Benefits Of Weight Machines

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Wetcoaster
Wetcoaster Posts: 1,788 Member
Interesting article by James Fell. Personally I use machines but that is because of concussion issues that affect my balance. So I am unable to do much with free weights.

http://ca.askmen.com/sports/bodybuilding/benefits-of-weight-machines.html

“The statement that machines are useless is just a silly comment. It’s inane and lacks appreciation for the complexity of the adaptive responses to exercise,” Brad Schoenfeld, assistant professor of exercise science at Lehman College in New York and author of The M.A.X. Muscle Plan, told me.

Some are anti-machine because they question the functional aspect.

“Machines can promote functional improvements, and this has been displayed over and over in multiple studies,” Schoenfeld said. One example he gave was of a group of 90-year-olds who did three days a week of the often maligned leg extension. But the study revealed major strength increases, and 2 of the 10 participants ended up being able to walk without their canes as a result of this one machine exercise. How is that not functional?
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  • queenliz99
    queenliz99 Posts: 15,317 Member
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    I have joint issues and that is why I use machines. Thanks for sharing.
  • rileyes
    rileyes Posts: 1,406 Member
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    Good post.

    Some machines feel too rigid and awkward (smith machine) for me. Other machines feel good (leg press, cables). I prefer the free weights because I work more muscles in a movement than I do on a favorite machine. And I'd rather be sailing than in a gym for hours.
  • rawley69
    rawley69 Posts: 49 Member
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    Personally, never saw any real results (gainz) until I learned how to do freeweight exercises. Was scared of them. Got a good competent trainer to actually show me how to work with them. Now not so scary.
  • ArmyofAdrian
    ArmyofAdrian Posts: 177 Member
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    If machines get you into the gym, then yay machines! The people in the study were not physically capable of doing free weights, so fortunately the machine was workable for them. As long as you are consistently progressing in weight lifted or reps, you'll see results with machines. I still use cables for a couple things myself. I prefer the bar-bell for most things, though.

  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 27,992 Member
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    Wetcoaster wrote: »
    Interesting article by James Fell. Personally I use machines but that is because of concussion issues that affect my balance. So I am unable to do much with free weights.

    http://ca.askmen.com/sports/bodybuilding/benefits-of-weight-machines.html

    “The statement that machines are useless is just a silly comment. It’s inane and lacks appreciation for the complexity of the adaptive responses to exercise,” Brad Schoenfeld, assistant professor of exercise science at Lehman College in New York and author of The M.A.X. Muscle Plan, told me.

    Some are anti-machine because they question the functional aspect.

    “Machines can promote functional improvements, and this has been displayed over and over in multiple studies,” Schoenfeld said. One example he gave was of a group of 90-year-olds who did three days a week of the often maligned leg extension. But the study revealed major strength increases, and 2 of the 10 participants ended up being able to walk without their canes as a result of this one machine exercise. How is that not functional?

    Count me as another voice maligning the leg extension machine, which I was doing under a trainer's supervision. That was in 2009 and my knees have yet to fully recover.
  • sunnybeaches105
    sunnybeaches105 Posts: 2,831 Member
    edited April 2016
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    I strongly prefer free weights, but there is a definite tendency to overstate things among gym bros. Each exercise has its general pros and cons, is better performed by some rather than others (due to injuries or variations in body mechanics), and we each have to make judgments regarding how we program our workouts.

    Now, about using gloves for deadlifts . . . (Jk)

    Edit: typo
  • DavPul
    DavPul Posts: 61,406 Member
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    1. Whoever said machines are "useless"?
    2. A study with 90 old men? Was someone proposing to put those old dudes in the squat rack?
    3. Machines are fine. They have their uses. Free weights are better in almost every way but there is definitely a place for machine work.
  • MichelleLea122
    MichelleLea122 Posts: 332 Member
    edited April 2016
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    While I prefer free weights, they aren't necessarily better than machines, just different. For instance, I think machines are better at isolating the muscles, so you can really target which muscle you want to hit. In addition I think they can help with form. Like when doing shoulder flys, I actually prefer to use a machine rather than dumbbells because I have the tendency to use a lot of momentum.
  • Wetcoaster
    Wetcoaster Posts: 1,788 Member
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    DavPul wrote: »
    1. Whoever said machines are "useless"?
    2. A study with 90 old men? Was someone proposing to put those old dudes in the squat rack?
    3. Machines are fine. They have their uses. Free weights are better in almost every way but there is definitely a place for machine work.

