Free Weights v Exercise Machines

exercise machine - woman on exercise machine

Are Free Weights Better Than Machines?

This is a question that many women ask, and there is no simple answer.

Both free weights and exercise machines have their pros and cons, so it ultimately comes down to what you prefer.

Here are some of the pros and cons of each option, so you can make a more informed decision about what’s right for your needs.

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Free Weights

Most people who work out daily in the present times tend to rely more on machines than free weights like dumbbells and barbells.

free weights - woman holding dumbell

The latter is considered old-fashioned.

If you are one of these people, it is time to reconsider your opinion by looking at some of the pros of using free weights.


  • Free weights require very little space to be stored and are also more affordable. If you have a home gym, storing free weights might be a more practical thing to do.
  • Free weights are known for their versatile functions when training your muscles. So you can use them to do various creative and beneficial exercises.
  • With free weights, you can build more core body strength
  • If you are looking to achieve weight loss or increase in body size, etc., free weights are the best
  • Free weights allow the working of the smaller muscles in your body, which tend to get neglected


  • Constantly changing the weights on dumbbells or barbells can be time-consuming and risky if the weights slide down and hit your feet.
  • If too many people use free weights in a small space, it can be quite challenging. Exercises involving the use of free weights require some amount of space.
  • Isolating specific muscles completely with free weights can be a challenging task.

Exercise Machines

Exercise machines also have their share of pros and cons.

The new generation going into physical training tends to be drawn more towards weight machines.


  • If your goal includes isolating and focussing on specific muscles or groups of muscles, exercise machines are a better idea.
  • When many people are working out in a small space, machines can be more beneficial than free weights. Thus, they are an efficient use of space.
  • Machines do not require much manual work when it comes to the set-up and even changing the load is easier and much more efficient.
  • Exercise machines are a safer option for novices at the beginning stages of their training period. However, it requires the proper guidelines and instructions.


  • Movements done with free weights are more functional whereas, those done with exercise machines are not as natural.
  • You will find it extremely challenging to work on stabilizer and helper muscles with machines.
  • Overuse injuries are common when it comes to using exercise machines
  • Exercise machines are designed keeping in mind an average-sized human, which can be a problem for very short or tall people.
  • Every machine serves a specific purpose, and you will require several different machines to get a full-body workout.
  • Exercise machines can drive a hole through your pocket.
  • You cannot achieve high-speed weight training with these machines.


With so many factors to keep in mind, it can be a hard decision that one has to take while choosing between free weights and exercise machines.

Both have their merits and demerits.

It largely depends on the fitness goals you have set for yourself.

Depending on that, you can choose which will aid you better in achieving those goals.

It also depends on your abilities and the stage of training you are at.

Seek advice from expert trainers to know more.

Read more about the Best Home Gym Equipment For Women here.


Looking for more inspiration?

The sky’s the limit when it comes down to what you could have in your own home gym.

You may need little more than a fitness ball, aerobic stepper, yoga mat, workout DVD and some hand weights.

One of the best things about having a home gym is that you can customize it to fit your needs.

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