Just yesterday a parkour junkie friend of mine that’s interested in incorporating powerlifting in his training routine came to workout with me, I helped him with his squat, bench, and deadlift technique, just the basics, one little cue here and there ’cause he was already doing a pretty good job, but after we finished training he gave me a compliment, he said:
“The way you grab the 45s like it’s nothing is the most impressive thing you did today”
I gave it a little laugh and brushed it off at that second, but man, later I was as happy as the butcher’s dog because of those words, pinching plates is incredible to get your peripheral nervous system some stimulus and like anything in training, over time that stimulus compounds and you’ll be throwing plates around like nothing, so RE-RACK YOUR WEIGHTS, don’t be that punk, if you perceive it as part of training, it becomes training.
So here’s the deal, if your goals are having above-average strength, muscle size, athleticism, and durability, Free weights tramples machines HARD, it’s not even a question, even handling the weights around is already a freaking exercise.
The bigass compound barbell lifts like rows, cleans, presses, squats, and deadlifts are just TOO GOOD, the raw magnitude of the stimulus is like nothing else, you’ll build muscle in parts of your body you didn’t even know you were training, because the key element that makes free weights so good, is that YOU have to stabilize the weight to do the lift, and that’s the KEY.
Since you’re the one controlling the path of the weight throughout the range of motion, you’re teaching your body to move and implement force as a single unit, exposing your ligaments, muscles, and bones through brutal mechanical resistance that will require your brain to develop the coordination to execute it, better yet, to survive it, and here’s where things get dicey.
A lot of people are afraid of getting injured on squats and deadlifts right? This is no secret, the secret is, THEY SHOULD.
Not because Squats and Deadlifts are inherently dangerous, they’re not, but the odds are, that back in the day when you were a young pup playing soccer, football, basketball, skateboarding, jumping up and down like a maniac, you injured yourself doing stupid shit, FOR SURE, it’s more likely than not.
Then you stopped doing anything physical for decades, you’ve worked a desk job, couch to the car, car to the desk, desk to the car, car to the couch, back and forth, completely destroying your posture and flexibility.
Are free weights still better for you?
It’s up to you to decide, will you be able to suppress your ego and take the time to learn how to move and execute the bigass lifts correctly, giving the barbell the fucking respect it deserves? Praise Brodin.
Is it even worth it? Is the risk of maybe aggravating some underlying condition that was already there worth it? Having a disk, knee, or hip replaced at your age sounds like something manageable?
Maybe your goal is just to KEEP living a healthy functional life as you age, you just want to reap the benefits of resistance exercise for your overall health, so as you age you don’t devolve into a frail mess that needs help to do the most basic shit, and in that case, things shift, utilizing machines will be optimal because machines offer external stabilization.
The raw magnitude of the stimulus will be slightly lower, but we’re not trying to reach PEAK conditioning anymore, we’re trying to counteract the side effects of aging, we just want to keep our vitality and machines can do that just fine, with almost ZERO risk of injury and as flat of a learning curve as you can get.
You can be a sedentary, uncoordinated, day one beginner and express your strength in a machine NO PROBLEM, the machine will offer stabilization and control the path of resistance for you, you need to be exquisitelydisconnected from your body to screw things up, and in that case, consider Pilates before anything else.
Actually, if you’re going to go the barbell route, Pilates can be super awesome, I highly recommend you guys give it a go on some sort of mobility training, it was a game-changer for me at least.
Bottom line, machines, and free weights are both awesome, resistance training is awesome, pick whatever modality suits your personality better, if you’re up to learning a new skill, and taking your time to face a steeper learning curve with the barbell lifts, or even calisthenics for that matter, go for it, if not, no shame about it, go with machines, they work just fine.
The only thing that is A NECESSITY is the iron, if you want ironlike qualities in your meat vehicle, you need to STAY ON THE IRON PATH!
Original post: https://mrpotato.quora.com/Which-one-is-better-machines-or-free-weights-2
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