Free Weights or Weight Machines?

19 September, 2012

Both options build muscles. However, free weights (barbells and dumbbells) help you work on balance. Weight machines, on the other hand, can reduce the risk of injury from poor form. Here's why

Free Form or Injury-Free?

Lifting free weights can work your arms, chest, legs, and shoulders, but it also engages foundation muscles in your torso (the ones that give you good posture and balance) because your body has to work to steady the weights as well as lift them. Are you losing your balance? Take the quick balance test in this article.

Using static weight machines doesn't engage your stability muscles the same way. However, weight machines can help reduce your chances of overstretching a muscle or joint because they're built to guide your motions.

So weigh your risks (prone to injuries?) and goals (to build muscle, balance, or both?) before lifting weights.

SOURCES: YOU: On a Diet. Roizen, M. F., Oz, M. C., New York: Simon & Schuster, 2006. The RealAge Workout: Maximum Health, Minimum Work. Roizen, M. F., Hafen, T., New York: HarperCollins, 2006.

« previous post   |   next post »