    Some of can't use free weights. You say free weights are better in almost every way. Can you link me.
  • cgvet37
    cgvet37 Posts: 1,189 Member
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    kshama2001 wrote: »
    Wetcoaster wrote: »
    Interesting article by James Fell. Personally I use machines but that is because of concussion issues that affect my balance. So I am unable to do much with free weights.

    http://ca.askmen.com/sports/bodybuilding/benefits-of-weight-machines.html

    “The statement that machines are useless is just a silly comment. It’s inane and lacks appreciation for the complexity of the adaptive responses to exercise,” Brad Schoenfeld, assistant professor of exercise science at Lehman College in New York and author of The M.A.X. Muscle Plan, told me.

    Some are anti-machine because they question the functional aspect.

    “Machines can promote functional improvements, and this has been displayed over and over in multiple studies,” Schoenfeld said. One example he gave was of a group of 90-year-olds who did three days a week of the often maligned leg extension. But the study revealed major strength increases, and 2 of the 10 participants ended up being able to walk without their canes as a result of this one machine exercise. How is that not functional?

    Count me as another voice maligning the leg extension machine, which I was doing under a trainer's supervision. That was in 2009 and my knees have yet to fully recover.

    You were probably locking your knees out at the top. I have bad knees, and have never had pain or discomfort from doing leg extensions.
  • cgvet37
    cgvet37 Posts: 1,189 Member
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    They both have their pros and cons. I use free weights for the most part, but there are certain machines I use on a regular basis.
  • DavPul
    DavPul Posts: 61,406 Member
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    Wetcoaster wrote: »
    DavPul wrote: »
    1. Whoever said machines are "useless"?
    2. A study with 90 old men? Was someone proposing to put those old dudes in the squat rack?
    3. Machines are fine. They have their uses. Free weights are better in almost every way but there is definitely a place for machine work.

    Some of can't use free weights. You say free weights are better in almost every way. Can you link me.

    If a person can't use free weights then what's even the debate? A person can only use the best option available to them. Doesn't matter if the limitation is physical, availability, time constraint, knowledge, or whatever. No one has ever said that if a person can't use free weights they should give up and die. That article is presenting a fictional argument.

    Link you to what?
  • FooDog82
    FooDog82 Posts: 9 Member
    edited April 2016
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    Free weights are better in most cases as they allow you to move the weights in an unrestricted range of motion and you recruit more muscles by stablising the weight. That said, your body doesn't know whether you are lifting using a machine, a barbell, or a sack of potatoes - As long as you are causing the necessary amount of resistance to promote muscle growth anything will work.
  • Packerjohn
    Packerjohn Posts: 4,855 Member
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    Machines have their place in the gym, but barring individual issues, I believe most of the people considered knowledgeable in the strength and conditioning world will say most of a person's resistance training should be free weight or body weight movements.

    Take a look at pictures of where the strongest/most athletic individuals in in world train (Olympic, pro and college team weight rooms) and their programs. The emphasis is on free/body weight.

  • jimmmer
    jimmmer Posts: 3,515 Member
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    Packerjohn wrote: »
    Machines have their place in the gym, but barring individual issues, I believe most of the people considered knowledgeable in the strength and conditioning world will say most of a person's resistance training should be free weight or body weight movements.

    Take a look at pictures of where the strongest/most athletic individuals in in world train (Olympic, pro and college team weight rooms) and their programs. The emphasis is on free/body weight.

    Chinese Olympic weightlifting team - the gold standard (pun intended) - relies heavily on supplimental machine-based programming.

    I'm sure other Olympic WL programmes will eventually copy them if they want the same level of success.

  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,811 Member
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    You can have good or bad workouts using free weights, machines or even a mixture of both!
    Someone doing compound lifts on machines versus someone doing endless varieties of bicep curls with dumbbells would be an interesting comparison.

    Both have their advantages, disadvantages and suit different people, different goals, different workouts.
    Personally I like and use both plus bodyweight exercises.
  • Packerjohn
    Packerjohn Posts: 4,855 Member
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    jimmmer wrote: »
    Packerjohn wrote: »
    Machines have their place in the gym, but barring individual issues, I believe most of the people considered knowledgeable in the strength and conditioning world will say most of a person's resistance training should be free weight or body weight movements.

