The eternal question in seemingly all workouts: free weights or machines? Which is better? Is one more likely to cause injury? I’ve heard personal trainers make some very unbacked claims regarding both. So let’s get out the good word!
The bare truth of it is that neither machines or weights are inherently worse for you or better for you. What is most important is which is more accessible to you, and which fits your goals better.
There are some truths about the supposed negatives of weight machines. The theory is because the machine controls your planes of movement, the smaller stabilizing muscles get less of a workout on any given lift. While this does tend to have a little bit less carry over for people working into athletics, it does not necessarily mean you should avoid the machines altogether when working out, it just means if you plan on doing athletics you should also dedicate some part of your routine to working those stabilizers and doing dynamic sport movements!
There are also some similar truths about the negatives of free weights. Because small stabilizers are being worked, we do need to pay attention to form and weight carefully. If we don’t pay attention those muscles could be overworked. But, with a good coach and by paying good attention to how our body feels in our lifts, these can be just as safe and in some cases may allow you to get more done because you might be able to spend less time on those additional stabilizing exercises if performing the right lifts, although that really only matters if you need to extensively work these groups to fit your goals!
At the end of the day, any rounded program that is well designed will work our bodies progressively and in a manner that targets all muscle groups big and small! Regardless of if you use machines or free weights, you can still get a great workout in with good programming. So the end question is: which do you prefer? Answer that, and you’ve probably got the answer of which is better for you!