Are Machines reely Weights More Efficient during a workout session

 

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Both free weights and machines work for fat loss, so choose the one you’re most comfortable with and enjoy most. Weight loss relies primarily on creating a caloric deficit, meaning you must burn more calories than you eat through a combination of nutrition and exercise. Research has shown that free weights help you to get stronger much faster than weight machines. You get more athletic.

Free weights also build more balance and coordination than weight machines. The choice of using free weights or machine weights is based on your personal preference, your physical fitness level, your fitness goals and your access to equipment. Free weights are versatile and inexpensive. They also simulate real-life lifting situations and promote whole-body stabilization.

“Using machines or free weights often comes down to personal preference, space needs or convenience. You can increase strength, increase muscle, get in shape, become leaner, have more endurance and look better using either free weights or machines. Muscles do not care if you are using machines or free weights to get in shape. Using fixed machines can be more effective/safer if you are a beginner in the gym.

There is less chance of getting injured. In most cases, the machine takes care of the form for you so you don’t have to think about your body position or posture. You can probably lift/push heavier weights using a fixed machine versus free weights. Let’s get one thing clear up front: free weights are no more “hardcore” than machines.

In fact, I really hate the term hardcore (as it applies to strength sports, at least), as it only benefits the. The Verdict: Both Are Useful, But Free Weights Give You More Bang for Your Fitness Buck Free weights and machines each have their uses, but we’re going to declare this a narrow win for the weights. Free weights Just to clarify, free weights include any equipment that is freestanding, or not attached to an anchor point. That includes dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells and more recently, clubbells. The pros.

Free weights are versatile. You can perform a wide range of exercises, keeping your body guessing and challenging it in different ways. The debate on whether machines or free weights are better for building muscle has been around for decades. There was a time not too long ago when machines ruled in the gym world and were ‘the’ way to train. This was what all the cool kids were doing!

When I’m wandering around in the gym post-cardio, trying to figure out how I’m going to go about strength training, I tend to alternate between hitting up the weights machines and working with the fre.

List of related literature:

The question of whether free weights or machines are better is a trick question.

“Strength Training for Triathletes: The Complete Program to Build Triathlon Power, Speed, and Muscular Endurance” by Patrick Hagerman, EdD
from Strength Training for Triathletes: The Complete Program to Build Triathlon Power, Speed, and Muscular Endurance
by Patrick Hagerman, EdD
VeloPress, 2014

Both free weights and Stack machines have advantages and disadvantages.

“Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning” by Thomas R. Baechle, Roger W. Earle, National Strength & Conditioning Association (U.S.)
from Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning
by Thomas R. Baechle, Roger W. Earle, National Strength & Conditioning Association (U.S.)
Human Kinetics, 2008

Free weights versus machines i.

“Sports Medicine: Study Guide and Review for Boards” by Jonathan T. Finnoff, DO, Mark A. Harrast, MD
from Sports Medicine: Study Guide and Review for Boards
by Jonathan T. Finnoff, DO, Mark A. Harrast, MD
Springer Publishing Company, 2011

Free weights are much more versatile than machines.

“Fitness For Dummies” by Suzanne Schlosberg, Liz Neporent
from Fitness For Dummies
by Suzanne Schlosberg, Liz Neporent
Wiley, 2010

Machine weights provide much more stability to the movement and usually present a much lower risk of injury, as long as they are used correctly.

“The Essential Guide to Fitness” by Rosemary Marchese, Julie Taylor, Kirsten Fagan
from The Essential Guide to Fitness
by Rosemary Marchese, Julie Taylor, Kirsten Fagan
Cengage Learning Australia, 2019

There are machines on the market that serve the same purpose as free weights.

“Quantum Leap Thinking: An Owner's Guide to the Mind” by James J Mapes
from Quantum Leap Thinking: An Owner’s Guide to the Mind
by James J Mapes
Sourcebooks, 2003

Both free weights and machines are effective for increasing strength; however, weight machines are recommended for novice to intermediate exercisers because they are safer and easier to use where emphasis in free weight exercises is recommended for advanced resistance training [8].

“The Active Female: Health Issues Throughout the Lifespan” by Jacalyn J. RobertMcComb, Reid L. Norman, Mimi Zumwalt
from The Active Female: Health Issues Throughout the Lifespan
by Jacalyn J. RobertMcComb, Reid L. Norman, Mimi Zumwalt
Springer New York, 2014

The other consideration is whether to use free weights or machine weights.

“Martial Arts For Dummies” by Jennifer Lawler
from Martial Arts For Dummies
by Jennifer Lawler
Wiley, 2011

disadvantages of machines versus free weights for resistance training.

“Strength and Conditioning: Biological Principles and Practical Applications” by Marco Cardinale, Robert Newton, Kazunori Nosaka
from Strength and Conditioning: Biological Principles and Practical Applications
by Marco Cardinale, Robert Newton, Kazunori Nosaka
Wiley, 2011

On the other hand, compared with free weights, machines tend to be smoother, less dangerous, and more fun to use.

“Physical Fitness and Wellness: Changing the Way You Look, Feel, and Perform” by Jerrold S. Greenberg, George B. Dintiman, Barbee Myers Oakes
from Physical Fitness and Wellness: Changing the Way You Look, Feel, and Perform
by Jerrold S. Greenberg, George B. Dintiman, Barbee Myers Oakes
Human Kinetics, 2004

Alexia Lewis RD

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Heath Coach who believes life is better with science, humor, and beautiful, delicious, healthy food.

[email protected]

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171 comments

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  • Machines are a good start for lifting weights minimizing injury, build muscle and progressive overload without a worry and you dont need a training partner in that regards, in Free weights you can only lift as heavy as you can but not heavier without a training partner or a spotter who will assist you to avoid injury…

  • I recently switched to machines on my chest days because I am much stronger in the right pec and tricep and I hate more than anything the flat bench dumbbell curl. I also want to prevent shoulder injury. I don’t really care about building pbs and every time I get too obsessed with benching more weight I just end up ego lifting

  • No offence, i reckon you’d look better with a slightly shorter beard. Love your videos, brilliant content, supported by evidence. huge fan.

