Free Weights vs Machines


No matter which personal trainer in El Paso with whom you have this conversation, his/her bias for one over the other will become apparent in a short amount of time. While we all have our own opinions, I try to steer away from over-simplifying things as one method of fitness training as being “better” or “worse” than the other because the types of exercise differ for individuals seeking weight loss or overall fitness improvement.

Personally, as a former athlete and promoter of functional training, which I regularly apply to my personal training clients, I make no secret that I have a strong preference towards free weights. However, if I was working with a client who is specifically training for a bodybuilding or physique competition in El Paso, I would gladly implement machine training to target the specific muscles that need the most improvement. The reason for this is that bodybuilding and physique competitors are judged harshly for the slightest asymmetries, so machine exercises are quite useful in balancing out those asymmetries.

My reasoning for supporting free weights in my personal training philosophy has much to do with my sincere desire for improving longevity for all of my clients and increasing the rate of weight loss. With free weights, my fitness clients must put in more focus in improving their technique, as well as their balance. For example, when comparing a back squat with the leg press, an individual has to focus on a large number of things to prevent him/herself from falling down, but, in a leg press, the person is merely laying down and only has to focus on pushing the weights away from their body. While the leg press exercise is more effective in producing leg strength, there is no way that one would be able to back squat the same amount of weight because so many variables are involved.

Because I promote improved longevity for my personal training clients, free weights are more effective tools. When using free weights, core muscles and stabilizer muscles are activated in ways that many machine exercises cannot, and that is what makes it my preferred method for weight loss clients. Additionally, one stands to benefit from improving balance, as well as ligament strength, which is especially effective in reducing the risk of injury. However, if a person has a pre-existing injury to disallows him/her from certain free weight exercises, there is definitely nothing wrong with machine exercises.

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