I notice that a lot of people stick to weight machines rather than learning how to use free weights because they believe that the machines will correct their form and insure that they don’t hurt themselves. On the surface this makes sense, right? I mean, why would companies invest so much money developing these machines if they are not better than free weights?
The truth is that this myth actually puts you at a higher risk of injury. There are tons of ways you can use a weight machine that can damage your muscles and joints, from height and length adjustments, using weights that are too heavy to using the wrong muscle groups to pull or push. I personally have seen many people injure themselves using machines because the body cannot adjust itself if the angle of your arm or leg is even one centimeter off.
When you use free weights, your body and joints are constantly adjusting themselves to find the best position to push or pull the weight. Finally, when you are using free weights, you are working very important tiny muscles called “stabilizer muscles” which are used to stabilize the weight and your body to lift the weight. These muscles are not used while using machines because everything is already stabilized for you in the machine. You can lift all the weights in a machine, but once you go to lift a free weight, you will find yourself either unable or struggling to life it.
I am not saying that you should totally disregard machines, but you shouldn’t rely on them for your whole workout regime. Try to mix it up a bit, and leave one or two machine exercises for the end with light weight. If you are just starting to train, it is best that you start off with free weights in order to build a good solid foundation. Whether you do free weights or machines, make sure you have a qualified trainer show you the ropes before you get started!
About the Guest Writer:
Suheil Al-Tayea is a qualified personal trainer and sports nutritionist and a graduate from Heriot-Watt University. Suheil posts a lot of health tips on his instagram (trainerq8) if anyone’s interested. He will be posting a lot of healthy related posts and tackling myth fitness routines.