  • I’m guilty of the machine squat. I’ve used it for a bit because of footing. Have had issues with using my heels to drive the weight up. Does good in foot training. Cable deadlifts work in helping with lower back. It’s like going to tutoring to help overcome a struggle.

  • If you’re going to use machines, use the iso-lateral plate loaded machines such as hammer strength, nautilus, or any where the machine allows you to move one side at a time separately

  • in my opinion, free weights are best for arms, shoulders, and back. machines are good and safer for chest and legs, but i still say nothing overall can compare to freeweights to work the stabilizer muscles. but like he said, it depends on what your goals are.

  • still waiting for someone to do a video on arm exercise for those who have limited Rotation on their arms. My left arm can not go from palm on desk to 180 backhand on desk. it gets to about 110 then nada. so when ever im doing curls there is a point at just below mid point of the curl that i struggle to move it past. SOOO yeah really annoying yet no one has an answer to this as of yet

  • Machines have several advantages of over weights…. warming up is much faster on machines… getting a pump and pump sets is better on machines… it’s better to do forced reps and maxed out reps on machines… machines are biomechanically correct!… people use bad form using barbells and dumbbells!

  • Me: See’s James in the gym lifting heavy things. Oh great, he does lift as a scientist.

    Also me after looking again: hey, that’s a stunt double!

    Great info James. I regularly share your content with my clients.

  • Machines should NEVER be the foundation of your workout. Free weights(dumbells, barbells, body weight exercises) ALWAYS get you better results. And it’s all you, not you needing the assistance of a machine. Machines were for people with injuries and elderly people. Every machine exercise can be done freely, the way it was meant to be done in the first place. Machines should only be used for a change-up from time to time…

  • Why do you think stiff leg deadlift is better for you than regular ones?? They look kind of the same, but I never tried stiff legged before. My back kind of hurts from regular ones, so if you could explain why this hurts your back less, please explain.

  • Since I have a torn labrum in my shoulder, my chest workout for hypertrophy looks like this. Hammer strength chest press with 4 Sets 8-12 Reps, then I’ll do Dumbbell chest press with 4 Sets 8-12 Reps, and lastly I’ll do incline Dumbbell chest press with 4 Sets 8-12 Reps. That’s 12 Sets for a major muscle group and slowly I’ll start doing close grip press with 2-3 Sets and 8-12 Reps. Let me know what you think.

  • It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends It depends

  • The only real difference between free weights and machines is like this guy said core stability. You can get big legs from a leg press machine and a big chest from a chest press machine but your abs and lower back will be weak and so your functional strength in the real word won’t be great.

  • I’m sorry, but machines can be great and gives you more concentration on the muscle…….and I have been around for a long time……Smith Machine Bench is great and better ��

  • Why not do both? Using free weights for compound movements helps more than 2 or 3 muscles while most of the machines help you isolate a certain muscle plus with machines you can lift more weight than you can handle with free weights, and free weights as you said buid your athleticism and also help you develop some lung capacity( by doing squats and deadlifts with heavy weight mostly).

  • I’m 15 and i started lifting a month ago and most of my muscles have been activated. They started to get slightly larger, thank you so much for good advice! I’ll give you an update a month from now.

  • Injured my SI joint performing deadlifts, so have to resort to machines for back work which don’t hurt my lower back. So for injuries, folks with ROM problems, or for safety machines/cables win. For getting the biggest and strongest you can be use free weights.

  • there is no disadvantages of free weight it is your fault if you get injured then it means its too heavy or bad form, when you use machines you dont use natural movement pattern and stabilizers. take smith machine as an example you press with exactly the same unnatural angle and movement route which leads to tendon, muscle and joint problems.

  • I like my freeweights at home alot better than most of the machines at the gym. I mean dont get wrong machines do have their place but you will get much better results as far as strength and mass from dumbbells and barbells and in less time too.

  • Being a Smarta$$ but when you said free weights are excellent compound lifts for example I tweaked. Both free weights and machines have both isolation and compound variations.

  • Well one thing is for sure, and that is that some machines do something that free weights will never do and that is give you an equal amount of resistance throughout the entire range of motion. During a dumbell bicep curl there is varying amounts of resistance the highest being when your elbow is at 90 degrees and the resistance fading as your eblow moves away from that angle. Where as on the bicep machine because of the cables and the swivel/pivot (whatever it’s called) being paralell to your elbow you can get maximum resistance throughout the entire range of motion.

  • Machines are good for ISOLATING MUSCLES AND KEEPING FORM. Freeweights are better for building mass and strength. But nothing is better than bodyweight exercises

  • I use this channel as a parameter to judge other fitness channels. Great content. Been a fan for a long time. I used to be 12 kgs overweight, got that down in 3 months. Now time for some gaainzz.

  • i have a question, compound excersises like over head shoulder press, squats, etc that have a machine where it can be done, does it also boost testosterone doing it at the machine than doing it with free weights? that is basically the reason now i avoid machines and use free weights, because i think they will help more in boosting testosterone, i think what boost testosterone its the fact that core muscles and other muscles are involved at the same time while performing the excersise

  • Well here’s something, I had been using various free weight exercises for biceps, triceps, back, shoulders, chest etc for a very long time and would do it to failure. Lo and behold I finally gave machines a chance and they got me sore as if it were the first day of my life lifting. So why not just do both? Free and machine weight systems seem to be extremely useful. Besides, what gym would be dishing out tens of thousands of dollars on machines if they weren’t going to be doing a dang thing for your body?

  • Q. What’s better machines or free weights?
    A. Both have their benefits.
    Machines because have a fixed range of motion and have several benefits. For newbies they learn good form, machines isolate, and safety when you don’t have a spotter.
    Free weights are good for exercises that machines won’t allow for your natural range of motion, for gross multiple muscle groups training, for heavy weight and for weight bearing exercises that require a wide range of motion.

  • My gym has so cheap subscription, that it’s hard to pick a time where it is now overcrowded. So you have to adjust your training plan based on the little free space available. No favorite weights, go machine, machine busy, go treadmill, no treadmill go flirt with the muscular employe… =)

  • Some of my greatest moments at and after the gym have come of these videos.
    No Eliott, fuck all other youtubers, your stuff is the honest fuel that keeps me going.
    That’s my opinion!

