Free Weights vs. Machines

I prefer to use free weights just starting out. Do you think using free weights only is ok? I’m using Massive Eating principles and have made a routine compiled from T-mag articles on every body part.

They variety available with free weights is unbelievable. I think that there are a few specialized machines that are worthwhile, but not completely necessary (i.e. low and high cable pully, reverse hyper, and maybe some others that are nice). In general, 99 - 100% of the time you can have an excellent program with free weights only.

Thanks for the reply.

I think free weights offer better full range of motion and some machines don’t, do you agree?

Free weights also help develop your stabilizer muscles. Machines are great for isolating a particular muscle group, but I only use them after using core exercises using free weights. I used to use machines but have “seen the light” :-)… -Eric

The majority of your gains during the first 6 weeks (or so) of resistance training will come from developing neuromuscular efficiency. Obviously, other adaptations will occur, but this is dominant. Free weights are the way to go. They will allow you to develop more stability and coordination while taking better advantage of the inherent strength increases. I will never understand why trainers will start people on machines until they “get used” to weight training. IMO, they haven’t gotten used to crap! They’ve just been held back from where they could be. The guys here at T-mag do a great job of providing information and alternatives for weight training (and diet, and supplementation, and cardio, and…). Stick with them, and stick with free weights! Welcome to “Irondom”.


Actually, I do solely free weight training, but I would like to add a low pulley for seated cable rows (I find them more beneficial than bent-over rows, as I can do them with more intensity). No worries.

I’ve got a Power Rack with a chin bar, lat pull and low pulley, a set of olympic weights, powerblocks and a bench. I don’t really think you need much more than that. Yes, I do miss being able to do hamstring curls and leg extensions for a change every once in a while, but at least I can avoid the madness at 24hr fitness.