Machines vs. Free Weights


Which is better, using machines or free weights? Can I use a machine to complete your programs?

Short Answer:

While there is some merit to using machines, free weights (dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells, etc.) will provide the most bang for your overall health buck.

Longer Answer:

Machines do have their place in resistance training as they are great for those newer to exercise, providing a safe outlet to strength train. On the other end of the spectrum, machines are useful for those who need to move A LOT of weight. However, for the majority of us, emphasizing free weights would be our recommendation for several reasons:

  • Free weights allow for a more natural range of motion. When on a machine, the machine provides your range of motion through a mechanism or cable. With free weights, your body will move as freely as possible, helping you to utilize your core more, which brings us to...
  • Free weights allows for greater core activation. When on a machine, the machine provides your base of support as the weight is fixed to the machine. With free weights, you have to provide your own base of support. When using your natural range of motion more, your core comes into play, keeping you safe. And working your core is increasingly important as we age.
  • Free weights allow you to work your body more completely. We are all familiar with our larger muscle groups but we have smaller stabilizer muscles that aren't activated when using machines. With free weights, these muscles kick in more frequently, leading to a more well-rounded approach to fitness.

In regards to using machines to complete our programming, it is a little more applicable to our strength routines (FBF, TBB, Fit Mom, etc.) Even then you would still reap fuller benefits using free weights though it is a more lateral transition. However, our Metabolic Resistance Training (MRT) workouts (Apex, Belladonna, ToP, etc.) should still be done using free weights as the movements are more explosive by nature with a secondary goal of working your core throughout all movements. And lastly, these MRT workouts should be the focal point of your weekly workouts if your goal is more about losing weight and lowering your body-fat percentage. The strength workouts are great to help preserve/build muscle while switching things up but if you only had availability for one, MRTs are the way to go. 

Yours in Health & Friendship,

- The Fit Mother Project  
Customer Success Team

*DISCLAIMER: This information is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. This FAQ content is for informational purposes only.See our full terms and disclaimer here. Always talk with your healthcare provider about any questions you may have.