  • Thank you for this video, I’m a skinny guy so I use the machines but people keep telling me they suck.. but I’m seeing improvement from the machines. Definitely subscribed. Thanks for telling it like it is.

  • my opinon is machines..muscle growth is more when we choose machines….free weight is slower gain but never drop out the body maintance..however do machines first get big get form then move on to free weights to maintain the body…thank u

  • Well when in comes to building muscle machines and free weights is good.. but for getting stronger or functionally stronger free weights is king

  • Lifting heavy things makes you strong. It doesn’t matter if it’s machines, free weights, sandbags, stones, or whatever you want. If it is heavy for you and you push hard and are consistent, you’ll get strong.

  • Doesn’t the fact that machines don’t require as much stabilization actually mean they work the main muscles even better than free weights?

  • I train in home gym like elliot i dont use any machines but if i was in gym i would like to use those lat pulldowns and there are some good machines for back rowing and cable crossover but yea i am all about free weights i just like it

  • If you consider yourself an athlete or a competitor use free weights. If you just want to look good on spring break then machines are ok.

  • As the video pointed out it’s good to utilize machines to focus on a certain part of the body.  Like maybe most of your workout isn’t machine based but a few things are.  However machines are incredible for beginners, like get on the machines for a bit to get a feel and then after maybe a few weeks or less move on to free weights and such.

  • Hey SSS! You’ve already made a videos covering best science based channels and best calisthenics channels on YouTube. Could you also make a video about best channels about diet and recipes? Cause you know: losing weight is 80% diet and 20% exercise.

  • I only use machines for legs and even that is minimal. I like using my stabilizers. Im too fat to be missin out on ANY gains. I prefer dumbells over bars too.

  • If i only have a heavy barbell that can change the weight from it, 2 very light dumbells, a kettlebell and a rope for jumping rope… What kind oftraining could i do with that?

  • Problem with freeweights is most people can’t get correct form because of the no restriction of movement (mainly Bench press) I use machines for movements that can’t be done naturally, such as leg extensions

  • Thank you for the excellent tips. Please dont waste food. You have no idea how hard it is for some people just to get one decent meal a day.

  • I just wanna get in better shape, not do fitness as a career. Free weights look like a hassle and dangerous so I stick to machines.

  • I use the smith machine for like calve raises.  I also use the curl machine to simply warm up a bit.    What I hate though is how machines are taking over the gym,  I know I am only 18 so I haven’t been alive long to see a gym without a single one.  But still like my hard core working out… not like highschool track/football workouts, I started doing of course just bench and squat stuff but I utilized a lot of machines because I assumed that was right since most of the gym is machines.   Now I know better but it’s just ironic how so many machines fill the gym but the best stuff is not the machines.  I can bet you 100% though that machines will become like mainstream for the next generation, everyone’s so lazy now, i’m lazy as far as school goes tbh.

  • The man in the black pajamas, Dude. Worthy frickin adversary. Whereas what we have here? A bunch of fig eaters wearin towels on their heads, trying to find reverse in a Soviet tank. This is not a worthy adversary.

  • For Mass12 do you recommend decreasing the weight for the days where you increase reps? Or keep the same weight for the week? Like if you squat 135lbs 4 sets 6-8 reps, would I do 135lbs for 3 sets 10-12 reps?

  • here’s my personal experience. i worked out exclusively with machines for the first few years of lifting. i got a lot stronger at using the machines, and i looked bigger too, but when i eventually switched to free weights i was pretty damn weak. i stuck with free weights, and after one year i’d made significantly more gains in both strength and size than i had in 4 years of using machines.

  • I always used free weights for 4-5 different exercises at 8 reps of 5 sets per muscle, then finished it up with another two exercises (again 8-10 reps at 5 sets) on machines. But I would always mix the machines up each session, in hopes of the new stimulus to my muscle each week stops it from adapting as quickly

  • Why do all the weight lifting guys on YouTube speak with the same “diaphragm” based deep voice, while tossing around their open hands together from left to right, attempting to convey false masculinity and made up, bullshit American “bro” behavior. Jesus

  • I love this guy. Proper fitness knowledge no bullshit. Hilarious guy. I just loved it. “But where does the towel row fit in ” ������

  • This feeling when you consider yourself as a smart person, turn on a bodybuilding video and see a guy about who you think “damn, this guy spent all his life at the gym, what can he understand in life except the gym?”

    and then he starts his message from about good and bad being subjectile. subscribed.

  • do a video about which free weight exercise is easy and which is hard. The clean n jerk is the most brutal of all, bench press easiest.

  • Cable machines can offer a bit of best of both worlds as they’re machines where you can very easily isolate but, have decent free range of motion.
    Though I will never use a leg machine again e.g. extension, hamstring curls as that puts un-natural stress on the knees I learned that one from Jeff C (Athleanx)

  • “Free weights vs machine? Wow, that’s a topic that interests me. I’ve always wanted to know the pros and cons of each because I want to…. aaaaand he’s filming himself at Denny’s counting napkins.”

  • With some machines you can go heavier and I feel like i train my muscles better. It also makes it harder to cheat it’s easier to have a good form. For example shoulder press I prefer machine. But when it comes to squats or bench press I prefer free weights.

  • For some reason I have a douche reaction against people who only use machines, whenever I see one I think of him as a peasant as an instant reaction without even intending to.

  • Aye just saying I never went to a gym once growing up my dad bought me a total gym when I was 12 and I used tf outta that shit until I was 18 and I got some pretty nice ass results

  • I think the older you get, the more a Barbell is an awesome but dangerous tool. I prefer machines for control. Less chance that one sloppy rep causes injury. The freedom of free weights can be a bad thing.

  • I’ve had to mix it on shoulder press due to Psoriatic Arthritis. What most don’t understand is to make every effort to keep things going without getting injured and avoiding a plateau. Reaching a plateau is when changing it up some helps to break it. Machines are also good to deload on when rest is warranted or ramp up on when one hasn’t lifted in a while. I used machines for two weeks to get back to lifting.

