. Hopefully I can make a comeback. So my advise would be to use what you are comfortable with. Both have their advantages. or
My girlfriend and I use free weights because we don't belong to a gym but if we did she likes the machines because she's intimidated using free weights with all the grunting testosterone filled braggadocio male types that usually use the free weights at the gym.
Fitness Minutes: (9,779)
1,351 2/17/14 6:05 A
I have done free weights for a year now so today I went to the gym and used the machines. I prefer free weights. I like them so much better. But it was nice to use them as I can tell that I am stronger than I thought.
Fitness Minutes: (300,335)
3,775 2/16/14 1:49 P
Fitness Minutes: (220,317)
30,521 2/15/14 6:07 P
I don't mind either except when I have to rack and unrack. It helps to workout with a friend who will do that for you.
Fitness Minutes: (36,342)
2,545 2/15/14 5:57 P
Thank you Archimedes! That was what I wanted to say about the leverage etc and just couldn't get my brain to spit out the concepts! And Sheryl, I think your right, that we engage more muscles with the free weights.
I'm up to 8 pound weights, slowly increasing reps. I am still using my 5 pounders and doing 5 sets of 10 reps of 10 different exercises. I can really feel the difference of the extra 3 pounds.
I prefer machines but I think they both have potential for error. If you use free weights and your form is wrong, you can hurt yourself. If you use a machine and you use weights too heavy, you can hurt yourself. I was once told, free weights engage more muscles.
Fitness Minutes: (296,823)
2/15/14 5:26 P
I prefer free weights.
Here's the dirty little secret about the machines, they do help a person lift more weight using mechanical advantage i.e. levers and pulleys. So, yes, a person can lift more when they are on a machine. However, for a greater challenge, a person should use free weights because you don't have that mechanical advantage helping you lift the weight. You have to use your muscles to work against gravity.
If you're not comfortable using free weights, you might check your gym schedule for a group weight training class called Body Pump. If your gym doesn't have Pump, it probably has some other type of group weight training or boot camp class. Take one of those classes. you will learn how to use free weights if you're not comfortable with them.
Don't be afraid to lift a heavy weight, you will not look like a body builder if you do. That's a misconception. Women do not pack on weight the same way men do.
How much weight can you lift ? Do you have a gym bag or hand bag that you carry around all day ? weigh it. I've seen women lugging around bags that must easily weigh 10+ pounds. If you can carry your bag, that's how much weight you can use for a free weight.
If you don't like free weights, consider using resistance bands. Resistance bands are another good way to strength train.
I try to avoid the machines and use a combination of free weight, barbells and resistance bands. I will occasionally use the cable machines. You may want to consider using those because a cable machine will allow for a greater range of motion when you perform the action.
Fitness Minutes: (36,342)
2,545 2/15/14 4:32 P
Since I work out at home I only use free weights. When I used to go to the gym I was "afraid" of the weight room and used machines.
I think I work out harder with the lighter free weights than I did with the machines. It seemed easier with the machines to lift more and do more reps but I feel it more with the free weights.
2/15/14 4:22 P
When lifting weights, which do you prefer.... free weights or weight machines? If I do free weights, I don't lift as much weight than if I do the weight machines at the gym.
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