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The Benefits of Free Weights for your Training Routine
When it comes to working out, there are so many tools, machines, and techniques. How do you know which one is best for you? The answer isn’t so simple since each one has their own unique advantages. However, fitness and health expert Emily Schromm shares some benefits of free weight training to help navigate the world of free weights vs machines.
Benefits of Free Weights
Decrease Imbalances- Using weight machines or barbells can lead to strength differences in each side of our body. When using these methods, it’s common for one side of the body to become more dominant and take on more of the work in an exercise. Free weight exercises allow us to load each side of our body equally, which prevents muscle strength imbalances. Often times, we don’t realize that strength imbalances are there until we incorporate free weights.
Strength Gains- Utilizing free weights to decrease imbalances will allow our weaker side to get stronger. Beyond that, free weight exercises require more control and balance. This means that more muscles are recruited to stabilize the weight which ultimately leads to more gains.
Injury Prevention- Free weight exercises are great at strengthening the body’s stabilizing muscles. These muscles play an important role in keeping your joints in place as well as supporting your body, so keeping them strong is a great way to prevent injuries.
Promotes Functional Fitness- The term functional fitness refers to exercises that have applications for everyday life activities. For example, doing exercises where you lift weights off the ground trains your body for similar movements. Performing activities like picking up a laundry basket or child becomes easier because your body is conditioned for it. Free weight exercises tend to have more real-life applications. Outside of the gym, most of the weight we lift is “free”, meaning our body needs to have strong stabilizing muscles to support the activity.
Free Weight Exercises
Free weights are ideal for working slow, controlled movements. Emily Schromm suggests incorporating exercises like dumbbell snatches, Turkish get ups, and windmills to get some of the benefits of free weights. Don’t stop there, free weights can be used to target any muscle group you want to work.
Free Weights vs Machines
Both free weight exercises and machines have their pros and cons. Weight machines can be useful for beginners for teaching proper form. Plus, weight machines can allow for higher weight volumes to be achieved. With any training routine, it’s about balance. You don’t need to go all in with free weights to take advantage of the benefits, just try incorporating some free weight training to your routine!
5 Benefits of Dumbbell Training
Most health clubs and gyms offer rows of cardio equipment, aisles of weight-training machines, stacks of free weights and specific stretch areas to help members pursue their individual goals. When it comes to fitness equipment, there is no one “best” piece of equipment. Different types of equipment are purposefully designed to achieve specific fitness outcomes.
For those with goals related to strength training, there are countless options for increasing lean muscle or adding strength. Choices include the traditional weight machines, barbells or dumbbells, as well as a wide variety of specialized equipment such as kettlebells, medicine balls, sandbags and even oversized tires. Some forms of resistance training equipment, such as barbells, are more effective for developing max strength, while weight-training machines can help increase muscle definition and lighter forms of resistance such as medicine balls and kettlebells can be useful for improving movement-specific power output. Dumbbells are often used for joint-isolation exercises such as biceps curls, chest flyes or shoulder raises. Using dumbbells for full-body, multiplanar movements, however, can provide a variety of different strength outcomes. It also offers many benefits for cardiorespiratory fitness and flexibility.