Machines vs Free Weights

Hey hey,
So at the moment I lift using machines such as pulldown, leg press, extension and a lot more. I am just aiming to preserve as much muscle as possible while losing. Is it okay to just use machines? I don't feel comfortable or confident enough to try free weight lifting at the moment..


  • Horrorfox
    Horrorfox Posts: 204 Member
    If there was one exercise I could recommend that you use free weights with, is the squat. If you don't have someone you know who can show you proper form, I would suggest spending the money and take one personal training session. It's seriously invaluable doing real squats. It'll give you killer legs, a great looking butt, and your core will be solid. On top of that, it'll boost all your other lifts in weight.
  • keithcw_the_first
    keithcw_the_first Posts: 382 Member
    With machines, you lose out on engaging some of the stabilizing muscles.

    That's not necessarily bad, but most people recommend a free weight program since it engages more of your body on any given exercise.

    This is not to say that machines are bad.

    The free weight area *can* be intimidating, but people there are mostly focused on their form and finishing their sets. Try something simple at first, maybe tack it on to the end of your machine workout.
  • whitneyrabbott
    whitneyrabbott Posts: 21 Member
    If you have a friend who is willing to go with you that's helpful! That's how I got started in this area!
  • IsaackGMOON
    IsaackGMOON Posts: 3,358 Member
    I prefer to stick with free weights (I only really use barbells as I do Stronglifts 5x5). As @keithcw_the_first said, machines do make you lose out on some of the stabilizing muscles. That's not saying they're bad, they're not bad for hitting specific muscle groups.

    I would really recommend using free weights instead. You'll probably gain more strength due to stabilizing muscles being utilized more.

    I was scared of the weight room too. I didn't go in it at first, I just used machines. But I went when it was quiet purposely to get in and have a go... people really don't care what you're doing to be honest. Unless you're about to bench 305 or something no one really cares.
  • jonnyman41
    jonnyman41 Posts: 1,031 Member
    I would also recommend booking a one off pt session as with free weights you can do lots of compound exercises so you work more parts of your body at the same time so you can spend less time in the gym or alternatively make quicker progress
  • QueenKristine77
    QueenKristine77 Posts: 67 Member
    i only use free weights since i work out at home. I dont think i would use the machines even if i did have a gym membership. I like to do circuits and full body exercises with weights. I can bang out a workout in less than an hour
  • Marcus_2015
    Marcus_2015 Posts: 119 Member
    Machines are fine. Of course it also depends on your goals.

    You can do some free weight excercises without going to heavy... no need for a partner unless you are going to exhaustion or really heavy.

    Try to work in some dumbells for arms (bis tris and shoulders), and light barbell work for bench pressing. Squats are good but you need very good form.

  • shellma00
    shellma00 Posts: 1,684 Member
    I feel the same way you do..
  • DennyB1964
    DennyB1964 Posts: 31 Member
    Machines will work, but you really do engage more muscles using free weights because you have to stabilize your body while it's in motion.

    I almost exclusively use machines, but that's because my joints aren't stable and can pop out and back in again. It's not safe in my case, other than dumbbells with no one nearby. I'm hoping I get my muscles to a point where they hold everything in place better, but I don't know. I would prefer using free weights. But machines aren't bad.
  • foursirius
    foursirius Posts: 321 Member
    If your goal is to just lose weight and keep your muslce mass that will be more of a diet thing. If you built your muscles by doing machines then you can preserve them using them as well. I'm not a fan but to each their own.
  • BeginnersBootcamp
    BeginnersBootcamp Posts: 90 Member
    Machines are a great place to start for confidence and stability but weights "cheat" (in a good way!) By making other muscle groups work to keep you steady and sturdy. Its like bonus micro - workouts :)