Machines vs. Free Weights

Which is better, using machines or free weights?

The answer depends on a few things such as your training experience, fitness level, goals, injuries or limitations to name a few.

Let’s take a look at each of the modes individually to see what matches up to where you are at with your fitness right now.


For the most part we recommend every member start with working on machines. Machines are a great way to safely introduce strength training and begin to build a strength base.

Because the machines only allow for a very specific movement it helps to ensure safety as well as that you will be engaging the correct muscles and therefore strengthening the right muscles. You do still have to make sure that you are performing the exercise correctly and pay attention to your form, but it is significantly easier to perform the exercises correctly on machines.

Machines are also excellent for isolating the muscle group you are working. The machines are a great tool for anyone at any stage of their fitness journey.

Free Weights

Free weights are more challenging. Unlike on the machine where you typically are confined to a specific movement, free weights require stabilization from other muscle groups to keep the correct movement and therefore makes the movement more challenging.

Free weights also translate to activities of daily living better. In every day life your movements will require some amount of stabilization from your muscles which training with free weights will help to improve.

The downside to free weights is that they can lead to injury more easily if the exercises are not done correctly.

In conclusion, one is not better than the other. They are different and depending on where you are in your fitness currently will be the best indicator of which is best for you.

If you are new to exercise or are starting up again after being off for a while, definitely start out on the machines, get your body used to strength training movements and build a solid strength base.

Once you have been on the machines for a while and have gained more strength, more confidence in the movements and in the gym overall, start to challenge yourself by incorporating more free weight exercises.

Don’t be afraid of the free weights. As I said earlier, the free weights translate better into everyday movements. Also, you should be continually challenging yourself, and progressing from machines to incorporating free weights is a great way to add a new challenge. That’s what it’s all about. Challenging yourself to get stronger, build more confidence and achieve and maintain a superior quality of life, whatever that means to you.

If you are unsure of exactly how to get started with strength training on the machines or how to start incorporating more free weights into your routine, we can help with that! That is what we are here for!