    Take a look at pictures of where the strongest/most athletic individuals in in world train (Olympic, pro and college team weight rooms) and their programs. The emphasis is on free/body weight.

    Chinese Olympic weightlifting team - the gold standard (pun intended) - relies heavily on supplimental machine-based programming.

    I'm sure other Olympic WL programmes will eventually copy them if they want the same level of success.

    Would you have a link that talks about how they utilize machines? I did a simple Google search and didn't see anything. Interested in seeing what they are up to.

    Thanks.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,867 Member
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    Wetcoaster wrote: »
    Interesting article by James Fell. Personally I use machines but that is because of concussion issues that affect my balance. So I am unable to do much with free weights.

    http://ca.askmen.com/sports/bodybuilding/benefits-of-weight-machines.html

    “The statement that machines are useless is just a silly comment. It’s inane and lacks appreciation for the complexity of the adaptive responses to exercise,” Brad Schoenfeld, assistant professor of exercise science at Lehman College in New York and author of The M.A.X. Muscle Plan, told me.

    Some are anti-machine because they question the functional aspect.

    “Machines can promote functional improvements, and this has been displayed over and over in multiple studies,” Schoenfeld said. One example he gave was of a group of 90-year-olds who did three days a week of the often maligned leg extension. But the study revealed major strength increases, and 2 of the 10 participants ended up being able to walk without their canes as a result of this one machine exercise. How is that not functional?

    I don't think I've ever heard anyone say that machines are useless...and yeah, that would be a pretty silly comment. Machines have their place and I use machines extensively in my workouts. They are sub-optimal as a primary emphasis of one's training but that is a far cry from "useless." They are great for secondary work...assistance work and isolation work...but at the same time, yeah...people have to do what they have to do. Using machines as the primary focus of one's training, while sub-optimal, is about a gazillion times better than doing nothing at all.

    As functionality goes, I've also never heard of anyone saying that one can't make functional improvements or gain strength, etc using machines. When people talk about compound movements using free weights being "functional lifts", I've always interpreted that to mean that they are functional in respect to how our bodies actually work...most anything we do requires our muscles to work together as a collective, not in isolation...so training our bodies in the same manner as we use them would be optimal.

    I'm sure all of us do things in our various training regimens that are sub-optimal in one way or another due to time, physical limitations, weather, etc. Having to use a stationary bike in the winter to get in my miles is sub-optimal to actually being out on my bike...but it's a far cry better than doing nothing. Someone using a treadmill to train for a marathon would be sub-optimal...but they're still going to be able to go run their race in the end.
  • DavPul
    DavPul Posts: 61,406 Member
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    sijomial wrote: »
    You can have good or bad workouts using free weights, machines or even a mixture of both!
    Someone doing compound lifts on machines versus someone doing endless varieties of bicep curls with dumbbells would be an interesting comparison.

    Both have their advantages, disadvantages and suit different people, different goals, different workouts.
    Personally I like and use both plus bodyweight exercises.

    How would that be an interesting comparison? Curls vs compound lifts? Those are completely different things.

    And if the person's goals was simply to have bigger biceps, the one doing endless db Curls is gonna win.
  • DavPul
    DavPul Posts: 61,406 Member
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    jimmmer wrote: »
    Packerjohn wrote: »
    Machines have their place in the gym, but barring individual issues, I believe most of the people considered knowledgeable in the strength and conditioning world will say most of a person's resistance training should be free weight or body weight movements.

    Take a look at pictures of where the strongest/most athletic individuals in in world train (Olympic, pro and college team weight rooms) and their programs. The emphasis is on free/body weight.

    Chinese Olympic weightlifting team - the gold standard (pun intended) - relies heavily on supplimental machine-based programming.

    I'm sure other Olympic WL programmes will eventually copy them if they want the same level of success.

    I can definitely see using machines as a supplement. It's basically how I use them. Once I've exhausted myself on free weights I'll keep the party going with machine work. Leg press after squats, for example. Let's me keep working the larger muscles of the leg while giving my back a break.

    But I don't know if I'd call that "relying heavily". But I'm not familiar with the Chinese program you're referring to so I don't know how similar my comparison is.