What are free weights?
Free weights are dumbbells, barbells all all other forms of movable weight that offers resistance.
The free weights section of your gym is where you should be heading eventually to get the best workout. This is because when using these weights, your body has to work much harder to keep itself balanced and stabilised.
Free weights offer the weight lifter strength training at its purest for the fastest and most beneficial gains.
Free weights can often be used instead of machines to work out the same muscles.
For example, the leg press works the same muscles as the squat but holds the body in a stable, seated position so it is much easier than performing the squat as a pure, free weight exercise using a barbell.
Are free weights better than weight machines?
The body has to use more muscle groups in order to keep stable when using free weight exercises, so this offers a much better workout.
The free weight version of an exercise is always harder because it requires more coordination and strength to perform.
This means you will often be able to lift more using a machine than you would if performing the same exercise with a dumbbell or barbell. The machine takes some of the effort away.
The importance of good form
Beginners and less experienced weightlifters are advised to stick to using the weight machines until they become more proficient and have better technique.
Free weights can be used as a progression in a training routine, for when a weightlifter becomes stronger and more experienced.
It is crucial to pay attention to your weightlifting technique when using dumbbells and barbells rather than machines.
Good form is always much more important than the load of the weight lifted, both for developing strength and muscle and improving your weightlifting.