“I’m all for machines…once they come up with one that can really surpass free weights. They haven’t. They probably never will. You’d be better off trying to lift the damn machine and carry it around the gym…God knows you’d get a better workout from it.”
- Vince Gironda, 1949
I wish our culture took this message to heart when it was spoken 60 years ago. We would have saved ourselves from so much trouble.
Weight machines are extremely efficient contraptions, meaning YOU don’t have to be efficient to use them effectively. All of those cables, pulleys, and points of leverage make it fairly easy to elevate the weight stacks – with or without magnetic add-ons. We all know that most people can lift more weight on a machine exercise than during a free weight exercise, but why is that? It’s because with a machine, you are only pushing against weights, NOT controlling them. The pads, the handles, the seat adjustments all contribute to requiring less efficiency from your body – because the machine handles some of the workload for you. Essentially, training on a weight machine means that you’re training your body to become less efficient.
By using a machine, you are dumbing down your nervous system. Can you tell that I don’t like machines? I do think they serve a purpose, and there is definitely value in training on a machine, but only in special circumstances like being a complete beginner to strength training or when in a rehabilitation program with a qualified physical therapist. If you’re not in one of those two situations, steer clear!
Free weights are an excellent tool for strength training purposes, and they rest much higher on the hierarchy of strength training tools than machines do. But, then again, not all tools were created equal.
Continue reading Machines VS Free Weights – the Hierarchy of Strength Training Tools