  • Tbh this is what I did when I first started I used the machines to build my body stronger to then move on to free weights. You know you don’t wanna be that guy who’s lifting and doesn’t know his capacity or just looks stupid out there by lifting shit the wrong way.
    So I basically used to the machines to get stronger so that when I would get on the pull up bar it came much easier to be able to to do 5 then it became 6 then 10 then etc.
    take my advice and don’t rush into the free weights man ����

  • If you go to a nice gym that’s got the best of both worlds go ahead and use both. But if you’re looking to build a good home set up just get a bench, a rack and a bunch of old pig iron second hand from play it again sports. That’s what I did. Cheap as hell and gets you gangster swole!

  • someone clarify something please
    why is it that jeff…
    on his incline bench form (just before half way through the video), he isn’t extending all the way up. is this the best form to use in regards to benching (whether its incline/horizontal/decline)?
    is it bad to extend your arms all the way up?

  • Awesome video! Really enjoyed this one! Perhaps you would consider doing a future video on how many exercises for a muscle group? I know Scott Herman says in his videos that it’s more effective to do one or two exercises per muscle with more sets, instead of jumping to multiple exercises. Ever since I watched that it’s been a staple in my training philosophy and I really enjoy sticking to just a few movements. Would think it would be interesting and helpful if you could do a video on this topic! ��

  • You seem to normally eat breakfast pretty late in some of your videos. Do you incorporate intermittent fasting into your eating habits?

  • Machines are alot better when it comes to bodybuilding and want to look Good and if you are a power lifter free weigth wins i got the best results with machines

  • Hey man, is there a way to edit your videos so you cut out all the day to day stuff and just have videos of your workout information. annoying that you title your videos they way you do and i just end up having to sift through a blogg about your life that a lot of people don’t really care about. No disrespect intended.

  • I’ve had bad back problems for years machines are a great way of getting a decent body with machines staying injury free, yes free weights are better but free weights for me Just seem to injure me, so Just do what you can, I’m not gonna hurt my self just to lift free weights

  • I’ve been watching this guys videos for about a month and while watching this video I had an epiphany: why have I not subscribed to his channel yet?!?!
    I love the scientific approach to his videos. It makes it very easy to trust what he’s saying. Along with his fantastic physique

  • I love Machines for heavy sets… But the thing with machines is… there always will be a noob reading instructions on it and also watching an YouTube video on it… or worse…. some asshole talking phone on it… To resist the feeling of shoving a dumbbell down his throat… I stick to free weights…

  • hey man im 5’11 at 240 bls i started working out a month ago free weights and cardio when i use machines i feel way too restricted and i dont feel like its doing anything other than causing a injury any tips on to improve my machine usage or just go to lower weights /high reps?

  • James you’re awesome! Thanks for having your answers to questions so open and thought provoking.

    My two cents on the matter that no one asked for. Free weight or rather and combination of free weight and body weight exercises have benefited me mostly because they force more muscle coordination, i.e. core and back activation, which has greatly heloed my posture. I haven’t used machines as much, but maybe you or someone else could comment on this as a positive for free weights?

  • Any tips for benching? I’ve been trying for a while and I’m still at a pretty low weight. I usually get pretty good progress with everything I do (like pull-ups or dumbells) but with bench it seems like I never get better at it.

  • random pro tip: been using a 45 lbs. straight olympic barbell for standing curls, and it’s definitely a noticeable improvement over anything else. full range of motion with supinated grip, and sets of 15, and my bi’s are pumping.

  • I had shoulder surgery about 3 months ago, ive been using a lot of machines for core and legs. I think that machines do help but arent quite as benificial as freeweight

  • I do great with free weights. I am also a 14 yr old and another reason I go with free weights is because the lap pull machine at my school I could only lift 30 pounds but the lap pull that attaches to my bench I can lift in the 80s.

  • Don’t laugh but what do you think about things like Total Gym and Bow-Flex type contraptions? Also are there machines/equipment that are not that recommended e.g. twisting ab machines, back extension ones? If you were to recommend machines at all, what would be the best ones to start out with? I will check out your other vids.

  • Oh come on. You even talked about the dangers of getting injured from training just on machines in another of your vids. The one about the canon fired from the canoe… its not ok to build huge muscles that are held together by noodles.

  • This is his life, his hobby, his business, and his career. Tards.. ofc he will promote. He has to make a living somehow. I don’t care about 1 minute promotion to get 6 minutes worth of good and solid info.

  • I’m very much a beginner but I find that machines really help me with my pull exercises mostly because my form is not great and I don’t have very good grip strength so I feel a lot safer pulling in machines.

  • Free Weights are obviously better

    i can chest press significantly more on a machine (60-100 lbs) than i can on a bench

    which is worthless

    that strength doesn’t translate to real world activities at all

    bodyweight training, plyometrics and free weights are the way forward. everything else is trash

  • The anatomical design of the body will never be duplicated by machines. You covered alot of bases and I like the video,though demonstration was needed to show execution. Wrong execution is the most common element in exercise,evenwith machines. So leaving it out left a big vagueness to the topic

  • Hey Jeff, you should make a video on the difference between eating junk food at a high. Dog fat compared to at a low percent body fat. Like does your body just turn a honey bun into instant energy because your so shredded and your body is a machine at that point, or does your body still make the junk food into fat because it’s a crappy source of carbs?

  • You’re missing the most important part of the equation for free weights vs machines as it applies to most people. It’s literally the reason why modern fitness gyms have so many machines. For the majority of people, heavy free weight exercises take a lot more willpower and motivation to perform than the machine equivalent that targets similiar muscles. For example, most people just don’t have it in them to perform heavy back squats to near failure. It’d be great if they did, but they don’t. If there workout includes those, they’ll fail at consistently doing them They just can’t make themselves do it. A lot larger percentage of people, do have it in them to do leg press and leg extensions to near failure (which is way easier) but still targets some of the same muscles in the legs.

  • Love this channel
    Maybe cos I just finished a level pe and bio
    And I’m studying sport science at uni this year so it keeps my knowledge at the forefront of my brain

  • ive been using machines for just a little over a month and have seen significant gains.. family n friends have even commented and im no spring chicken 35 years old.. watever floats ur boat

  • I use machines cause my form is bad. Using machines help me to target the right muscles so that I later use better form with free weights.

