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Free Weights vs. Machines

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  1. #1
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    Post Free Weights vs. Machines

    I have heard several times that free weights are better for muscle growth than lever or smith machines. However, I would like to know and understand the physiology of why this is so. What advantages does bench pressing on free weights have over bench pressing on a lever, smith, or hammerstrength machine, if any?

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    The physiology behind it? Ok then...

    With most machines the point where the muscle is contracting with the most force is in the peak contracted position (i.e. the end of the movement, or top). The problem with this is, that the muscles optimal range for producing force is the "relaxed" position (i.e. as you sit there with your arms hanging down at your side your pecs are in their optimal position for producing force, another way to demonstrate this it to lay on the floor in a bench press postion and lower until your arms hit the floor...this is also optimal just in a different ROM.

    Another factor that won't contribute much in most exercises but may be a factor in some (like a squat VS leg press or extension) is neuroendocrinology or the hormonal response. The more complex and exhausting the exercise the more of a hormonal response is created - specifically testosterone and HGH. Although the effect is short lived it does have some long term effects such as: satellite cell proliferation and differentiation which means more nuclei and thus more protein synthesis and that of course means more muscle growth. Also, the testosterone reslease duringn the exercise will help prevent the post-workout muscle catabolism due to cortisol and such.

    Then there is the stabilizer factor. If you do all machines you will develop weak stabilizers and in the real world we don't use machines to do all of our movements so this could set you up for muscle imblances and possibly injury.

    There are three negatives of machines, anyway.

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  3. #3
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    well, the machines hold back resistance from the weight you are moving. with free weights, youre taking on the full weight...theres no rails, cables ect..or anything thats slidding up and down thats holding the plates. so doin free weights youre the only thing thats controling the weight which also means you gain strength from balanceing/stablizing the weight.
    ......

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    With free weight you are alway using secondary muscles to stabalize the weight. There is no machine to help you. Machines are good for isolating a muscle group but can not replace compound movements, such as bench press, squats or deads.

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    Just out of curiousity...if one person was to work out on free weights for life and someone else was to use machines for life...what kind of body would the person on machines have?

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    muscle= train,eat,sleep!
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    imo.....not as big as the free weight one. true free weights isolate better, but i think that is what interferes with the benifit of free weights...resistance.
    if you have correct form, then thats good enough to build, plus ya can use abit more weight...you'd also get stronger overall..

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    Sandwich, if machines isolate the muscle better how to they provide less resistance to the target muscle?

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    <FONT COLOR="#000002" SIZE="1" FACE="Verdana, Arial">[Edited 1 time by TheSupremeBeing on 07-18-2001 at 05:51 PM]</font>

  8. #8
    muscle= train,eat,sleep!
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    well they dont allow youre muscle to stabilize or balance the weight being moved. it does that for you....this is important, esp for building strength.

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    Stabilization is a function of different muscles than the target. For instance, the chest doesn't stabilize during the bench press, the rotators, rear delts and lats do.

    IMO, if muscle growth of a specific part is your goals then performing isolation exercises is the best way to build this muscle.

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    muscle= train,eat,sleep!
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    i agree, which is why i stated "correct form", but no one is gonna tell me that using machines will build better muscle than free weights doin the same movement.(..imo..)


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    I agree, I misinterpreted your original statement. I got the impression that you were saying a pec deck flye would be worse for the pecs than a bench press. My bad.



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  12. #12
    muscle= train,eat,sleep!
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    ...cool. u gots fine knowledge.


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    Why does the following website have no difference on stabilizing or any other muscles used between free weight exercises and machine exercises? For example, check out the muscles used list for the bench press on the barbell vs. lever machine. There is no difference! I thought machines do not use stabilizing muscles like free weights.
    http://www.exrx.net/Lists/Directory.html

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    I couldn t say why, but I prefer free weights over machines...although I combine both...
    I get different feeling and soreness with free w, I do flat BB bench press, Inclinepress
    and crossovers....and machine dips...

    I haven t found Peck deck to do me as good as this four...

    I noticed great difference between smith squats and free BB squats...with same weight free w ones were harder to performe

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    I incorporate both machines and free weights into my work-outs.

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  16. #16
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    Originally posted by The Rose:
    Why does the following website have no difference on stabilizing or any other muscles used between free weight exercises and machine exercises? For example, check out the muscles used list for the bench press on the barbell vs. lever machine. There is no difference! I thought machines do not use stabilizing muscles like free weights.
    If you're doing a bench press on the Smith machine you're using the same muscles as if you were using a bar, yes, but.....you are using the satbilizer muscles to such a small extent with the machine that they may as well not even be mentioned. OK, they are pictured on the website as being used, fine, but does it say to what extent they are being used? No. Everything is not perfectly black and white. What we're trying to tell you is that freeweights are FAR superior to machines becasue the stabilizer muscles are used to a MUCH GREATER extent.



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    I like machines and free weights,,,I do like machines for presses,,not better,,,just different

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