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jor012
02-03-2012, 09:19 AM
Hi everyone..My first question has to do with free weights vs cable or machines. First of all I'm a huge advocate of free weights, by balancing the weight it's as if each rep is unique etc. But I'm begining to wonder how much of a difference it makes when performing pull movements. I mean are we really balancing anything? Is there much of a difference in using a cable to row vs. a barbell? Hammer strength row vs. cable? I've tried using hammer strength machines ocasionally for pressing and found I really don't like it and prefer free weights but I still like using them on every 4th or 5th back workout.

HairyScandinavian
02-03-2012, 09:38 AM
Hi everyone..My first question has to do with free weights vs cable or machines. First of all I'm a huge advocate of free weights, by balancing the weight it's as if each rep is unique etc. But I'm begining to wonder how much of a difference it makes when performing pull movements. I mean are we really balancing anything? Is there much of a difference in using a cable to row vs. a barbell? Hammer strength row vs. cable? I've tried using hammer strength machines ocasionally for pressing and found I really don't like it and prefer free weights but I still like using them on every 4th or 5th back workout.

Everything has it's place. I like to do a primary exercise with free weights and follow up with a machine with a complimentary movement. I don't know how others will feel, but in my mind free weights and gravity make for more natural movements for your body, more natural lifting forces and secondary muscle group recruitment, etc.

IronCharles
02-03-2012, 10:17 AM
The muscle has no eyes or brain, and doesn't know what you're trying to move. All it knows is to contract, and then relax, until the body part being worked is moved to the desired point in it's natural range of motion. The differences in using free weights over machines are are (a): you become stronger in that particular free weight motion (assuming you are using an effective progressive resistance method), and (b): you are more able to take complete focus away from the actual muscle being trained, and add more of your energy to the surrounding muscles which help in stabilizing the load on all axis other than the intended plane of travel.

CookAndrewB
02-03-2012, 12:58 PM
Machines and free weights are both tools, nothing more or less. Anyone placing a value judgement on these tools has an axe to grind, a very specific goal, or is just parroting something they heard.

I don't use many machines, but I have a pretty specific goal (compete as a strongman). For someone interested in bodybuilding, I would suggest that machines become far more viable and perhaps even superior to free weights in some cases. For someone that is looking for general health, I would tell them not to reject the use of any tools they have available to them.

The one thing that you need to be mindful of is that machines can (not "do" but "can") lock your joints into a predetermined path that they are not built for. Most of the better made machines (Hammer strenght) allow for an individual to adjust for a more natural movement pattern, but not all do. That would be my only caution for machines.

... Of course free weights allow you to do some truly baffling crap too :D

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JOHN GARGANI
02-03-2012, 01:32 PM
IF I were a mod here, I would simply close the thread after this statement by Cook:


Machines and free weights are both tools, nothing more or less. Anyone placing a value judgement on these tools has an axe to grind, a very specific goal, or is just parroting something they heard.


case closed...end of any argument.....

the rest of his post is excellent also...