  • The only time I use machine more is in a shoulder workout as I do suffer from slight pain if I go hard with free weights. But every other body part I find feels better with free weights I guess it’s down to preference

  • Would you think of strength curve as difficulty throughout the movement for you personally? For example some might struggle at bottom of bench whereas others at the top. So in the first case you’d program for more pec work?

  • I’m so tired of the ‘Machines’ are bad. The only time they seem to be praised is for the elderly and the injured. However, at the opposite end of that spectrum as a bodybuilder, they are an excellent and necessary tool for isolation of muscle groups with the added bonus of not being able to deviate the movement in any way. If it benefits you in your workout then it’s good. It’s a question of the right tool for the right job.

  • Wow thank you so much for reading and posting the scientific studies. Super engaging material when you combine it with the movements. Thank you

  • I’m 16 so I don’t get money, I have two club speakers and I lift em as if they were weights and I use milk cartons with water and now I’m a wide 6,2 330 pound dude but no belly fat at all, I’m saving up for real weights

  • you have a weird nutrition mentality… getting eggwhites and low fat stuff while dumping sugar all over your pancakes. Maybe your genetics let you process sugar better but sugar makes me feel like shit and gain fat immediately while fats make me more energetic and leaner.

  • Could you make a peer review on alphadestiny? Dude is a bit unconventional. Kind of a reverse Elliot Hulse cause he started out a bit loco but matured into a pretty respectable guy.

  • If u want the best results use free weights. Example the biggest dudes in the gym are always over at free weights. Now u see the guys messin round on the machines are girly men ������ Tis true

  • Bearwtf is your rant all about. Not everyone can be a crazy lunatic like you. This guys discussion is obviously not well grounded but at least he’s contributing to people’s desire to get into shape. Tons of free videos with solid workouts and I guess he charges for the extra attention and diet program. Get over the ads dude it’s called capitalism.

  • I like using machines for my workout, personally. I mean the Terminator makes for an awesome workout when he is trying to assassinate you.

  • I actually can.t watch the entire video because of how exhausting is for my eyes the white background. please consider using a darker background in you future videos.
    On another note, great content, like always

  • Free weight is better than machine, BUT I use machines from time to time to be able to hit particular muscles and save already tired CNS from free weights. For gaining muscle mass machines are usable.

  • Hi James. Fan of your work, at first I found it hard to pack on weight or size, then someone suggested the “dirty bulk”. Few years down the track I’m at 85kgs and stuck with a belly. I’ve tried clean eating and cutting my calories down as well as working out from home with weights. I am seeing results in shoulders,traps. But having a hard time growing size in legs and arms. My chest is coming around slowly and my belly hasnt really changed, rather it’s starting to feel like I cant get rid of the belly. Any tips on where I could be going wrong?

  • I’ve stopped going to the gym. I’m antisocial and every person I see who thinks they know about exercising comes to give me “advice” (aka get on my nerves). I do everything at home and my weights do me well

  • i rarely use machines at all….machines follow a specific path and dont really recruit to many muscle fibers or engage the muscle or core….using the ab machine is the bigeest waste of time out of any exercise..HEAVY drop sets..or Running the rack..or rehab…are the only times anyone should use machines..but hey…to each his own

  • Personally, free weights help me with the ancillary muscles responsible for stability. I only use machines for more isometric movements

  • I switched from the Bench to a well designed machine. I don’t like having that weight above me in the bench, it is very dismotivating. Can’t find anyone who will actually listen to spot so I go without. With a machine I never skip bench and I can giv’r without worry about being stuck under the bar.

  • Q. What’s better machines or free weights?
    A. Both have their benefits.
    Machines because have a fixed range of motion and have several benefits. For newbies they learn good form, machines isolate, and safety when you don’t have a spotter.
    Free weights are good for exercises that machines won’t allow for your natural range of motion, for gross multiple muscle groups training, for heavy weight and for weight bearing exercises that require a wide range of motion.

  • “By the back row, I don’t mean where the cool kids sit on the bus”. Not a joke I needed to hear mid bench press, damn near killed myself…

  • I know it would be a little bit harder, but can you include more short videos when you explain or picures like in this one. thank you and keep up the good work:)

  • after my first ACL reconstruction surgery, I started using the smith machine. now that im off it. my body tens lean to the right when I’m squatting on the barbell. i have to concentrate and really push my body to stay on a straight line. i have been putting the effort and now is easier,
    recovering from injuries is really hard. adding a 40-hour work week,

    but the improvement is noticeable. thats my experience with machines and free weights

  • I like to use both of them…and I mix them up to keep my lifting dynamic. I feel like my stabilizing secondary muscles get worked better with free weights. I also like that machines get me to isolate primary muscles a little bit better. ��

  • You’re going to upset fanboys in the next video? I already have my “this guy’s a moron” and “you’re just a fucking idiot” comments ready, and now I’m working on building up my keyboard rage!

  • not going to lie…I’d be way more interested in JUST science based info. no offense man…I’m just not about that celebrity worship…especially not youtube celebrity worship. barf. like why would I care what you’re doing next weekend man? I don’t even know you…

  • The main difference between machine and free weight exercise is to use your core muscle. If you use machine to target specific parts you would like to make bigger, You can add more weight compared with free weight exercise. Because, a machine helps your body to be stable.

    Many people think that squat is a leg exercise. It can be true depending on your goal. However, It can also be whole body workout with legs because you use whole body.

    It means If your coordination is not well developed, using heavy weight with free weight movements should be challenging for you.

  • Jay what do you do for ab work? Have you done any direct ab work or do you train them indirectly through squats, and other exercises?

  • I NEED HELP. In the free weight section of my gym, there are many big guys. I am a beginner so I’m nervous to go in that section. Should I just go or focus on using machines? Thanks

  • Machines are great and you will get stronger but if you use free weights more muscles are activated in order to stabilise your body which will make the smaller muscles in your body stronger too

  • Just curious as to what most of you do? For years I was doing one muscle group per day, 5 days a week, with legs on the same day as a smaller muscle such as the bicep. Is this bad? Is this also what they call a “bro split”? Is it better to do a push day, pull day, leg day etc, so that each muscle is hit twice per week? Just curious if there is a right or wrong answer here, assuming that form is solid and intensity is high to promote hypertrophy. Thanks friends.

