Free Weights or Resistance Machines? How to Make Your Workout Top-Notch

March 20, 2017 | 2,556 views

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An advantage of a strength training routine is the freedom to use different types of equipment to achieve optimal results. Free weights and resistance machines are most commonly used for this purpose, but the question that arises is how will you know which one to choose?

Tale of the Tape: Free Weights Versus Resistance Machines

Remember that free weights and resistance machines both have pros and cons. Free weights are ideal for those who don’t want to break the bank, since they’re inexpensive and likely to be readily available at any sports equipment store.

Because they’re compact, you can keep them in your office, living room or car, and take them to your workouts as needed. Free weights allow you to move in multiple directions: forward, backward, laterally and vertically, mimicking how your body is supposed to move in daily life.

There is also the constant need to ensure that you stabilize its weight while lifting it, therefore engaging more of your muscles. If you don’t maintain the proper form, you might injure yourself.

On the other hand, resistance machines are for people who want to focus more on the effort instead of the mechanics of the movement. You could lift heavier weights and target specific muscle groups with these machines that are fixed to an axis that will enable you to move one or two planes.

However, this limitation in movement can lead to ankle or knee injuries if other muscles are ignored in favor of only working out larger muscle groups. Plus, unlike free weights, these machines aren’t portable. They can only be kept in your home if you have enough space, so going to the gym is a must if you want to use these.

Ideally, a balanced approach between free weights and resistance machines works best — one is not greater than the other. If you’re not sure how to strike that perfect balance, you can consult a fitness expert or listen to your body to make sure you end up choosing the right equipment.

Slowing Speed Can Deliver Maximum Effect

Choosing a workout regimen can be quite difficult, given the numerous options available. But I have made this task easier for you — I recommend opting for these high-intensity workouts that will give you a good sweat and set you on your way to better health.

Super slow weight training enables your muscle, at the microscopic level, to gain access to the highest amount of cross-bridges between the protein filaments that produce muscle movement. This changes your strength training routine into a high-intensity exercise. Weights, resistance machines, bands, recumbent bikes and/or elliptical machines are often utilized for this workout. Bodyweight exercises can also be performed.

Intensity is integral to making super slow weight training work for you — make sure that your workout is intensely high that you already experience muscle fatigue. Once you reach this level, you may reduce the frequency of strength training sessions.

A rule of thumb is that if you have a high fitness level, you should do super slow weight training less often. If you’re just starting out, allot two days for your body to rest, recover and repair. Don’t work out more than twice or thrice a week and don’t focus on the same muscle groups each time.

The Peak Fitness method is also a good choice. By following this type of interval or anaerobic training, you alternate short bursts of high-intensity exercise with gentle recovery periods. Unlike aerobic cardio exercises, Peak Fitness engages the fast and super-fast twitch muscle fibers, and boosts the metabolic systems in your body.

Peak Fitness exercises are also beneficial in helping slow down aging and enhancing longevity, because the movement stimulates the production of human growth hormones (HGH), or the fitness hormone, and decrease age-related telomere shortening in your cells.

You can try the Peak Fitness on different cardio equipment, such as the recumbent bike and the elliptical machine. Sprinting is another way that you can practice Peak Fitness, although it’s only recommended for people who are ready for a more challenging high-intensity workout.

Sprinting isn’t for people who aren’t in the peak physical condition and haven’t undergone special training for sprinting. Sprinting on a treadmill is far from ideal as well, since this can increase your chances of falling off or getting flung from the machine, raising your risk for injury. This exercise is best done outdoors and with adequate warm-ups beforehand.

Healthy Eating Habits Complement Physical Activity

Physical activity is but one part of a healthy diet, so you should consume a nutritious diet not just to maintain your figure, but reap other health benefits too. Eating only fresh, organically grown vegetables and fruits, moderate portions of grass-fed meats and substantial quantities of healthy fats (such as grass-fed butter and raw nuts) is definitely the way to go.

Fasting intermittently is important as well. This entails restricting eating time for only a few hours a day, while fasting during the rest. There are many fasting schedules you can try, but the most common one, called intermittent fasting or Peak Fasting, involves eating only for six to eight hours, while you fast for the rest of the day. Some of the health benefits linked to intermittent fasting include:

Lowering oxidative stress and inflammation Reducing risk for cancer and neurogenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s
Extending lifespan Enhancing cellular repair and waste removal processes
Improving insulin and leptin sensitivity Retraining of your body to effectively burn fat for fuel

Choosing between free weights and resistance machines is a matter you’ll have to decide for yourself. While there are no right or wrong answers, there are pros and cons that you have to ponder on before going on your fitness journey. Discover more about the potential benefits of weights and resistance machines, as well as the importance of constant exercise, in this article "The Pros and Cons of Free Weights versus Resistance Machines."

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