It can be difficult to determine exactly which type of workout plan you should pursue. To a beginner, free weight training Vs body weight training and machine training might seem similar. After all, if you're working out, you are burning calories and building muscles.
However, there is much more to it than that. Understanding exactly what each of these exercises can offer and being aware of their disadvantages will help you select and combine the right exercises for meeting your weight loss and muscle building goals.
Free Weight Exercise Explained
Free weight training is straightforward, and it involves lifting weights attached to barbells and dumbbells. The ultimate purpose is to use that rhythmic movement to train specific muscle groups and train harder to burn calories faster.
By gradually increasing the amount of weight on your barbells, you will force your muscles to exert more effort. The body will respond by using up more protein to increase muscle density and size.
Pros and Cons
Any bodybuilder can tell you about the remarkable benefits of free weight training:
- Free weights can help you train harder by using a greater amount of resistance during your workouts
- Exercises can be adapted to target specific muscle groups
- By managing the exact amount of weight you lift, along with your reps and rest periods, you can reach specific weight lifting targets and goals more efficiently
- There is no limit to your ability to boost strength, performance, and muscle definition through these exercises
- Higher energy expenditure through increased effort makes it easier to burn calories
- Free weights also offer a greater range of movement, while maximizing your ability to increase your muscle size
In contrast with the advantages, drawbacks are few and far between:
- Free weight exercises are more difficult for beginners
- You have to be careful about using the right amount of weight–especially as a beginner.Failure to do so can lead to severe joint pain and injuries
- You can't always enjoy the freedom of training every muscle equally well
Body Weight Exercises Explained
Body weight training implies the use of your body as leverage in working all muscle groups. Your muscles don't distinguish between pushing against free weight and using your own body's weight for resistance training. As a result, body weight training can be used efficiently for muscle building.
It is quite easy to make progress as a beginner when using bodyweight exercises. Pull ups, pushups,and core training techniques can be used alternately with light cardio exercises to keep the heart pumping throughout your session.
Pros and Cons
There are plenty of benefits to be gained when you use bodyweight training:
- You have a free range of movement allowing you to train all your muscle groups
- Bodyweight training requires no expensive equipment and no barbells
- Push-ups, chin ups, and other bodyweight training exercises are considered ideal for beginners
- The exercises offer greater creative freedom, and they will allow you to learn a variety of complex, gravity-defying moves
- Those who prefer body weight training benefit from the convenience of being able to exercise anywhere they want
- Practically every exercise you try contributes to training your core
- By increasing reps after mastering a specific exercise, you can use bodyweight training to increase your endurance
You'll find there are only a few real drawbacks that could disrupt your training regimen:
- The greatest downside to body weight training is that your muscle building potential becomes limited after some time, since the weight of your body doesn't increase
- With these exercises, it can also be hard to measure your progress or aim for specific goals
- It is difficult to isolate specific muscle groups
Machine Exercises Explained
Machine exercises are meant to accomplish the same goals as free weight and body weight exercises, using specific–sometimes expensive–machines such as the power tower.
The goal is to lessen joint pain and discomfort while using the machine to target only the specific muscles and muscle groups you want. Some examples include treadmills, ab trainer machines,ellipticals, stair steppers, and rowing machines.
Pros and Cons
A few of the main advantages of machine exercises areas follows:
- A wide range of machines are available, for both muscle building and cardiovascular exercises
- Compared to free weight training, they offer improved stability and a greater ability to isolate specific muscle groups
- You can use heavier weights without any assistance
- Beginners usually do well with exercise machines, since they are easy to use
- Machines can be extremely useful in the case of older individuals and injured athletes
Here are the main shortcomings:
- Some machines are quite expensive, although you can find most of the basic ones at your local gym
- Not all of them allow for enough freedom of movement
- There is great difference between the quality level of cheaper vs. more expensive workout machines
While you can use any of these three types of training exercises, each has its own strong points and weak points. Depending on the ultimate goals you want to achieve (increasing endurance, building muscle mass, burning fat, etc), you can now make amore informed decision about which exercise to choose.