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Machines or Free-weights: All You Need to Know

When you’re new to the gym, then it’s very normal you have quite a few questions about machines or free-weights. However, free weights are the most efficient instruments for stimulating muscle growth. Machines can still have a place in your exercise routine. A lot of hardcore lifters of the old school will claim that free weights are the only way to pack serious muscle and that machines are a waste of time.

Free Weights

Free Weights include dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, and anything you can keep and pick up. They make your body function against gravity. You may need a bench to sit on or lie on for certain exercises, or other facilities such as a squat cage to operate with the weight (1).


Machines include anything you are sitting in or on while pulling or pushing a lever through a particular movement range. A leg extension machine, for instance, or a pressing machine for the chest. However, the specificity of machines is not always a poor thing. You will work your quads, but you’ve already done a set of squats and your hips and key stabilizing muscles are already tired.

You can sit on a leg extension or press the leg press and work the quads on their own. At the end of a gym session, bodybuilders sometimes use machines to target particular muscles. While someone can agree that free-weight compound exercises are the most efficient lifts that can be performed in the gym.

The reality of the matter is that there are many instruments that will boost muscle growth both inside and outside the gym. The point I’m attempting to create is that it does not restrict the use of traditional barbells and dumbbells to muscle growth. Again, I agree that basic free-weight exercises should be the cornerstone of any effective lifting routine and that their overall effect on muscle growth and overall body anabolism can not be substituted.

They are the hardest to conduct and will produce the body’s biggest possible adaptive response. Increasing your weight and reps will be your primary focus in the gym in the large muscle group lifts, such as squats and deadlifts. Some machine exercises, however, are efficient and will have a tiny place in your workout routine.

Terms of Use: The information on this website is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to provide personal medical advice. If you have questions about a medical condition, consult your doctor or another qualified health provider. Never ignore professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website. The Nutrition Source on this website makes no product recommendations or endorsements.

Naeem Durrani BSc
I am a freelance health and wellness writer. My interests include medical research, and the scientific evidence around effective wellness practices, which empower people to transform their lives.

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