As stated in mistake number one resistance training is crucial to your success no matter what your fitness or weight loss goal might be. Any form of resistance training like free weights, bodyweight, resistance bands, and weight machines can help you a great deal. Unfortunately, when people join a gym they are usually always set up on the weight machines. Now don’t get me wrong, someone who is just beginning resistance training using the machines might actually be good for them to get them comfortable isolating certain muscle groups and learning the movements safely and effectively to start. However, I see way too many people depending machines as their only source of resistance training for months and even years.
The benefits of weight machines are:
1) They are great for isolating muscle groups
2) They are usually safe and stable for beginners to learn the movements
3) They can help you increase strength at first
The Major disadvantages of weight machines:
1) They use the same path of motion over and over and can lead to connective tissue damage because they are putting stress on a single joint.
2) They don’t usually activate the stomach and core muscles, and stabilizer muscles you use in the real world correctly or efficiently because they are too supportive and stable.
3) Only work one muscle at a time
Even though using weight machines have their benefits and disadvantages in simple they are still not the most effective or most efficient way to see the best results. When using weight machines most seem to focus on just the movements and not the actual muscles they are working. I always find it humorous when I ask someone the routine they are doing and the can show the movement they do but cannot tell me the muscle they are working. (ie. I do this one, and this one) Ninety five percent of the clients I work I will start them out using their bodyweight, dumbbells, resistance bands, cables, and the stability ball.
Why do I feel it’s crucial for people to get off the machines? If you think how you move in the real world you walk, run, get out of bed, squat to pick something or a small child off the ground, push a lawn mower, pull on a car door, shovel snow, put something on a shelf over your head. Most sit in a chair or desk all day at work and never use their core muscles (your stomach, lower back, pelvis muscles). Why would you go to the gym and sit down again and train your body the same way? If you want to see the best possible results in how your body looks and feels, and performs every day then you need to get off the weight machines and challenge your body with more free motion natural movements.
The advantages of body/free weight training are the following:
1) If used properly will strengthen your entire body as a whole. Free weights and bodyweight training will strengthen your core (your body’s center of gravity) and work all the stabilizers muscles in your body because these muscles must stabilize the free motion of the weight and body. This will allow your body to move naturally through every plain of motion, like squatting, pushing, pulling, and rotating.
2) They will be easier and safer on your connective tissue and joints. While most weight machines are single joint exercises because you are using a stabilized piece of metal. Free motion exercises work multiple joints to help stabilize the weight there for will put less stress on connective tissue.
3) Will make you work harder and help you burn more calories. Studies show your body burns more calories in a standing and unstable environment.
4) Are more versatile and will allow you to have more variety because you will be able to do unlimited amounts of exercises with very little equipment.
In summary any resistance training is beneficial however if you get dependent on only using weight machines you are doing your body a disservice and you will probably never reach your full potential in regards to fat loss, strength, and positive changes in body composition.
GET OFF THE MACHINES AND TRAIN YOUR BODY THE WAY IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE TRAINED!
Look For Mistake #3 “Doing Resistance Training and Cardio in the Wrong Order” coming soon!
Your Fitness and Nutrition Coach,