Body Weight, Machines Or Free Weights :
Which One Should You Choose?
If you are new to strength training, no doubt you are feeling overwhelmed at the many options available to you. There are gyms, do-it-yourself home programs, athletics, and exercise machines. Where do you start?
At first, you must define your goals and your strategy. For instance, there is strength training and cardio vascular training. There are also "sports", like weightlifting, power-lifting, strongman and bodybuilding. Strength training basically means training your body through "resistance" and using this resistance of muscular contraction to build not only your body but also your strength, endurance and the size of your muscles.
Strength Training Defined
A strength training session is made up of various exercises and regimens. Depending on the results desired, the individual can select the type of rep (repetitive movement), the number of reps, sets of reps, tempo and force. A regular routine of strength training, along with a recovery period and a planned diet, can directly affect a person's abilities. Not all regimens lead to the same thing; an athlete can build strength, endurance, size or shape, or a combination with a carefully planned workout. Proper exercise, with accurately performed moves, overloads a group of muscles and causes muscle tissue and fiber tearing, as well as rebuilding. During the repair process (in which the person rests) muscles increase in size.
There are three basic concepts in training to understand--weight training, resistance training and isometric training. Weight training refers to exercises involving weight stacks, plates or dumbbells; using the science of gravity, you can overload your muscles causing a size increase. Resistance training involves elastic/hydraulic "resistance" that opposes muscle contraction.
Both weight training and resistance provide unique challenges. Weight training provides resistance at the joint angle as soon as the movement begins. Hence, the muscle must overpower the weight's mass. Elastic resistance provides greater opposition at the end of the movement, whereas hydraulic resistance has more versatility. Resistance training involves the body moving against the force caused by the resistance. Isometric exercises are exercises that involve the body part holding still and strong against the generated force.
Body Weight Training
It is important to understand the dynamics of strength training, as to its effect on the body, before you approach machines vs. free weights. Another alternative to seriously consider is using your own body weight for strength training. Bodyweight exercises are usually associated with cardio training, but can also be used to build bigger muscles and increase strength.
Let's start with the benefits and drawbacks of bodyweight training. Bodyweight training is obviously advantageous to someone who can't afford weight training equipment or a gym membership. It also is preferable for individuals who have been previously injured by weight lifting equipment machines, or who experience frequent soreness. Bodyweight training leads to more balance in terms of cardio vascular training as well as body flexibility. Bodyweight training is also "scalable" in that you simply add weights to your arms or legs whenever you feel the need to increase the intensity. Popular bodyweight rep moves include push-ups, pull-ups and sit-ups.
The inherent flaw of bodyweight exercise is that the weight always stays the same. While you can add small weights to your arms and legs, no one can realistically add 200 pounds to his or her back without risking serious injury. This does make bodyweight training slightly less effective than other methods of training at keeping up a high intensity level.
Weight Machines and Weight Lifting
Weight machines have their following and this is because of the high-powered support they provide. In fact, it's very popular among new bodybuilders or strength-trainers because of their support system. You don't get this type of support when you only do bodyweight training. Machines are easy to use and work according to a fixed rhythm. They can help novices to keep their form and save a great deal of time. (Changing weights is time consuming!)
The flaw of a weight machines is that it is too supportive; so much so that you will actually use fewer muscle groups simultaneously. The less muscle groups you work out, the less calories you burn. In fact, few machines work out the entire body. They may also contribute to uneven workouts, as they do not allow you to adjust movement patterns for your weaknesses (i.e. one arm stronger than the other one)
Free weights are the favorite choice for many individuals because they offer highly effective training, versatility, whole body workouts, the ability to customize a workout for your weaknesses, and natural movements. The disadvantage, besides time, is in learning how to use the system and a slight risk of injury. Try comparing all three types of weight training discipline. Start out with bodyweight training, sample a machine at the gym and then sample a weight lifting system. Feel the difference and make a budget-conscious and body-conscious selection.
If you want to know how to get ripped, cut and buff without counting calories, turning into gym rats or pushing through the pain, then I'd highly recommend checking out Ripped Cut Buff - The Total Transformation Program. read more...- Shannon Clark