  • Free weights get you swole fast. Machines are ok if used to just add more variety to a free weight workout. But free weights should be the main focus if you wanna get swole.

  • You were doing your barbell bench press without a spotter.  Isn’t that dangerous?  What if you weren’t able to lift the barbell all of a sudden?

  • He is on steroids. It is a known fact. Plus he only works out for sex anyway. Dont listen to a damn thing he says unless you want the drugs required with his body type.

  • I am usually afraid of free weights without supervision. You can do the movement wrong and ofcourse you are way more visible at the gym doing free weights.

  • Your bulking routine looks great but i wonder if barbell squats can be replaced with leg press machine, or something else, with good results. I used to have some back problems and i don’t feel that comfortable squating with big weights. Also, do you recommend using dumbell bench press instead of barbell chest press, since i workout without a training partner?

  • People should get to the point of the video without all the crap before it, for example where you sleep, shit and shower. Just get to the point.

  • This whole machines vs free weights argument is so stupid. This guy is toally right. It is all a fad going left and right. People say free weights are better for strengh. Who the fuck cares. It is about your goal. If you want to become a human jacklift, sure go for free weights, risk injurys and become strong as hell. If you want to just have big good looking muscles and don’t care about strengh, machines are good enough for you. But here is the thing.. are you ready.. do both the way it suits you, “mind blown”

  • that’s true muscles grow regardless what you may use weather it be restrictive equipment machines or free weights if you get that burn and that soreness your ok if you stop getting sore change it up.

  • My primary tools are freeweights and bodyweight, but if it’s something I can’t use them for, i’ll use bands, and if I can’t use those, then i’d look for a machine to do the exercise. I also try to do as many of my lifts in an unsupported standing position as possible, to work my interior muscles as well as my exterior ones for complete body development. Sometimes using a bench is unavoidable, so I will use them then.

  • It’s weird watching a PictureFit video without hearing him quote a study or use some kind of data to support his thesis/video topic. My only guess is that it’s because this is one of his early videos?

  • Old video, but to everyone commenting about how little he eats, he has a somewhat smaller frame and you can see in this video he only weighs 162 pounds so he doesn’t need the same volume of food as a muscular 6’0″ tall man who might be 185 or more pounds lean

  • Although free weights are better, I feel safer using machines for certain muscles because I worry about dropping the weights on my face

  • Machines are good and serve their purpose. You should do your main bulk with free weights to begin every routine, hardest exercises first. When you cannot do anymore with free weights THEN move onto the machines to finish your workout. So this video is completely missing the point..!
    For example, a typical triceps workout for me at this time of the year would be:

    1. 4x sets of lateral tricep presses on a flat bench for 12 to 15 reps
    2. 4x sets of lateral tricep presses on a bench at 85 degrees for 12 to 15 reps
    3. 4x sets of skull crushers on a bench at 85 degrees for 12 to 15 reps
    4. 4x sets of tricep pressdowns on a cable with a V-bar extension for 12 to 15 reps
    5. 4x sets on the tricep extension machine for 12 to 15 reps
    6. 4x sets of weighted tricep dips for 12 to 15 reps (with heavy plates on my lap).

    So the first 3 exercises, 12 sets, are all free weight compound exercises. Then i do 2 exercises with the machines, 8 sets, and then the last exercise 4 sets is using my body weight but with extra weight using the plates.
    So even body weight is incorporated into my training sessions.

    For my last session i did on my triceps the total workout load added to 15,251.6kg in just under an hour of training, but that was because i was late to the gym and could not fit everything in. The total workout load for the triceps session i did the previous week was 20,914kg. Haha most people don’t even do a total workout load like that with major muscle groups like their chest or back….

    So my advice is to go to fail on the free weights, move onto using the machines to fail and then do body weight to fail for 1 exercise at the end of your routine. So, for example, with body weight you may end a chest session by banging out as many press-ups as you can do in one go for either 1 or 4 sets and at the end of a back session you might want to do pull-ups. Maybe you can knock out some pistols after a leg session…. just learn loads of body weight exercises for different muscle groups and you can switch things up every so often. This means you gain extra knowledge in terms of training as well as keeping your workouts interesting throughout your years..
    I guess not everybody is capable of doing this, but you also have to be able to plan out your routines so you are keeping to the same number of reps for every set of every exercise. Beginners can push themselves to stay within a certain rep range, for example: 1 to 5 reps for strength, 6 to 11 reps for size leaning towards the strength side of things, 12 to 15 reps for size leaning towards the definition side of things, 16+ reps for definition (i like to do 20 reps for this). There is also the 8 to 10 rep range for those who want to train specifically for size, and that rep range is right in the middle of those 4 standard rep ranges.
    If a beginner trainee can stick within the one chosen rep range for every set for every exercise throughout his routine for at least 2 months then that is fine. However, an experienced trainee should be able to stick to the exact rep intended for every set of every exercise. So, for example, i am doing 12 to 15 reps now and i plan my routine so i stay at 15 reps (at this point in the year) for every set of every exercise during my routine. I intend to keep it this way for the next few months until i will switch to the 16+ rep range and intend to keep it at 16 reps for a month and then switch to 20 reps using the same amount of weight i was reaching total failure with at 16 reps.
    Also, you should be reaching total failure with every set and really pushing hard to complete every set.. so, i am reaching total failure at rep 15 for every set of every exercise at the moment. A beginner can perform every set so total failure is reached within the rep range chosen for the next 2 months. However, the beginner must strive to learn his capabilities so adjustments can be made towards becoming an advanced gym rat….! So keep in touch with your body.. and push as hard as you can!!!!
    Remember, if you are not pushing yourself hard then all you are doing is keeping fit, you are not training for any other goals..!
    If that is all you want then that is fine for you, but if so then do not expect to get big or cut or strong or anything other than athletic looking and fit..!

    If your aim is to get cut then i advise you get big first (at least reasonably big) so you do not waste away. Do not be scared of carbs at this point because there is an old saying in the bodybuilding world “To get big you must be prepared to get ugly”. You MUST know about glycogenesis in order to get big and you must respect this science and be prepared to put on a bit of fat (but keep it at around 20% fat levels).

