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Machines or free weights?

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  1. #1
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    Machines or free weights?






    I talked to a competitive lifter at my gym after watching him using alot of machines. He told me on his heaviest days he uses machines because he can load it up with an insane amount of weight that couldn't be lifted if you had to balance it too. I watched him do a shoulder workout on an overhead press machine and he had (4) 45 lb plates on each side.

    Do you guys get great results with machines?

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    Free weights are better in every way....safer and better for building up size and strength. I think using some Machines is ok but 75%+ of your workout should be free weights.
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    Depends on what the movement is, my mood, yada yada. I dont use 100% of either. On some level using machines, especially exclusively is non-athletic. Building stabalizer muscles is important.

    That said, I see all kinds of weaklings pushing 3 plates on the Hammer bench stuff. It may look impressive to someone who doesn't know better, but just because you can lift more by removing stabalizers doesn't mean its a better movement IMO.

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    ofcourse he could load on the plates...he's working on a fixed plane taking his stabilizer muscles out of the equation entirely. free weights are superior no matter how you slice it. machines can cause imbalances and lead to injury. a few machines have their place (ie. cable machines which IMO are still closer to the free weight side than some heinous piece of equipment like the smith).
    Some people get lost in thought because it's such unfamiliar territory. -G. Behn

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    unless you have a reason to be on a machine, like re-hab for an injury or coming off of surgery, you really should get off the machines. Free weights are hands down the best.
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    Quote Originally Posted by P-funk
    unless you have a reason to be on a machine, like re-hab for an injury or coming off of surgery,.





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    Patrick
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    yea, it sucks. i know.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert DiMaggio
    Some people get lost in thought because it's such unfamiliar territory. -G. Behn

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Tuvre, USA
    because he can load it up with an insane amount of weight that couldn't be lifted if you had to balance it too.
    something to be said about functional strength.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by P-funk
    unless you have a reason to be on a machine, like re-hab for an injury or coming off of surgery, you really should get off the machines. Free weights are hands down the best.
    Do you think this applies to things like leg press, hyper extensions, glute-ham raise etc? This is of course along with free-weight squats/front squats/deadlifts etc.

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    I have actually had just as good progression (numbers) from some machines as free weights but a 50lbs progression on smith benching wont be the same as 50lb progession on barbell benching, its easier to get the numbers up on machines because it is "easier" so dont expect your actual body to become as big/strong as it could be if you just do machines.

    Although machines can be better for certain muscle groups when balance becomes an issue i.e. the calf raise, you dont really want to stand with a heavy bar on your back and balance while reping out calf raises, or they can help if you are working around an injury, beyond this I dont see any benifit over free weights.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Seanp156
    Do you think this applies to things like leg press, hyper extensions, glute-ham raise etc? This is of course along with free-weight squats/front squats/deadlifts etc.
    glute-ham raise and hypers aren't really a machine to me because you still are moving your body (in this case your torso) through a free motion....it is not bound in. Now, the hyperextension benches that they used to have where you lie your back against a board sitting upright (kind of like sitting in a chair) and push back against it while it is resisted by plates is a different story.

    I don't use the leg press for myself. Occasionally I will use it with clients as a change of pace or with people who need to work on hip strength (especially coming back from injury). But in general i don't use it at all.
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    Machines may give a further variety of exercise for either shocking a muscle or as previously mentioned when you may have been injured before and can't go too crazy. Bottom line for me though, is simply free weights are harder and machines are easier. Free weights for me involve everything to put in an effort, machines help you by giving your body the luxury for not putting in all that effort. As I said already, easier. Luxury shouldn't be an issue in lifting, its always got to be hard work. I only use machines for the odd ego boost, but then its back to the fact I know im cheating myself/taking the easier route. I take the weight down abit and do it hardcore style, ha.

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    Quote Originally Posted by P-funk
    I don't use the leg press for myself. Occasionally I will use it with clients as a change of pace or with people who need to work on hip strength (especially coming back from injury). But in general i don't use it at all.
    Hey P, Is it worth IYO doing heavy squats followed by heavy leg presses or is that really just over exercising a mass technique? Thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mags
    Hey P, Is it worth IYO doing heavy squats followed by heavy leg presses or is that really just over exercising a mass technique? Thanks

    Like I said, I don't really ever use the leg press. But, doing the leg press heavy in my past experience has never led to anything but back pains. I am not a fan of pressing in that prone position.
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    okay, but I meant is it worth doing them on the same workout or is it wasting time/energy doing two exercises that arguably just do the same thing? An example being squats then straight into hacks instead of leg press. Thanks again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mags
    okay, but I meant is it worth doing them on the same workout or is it wasting time/energy doing two exercises that arguably just do the same thing? An example being squats then straight into hacks instead of leg press. Thanks again.

    oh. No, I don't think it is bad neccessarily. I just don't do it. If I did squats I would follow them up with either a hamstring dominant exercise (RDL) or a unilateral quad exercise (lunges). but that is just me. you could certainly use the leg press if you want.
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  18. #18
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    I don't use any machines.
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    Most people use them at some point, even if its just for calves, or even hamstrings, lats, abs and so on. I dont swear against them, but for most of the big movements I dont use them.

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    Variety is the spice. Machines can provide angles of attack freeweights can't and vice versa. You want to shock the muscles every time you go to the gym. Changing the type of exercise, amount of reps, weight, cadence, etc. Machines provide a different type of stress. Take the routine out of workouts and you'll change more. Use everything the gym has to offer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jasone
    Variety is the spice. Machines can provide angles of attack freeweights can't and vice versa. You want to shock the muscles every time you go to the gym. Changing the type of exercise, amount of reps, weight, cadence, etc. Machines provide a different type of stress. Take the routine out of workouts and you'll change more. Use everything the gym has to offer.
    it is not necessary to use machines to shock muscles. i don't agree with "use everything the gym has to offer"...the smith and many other machines are worthless IMO.
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  22. #22
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    Freeweights have so many advantages over machines it is ridiculous. They are more functional, they involve more musculature, they are more metabolic, and I think they are safer.

    That is not to say that machines don't have their place. I tend to use machines a little more when I am using the Westside template because it is already incredibly stressful on the nervous system. I try to refrain from killing it by including some machine movements, which are a little easier on the nervous system. However, I do try to make sure the core of my routine is freeweight movements, and I use a lot of cable equipment for machine movements beacuse you are not working on a fixed plane.
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