Free Weights or Machines for Weight Loss?
Free weights consist of dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, etc. Are they superior to resistance machines like the chest press machine when trying to lose weight?
The short answer is yes, and I’ll explain why.
In fact, free weights are superior to machines when it comes to building muscle as well.
There are a few reasons why this is, but the main one is that free weights force your body to use all of its stabilizing muscles during the lifting movements. This increases the efficiency your neurological system with regards to lifting weights. It also strengthens the stabilizing muscles and improves your balance and coordination.
Resistance machines take that element out of the lift. A lot of the outside stress is taken away and the muscle is more isolated. You’ll notice that you can lift a lot more weight using machine that with free weights, but that doesn’t mean it’s better for you. All it really means is that you don’t have to have good balance and/or coordination to execute the movement.
Since you’re using more muscles and exerting more effort, you end up using more energy and burning more calories when you use free weights.
Now of course, there is a time and place for machines too. If you are inexperienced to resistance training or dealing with some type of injury in which the pain is exacerbated when using free weights, then machines are the better choice.
I’m not saying machines are bad or ineffective, they’re just not as effective as free weights. Machines help build movement patterns in your central nervous system so that when you move over to free weights, you will adapt much quicker and the transition will be easier.
In the end, you don’t have to just use all free weights or all machines. You might find that you feel a certain exercise more with one over the other. Take me for example, I can’t feel anything when I do chest flyes with dumbbells, so I do chest flyes with the cable machine instead.
But sticking with mainly free weights will be the most beneficial for you and help you reach your weight loss goals faster.