    If your goals are to get big and cut then you must keep cycling your training rep ranges and adjust your diet according to your goals throughout the year (this is what i do). Winter time, when it is cold, is the perfect time for bulking up because you are not going to walk everywhere topless in the winter and so nobody will see you may have a slight belly. Spring time is the time to move towards becoming lean and just before summer (two months prior) is the time to work HARD towards getting shredded..!!
    If your goals are to get big and you are scared to put on a bit of fat then you are dreaming and you should just go back to bed where you belong and just keep dreaming.
    If your goals are to get big and shredded or just shredded and you are not prepared to train to failure then again you are dreaming and you should go back to sleep and carry on dreaming….

    I am sure you have all seen videos of Chang not looking as cut as he sometimes does…. that is most likely because he knows what i just told you about glycogenesis and getting big using carbs being very important..!

    Another thing…. if you train hard and do not have the appropriate nutrition in your diet (ie. high carbs when lifting heavy or training for size, etc.) then your body will eventually give up on you and you will see negative results.
    You may see good results for the first 6 to 18 months, but that is the case for most people. However, after that window has closed you will only see negative results from then on. So just do not forget that your diet is about 80% of the knowledge you need to have and to act upon in order to achieve your goals.. otherwise.. once again… go back to sleep….!!!!

  • Dude, you need more rear delt work. A little imbalance going on. You’re doing like 4 anterior delt exercise and your sides are the afterthought with absolutely no rear delt.

    Btw, everyone go from 5-10 minutes if you don’t want to watch nonsense

  • I use both Machine and free weights I even combine Machine weight to free weight I also do a lot of body weight exercises  as well I am not picky with what I do but if it dose not get me swollen I just do not do it!!

  • Been sending my lifting buddies to this channel. So much good information for beginners and novice lifters with things guys might normally over look or not concider.

  • Disliked vid and stopped watching, after you couldnt finish that small meal lol. Not taking advice from a cookie cutter beotch like you. Ended vid 1 minute in lol.

  • If you do circuit training machines you can indeed burn fat and build strength and muscle. Also injury with using machines isn’t really there like it is with free weights. And using machines cuts down drastically on recovery time. You can still get great results from using machines. They’re not just for beginners…I’ve seen intermediate and also seasoned people utilizing the benefits of machines. It’s not just to polish imbalanced parts of your body. You can do full body workouts in the same fashion as you could with free weights. Not everyone wants to be Ronnie Coleman which by the way free weights destroyed his body and basically crippled him.

  • Yo could you please do a video or a couple videos on which exercises with free weights would you have to do to get certain body parts bigger and do this with all the entire body to teach how to get bigger and have a balanced built body

  • As someone who is just starting out with this stuff I find free weight stuff more appealing because I find the motions and movements more interesting and enjoyable to learn. Personally, I don’t just want to work out for muscle, I want to also enjoy myself while doing it.
    And doing more complex and functional movements seems more fun and challenging to me than just to sit in a machine and apply force.

  • Theres pros and cons to both! I think you can lift heavier with machines (Bench for example) because theres not the fear of weights falling on you but free weights do require you to balance the weights as well as move them which requires you to use more muscle fibers. SO all in all id say it equals out

  • I have a question regarding decline pressing. You never seem to touch on that variation during the scientific videos on push workouts. Do you happen to know if there Is there any true benefits of a decline press, if so what are they?

  • Personally, I like freeweights rather then machines because it helps my balance.  But one has to be careful.  It is good to get started though.  It is safer though.

  • Hey bro just found your channel, I’m a logical thinker definitely want to hear more about the science and what studies show, not some meathead science. Thanks for the help!!

  • You want a toe? I can get you a toe, believe me. There are ways Dude. You don’t want to know about it, believe me. Hell, I can get you a toe by 3′ oclock this afternoon…with nail polish.

  • When I started I was in awful shape and used machines almost exclusively. But about 2 years in I had switched to almost all free weights. I think machines are a great entry point for people who lack stability, flexibility, or control, while learning the free weight movements on the side without even trying to overload them. Just slowly get the technique down until it all comes together.

  • I like the tip about being tired later in a workout and adding machine work at that time.

    I’ve also had an injury that allowed me to continue to workout full body with machines while recovering..

  • Machine I think are better because they have more isolation, not to mention easier going to failure since there is no fear of a 200+lb hunk of metal crashing down thus you can push for those last few juicy reps.

  • A friend of mine who is much bigger than me mainly due to the fact hes a juice head swears by machines, we went down the gym a few weeks ago and I got him to try a decline bench press for the 1st time:) haha he looked like a trout out of water, his breathing was wild!! Did not have a clue how to keep control of the bar lol it was such a joy to see haha

  • Great video and he’s right in my opinion. Im 48 and I’m not not training to be an athlete I’m just trying to stay in shape to be healthy and keep my body moving. Some days I do free weights some days I do cables I use the stair master to warm up I swim after every workout and I hike on the weekends. I don’t have a gut and feel good about myself. Goal achieved!

  • I apologize, but I must disagree. Your body doesn’t know the difference between resistance applied by a free weight barbell/dumbbell and that applied by an exercise machine. If one uses exercises that stress all the major musculature of the body, and taking the principle of indirect effect into account, why would one NEED to mix in free weights to an otherwise machine based program? I see no reason and actually see machine only as a much better program, giving progressive overload in a safer manner.

  • It would be a shame for you not to melt fat when normal people are able to melt fat so easily using Fat Blast Furnace (Google it).

  • I think all machines at planet fitness are bent so 1 side does not work in a diferent position…. And cables bouns like a guitar string when you have tension on them.. Making stability muscles interact with you brain differently

  • Newcomer to the gym here. Way over weight too. Gotta say that the machines are a good start point to feel what muscles should be used in each exercise. But I noticed within a month or two I have damn near maxed out the machines I’ve been using. When I do free weights it much lower weight and it kicks my ass a lot more. Plus one for free weights.

