We have all experienced it. You walk into a gym and can’t seem to decide on the machines or the free weights. It is a common conflict that many people face. If you do not go in with a plan you can actually waste valuable gym time trying to make a choice. The thing is, both machines and free weights have their purpose whether you want a flat belly, are set on weight loss or are interested in full body toning. The key to proper body toning and muscle development is using machines and weights in conjunction with each other.
Big Bad Machines?
Let’s talk about machines first. Machines were invented to make exercise easier. Machines, which are fixed to an axis, are great for those that want to develop certain muscles. They are able to isolate muscle groups more efficiently because you are only able to move on one or two planes while the rest of the body remains static. Another advantage of machines is that they allow you to focus on the amount of effort put into an exercise because it takes care of mechanics. Since the mechanics are taken care of you do not have to worry about technique. Machines are also useful for cardio. Cardio and muscle development will result in body toning and weight loss.
Itty Bitty Free Weights
As for free weights, they have their uses as well. For starters, do not hesitate to lift heavier ladies! Most go for the 2-5 lb. weights when you should try 10-15 lbs. at least. Despite popular belief, lifting heavier will not cause you to bulk up. In fact, heavier weight lifting burns more calories and fat (especially belly fat) so you can achieve a nice flat belly. Free weights have this impact because weight training increases the amount of calories burned post workout. Training with weights also allows a natural 3 dimensional range of motion, works multiple muscle groups and avoids muscle imbalances.
Overall, machines and free weights have their purpose and one isn’t better than the other. To create the ultimate workout plan, include both. Use free weights as the foundation of your fitness plan and integrate machine work to target specific areas and get a good cardiovascular workout. Using them together will assist in weight loss and body toning. Once you find the perfect balance, you will have a fit, toned physique in no time.