It seems like everyone has an opinion on this debate. Which is better- free weights or machines? I asked my trainer friends what they thought and it was pretty much split in half. One group loved free weights and the other loved machines.
Those that are just beginning to strength train, those that are rehabilitating a body part, those who want to isolate a particular muscle, and those that want to lift large amounts of weight would be better off selecting a machine. It is safer for your circumstances.
Here's why, free weights require users to have a base of strength, balance and coordination. Machines provide that balance for you. Using a machine the strength trainer can lift a weight in a relatively safe manner. The exercise is guided along a pre-set path that does not allow for unsafe movements. With free weights you are left to your own devices. Your exercise path is whatever feels best for you.
If you are setting up your own in-home gym, I would go with a set of dumbbells. They are less expensive and take up less space. Less is good. Buying an all-in-one machine may be what interests you more and that's fine. Just be sure that all of the cable lines are of strong and high quality material. Otherwise they will wear out over time.
If you want variety in your exercise program, try free weights. You can virtually do any exercise you want. You can also add in fun side kicks such as a stability ball or balance board. With machines you are limited to the one exercise it was built to perform.
In the end, the decision is yours. I think everyone has their own opinion on which is better because we all have different goals and tastes. Go with what you enjoy and prefer. Just be sure to keep your routine fresh and fun.
Copyright 2005 strength-training-woman.com
Lynn VanDyke is the proud owner of strength-training-woman.com. She is a certified personal trainer, nutritionist, and yoga instructor.