  • Now my personal opinion is for gym training: just use machines!
    BUT if you’re preparing for a contest and your doing event training you should use free weights cause there ain’t no machines at the event

  • I like do a combination of free weights and machines. I would personally avoid all seated ab machines, pec deck machines, and the selectorized seated hip twister thingy. My preferred machines are the cable cross towers, lat pull down, tricep push down, rowing machine, seated squat machine, and hammer strength machines. I would use hip abduction and adduction machines and back extension machines sparingly as a supplementary exercise instead of a primary exercise. Free weight exercises I would personally avoid is behind the back overhead presses and the standing barbell row. All other free weights exercises are very beneficial especially when good for is used. Deadlifts are very good but, you may want to use a deadlift platform or borrow some Pilate mats to minimize the risk of getting the cold shoulder at globo gyms and never ever do deadlifts at planet fitness. I have gotten 2 cold shoulders by la fitness staff for deadlifting at LA fitness and I borrowed a few Pilates mats from the Pilates studio and it dampened the noise more than enough to please the gym staff. I am not ego lifter, I do 80 percent 1 rep max and I try my best to minimize metallic clanging noise created by the deadlifts.

  • And just give around 3-5 exercises for each body part like back shoulders triceps biceps legs and abs and any other you have in mind

  • You can absolutely build great aesthetics with machines..why wouldn’t you be able to build thick back or traps using machines? There’s plenty of them you can use for that. Also deadlifts for traps? yeah lol

  • maybe it`s just my personal opinion, but i think that free weighted exercises also creat a higher stimulus on the muscles and that more musclefibres are involved. i wouldn`t get sore of doing chest-press-machines and fly-machines, but only from doing bench press i would…

  • I had a first “real”(I guess you could say) work out today and just used machines. I felt in some of them a lot of strain on my neck, I’m new of course so I could of used it wrong. Next time trying a shot at free weights. I liked your video! Answered some things I was curious about!

  • Its ok guys, his muscles are not going to jump out of the screen and bite you, no need to be intimidated. I personally like him shirtless XD

  • Jeff; There is an independant engineer and research scientist, who lives north of Chicago and is also a lifetime bodybuilder. He has been working for the last 30 years to develop radically improved exercise equipment and training techniques. I was recently given the priviledge of visiting his research lab for a full demonstration of of his achievements. I was bowled over!! This scientist is THE genius in the entire world of bodybuilding!! His exercise equipment is unlike anything you have ever seen 50 years ahead of anything on the market today. Absolutely revolutionary!! Every piece of equipment, which I tried out myself, creates a degree of muscle fiber stimulation far beyond any thing that can be achieved with todays’ “stone age” training methods. Three of his” research bodybuilders” were there 3 high school “kids”. No, they were MEN! 15 and 16 years old All over 200 pounds. All huge and “natty”. Both 16 year olds had arms over 18 inches, and the 15 year old close to 17 with bodys to match! I absolutely can’t get over what I saw. The bodybuilding of the future!!! Best wishes to you: Friend and fellow bodybuilder Steve Reventlow (IBBF Pro Masters) Chicago P.S. I think we all hoped that something like this would happen some day. It has!!

  • What a load of shit! Exercise is a poor way to burn calories look at the science you bull shit artist, machines are much better, using stabilizing muscle does not effectively load the muscles… For muscle gains each muscle part must be sufficiently loaded, functional training is bullshit, any strength increases will transfer to improving any form of movement.

  • You’re my favorite youtube trainer. You’re not full of BS american bro behavior like the rest of them. This is how a men should be. The rest of them act like Austin Mahone. Lol

  • Dear picture fit admin, i would like to thanks you for all the efforts that u r doing to get us better understanding about gym staffs. I have one suggestion if u don’t mind it, i want u to give us a corse for beginners that we can run on to lose weight and build muscles hence other channels don’t have something like this. With my best regards.

  • If u have nothing nice to say really just keep it to urself. Obviously he is doing something right if ur watching his video goes to show how many negative ppl are out there. IJS

  • freeweights are better for targeting secondary muscles/imbalances, but if i really desire to target a certain muscle and overload it(isolate) i would rather good quality machines. You can really achieve a deeper level of hypertrophy without worrying about an imbalance cutting your set short. you should use both tho, cause u dont want those imbalances to get bigger.

  • Free weights and machines have a place in all workouts. What I find funny is about people ripping on machines….like your freaking body knows that is a machine. If your pushing yourself to the limit while on a machine….dont really think it matters.

  • I don’t get it when there’s people hating on Mike i mean even if he is promoting,he is wasting his time teaching you some tips to develop a healthier good looking body,Ive learned a lot and correct some mistakes from this guy.

  • It’s all about that 6pack!!!! That’s why Chang always promote “6-pack abs” taking advantage of people who don’t know any better…

  • You’re a fucking moron. Saying a machine helps cure myscle imbalances is jyst retarded and saying that it can not be done with free weights is too. Dumbbells could easily be used to fix imbalances and would be much better for the body considering the fact that stabalising muscles are brought into play. Machines offer no functional real world application unless you just want to look good and have imbalances.

  • good video. i have a bad back, so i use machines to get more out of a workout. still, i try to do freeweights also. to control a freeweight works many groups that machines dont really hit. as for my back… i refuse to let a minor disability to be an excuse to not take care of myself. looking to get a bowflex for home soon.

    Editas for burning fat… not an issue for me. i eat healthy, and have a high metabolism. it is actually very difficult for me to gain fat… also means i am always hungry

  • So what I’m getting from this is that machines are for people who don’t care enough to garner the knowledge necessary to hit every angle of their body just because it’s “tough”. I think that everyone should be capable of understanding these things.

  • IMHO, you can get big with machines or free weights, I like the hammer strength machines.  I do sprint 8 to produce 500% + human growth hormone, which also works out your abs, and is WAY BETTER than squats for building leg muscle, and then I do an excersize called the cat vomit exercise (tightening the lateralus abdominus).  But good abs are really about eating low carb on non-workout days, high fat (good fats only), high protein… this equates to good abs (low body fat is a requirement to have cut abs).   My favorite free weight lift is the Yates Bent Row, it’s good for your back and bad ass for biceps.  I also think 1 or 2 sets to failure and lifting a weight that you can only lift 5-7 times works well for me.   But, lots of stuff works in reality… if you’re getting big fast keep doing it.

  • I like to mix it up…. couple weeks on free weights,,,couple weeks on machines. Sometimes I switch gyms to get different machines:)