Developing an exercise routine requires a good deal of decision making. You can’t just jump into a gym and decide to work out, you need to figure out exactly what that work out is going to consist of. If your aims for working out are building strength, then you probably need to develop a weight training routine. You could use the machines at the gym, but it might be a better idea to just use a set of dumbbells. Free weights have a number of significant advantages over fixed machine weights.
The best thing about free weights is that they’re cheap. One single purchase of ten or twenty dollars gets you the same amount of benefit as a monthly gym membership fee. A multiple use weight machine would easily run into the thousands, and there’s really nothing that you can do with the machine that you can’t with dumbbells. Don’t think that spending more is necessarily better; you can be just as fit with barely any cost at all as you would by spending a fortune.
Not only are free weights cheap, they are small and easily moved around. You can tuck a set away in your closet, or bring them around in your car’s trunk. Buying an exercise machine requires dedicating a large part of your home to housing the machine, but the free weights aren’t even noticeable. That also means that you can work out just about wherever you want; you can make your bedroom your gym, take them out to your back yard and do your exercise there, or bring them with you on a hike and do some exercise in nature.
Range of Movement
The biggest problem with the bulky weight machines that you’ll see at the gym is that they only allow you to move along one fixed path. When you do that, you can only work out a specific set of muscles, and you also risk the possibility of hurting yourself with such rigid movements. Free weights, on the other hand, allow you to move in a much more free and natural manner. This means that not only can you work out with more natural movements; you also can work out more muscles at a time. That means that working out with free weights is more efficient than any other forms weight training.
Dumbbells can be used for just about any exercise, just about anywhere. You can use just one set of dumbbells to do exercises working out almost every muscle group in the body. Basically, a single set of free weights can accomplish just as much as an entire building full of weight machines. More, in fact, because you can also incorporate free weights into cardio exercises. No matter what it is that you’re trying to accomplish with your workout, a set of dumbbells will be able to help you.
Naturally Improve Balance
The increased range of movement that you get with free weights has a number of benefits that you might not have even thought of. For instance, studies have shown that people who work out with free weights on average have better balance than those who use workout machines. That’s because, when you lift free weights, you need to utilize a number of different muscles to keep the weight from moving around. Those secondary muscles, known as stabilizing muscles, help keep you balanced, and working out with free weights strengthens all of your muscles, not just the targeted ones.
Burn More Calories
Moving more muscles means doing more work. Weight machines take a lot of that out of the equation, but every bit of you is managing the free weight when you’re lifting them. That means that more energy is being put into the process of working out, which translates into more calories burned. A comprehensive free weight exercise will not only tone more muscles than you would get from weight machines, it will also help you lose more weight.
Reduce Chance of Injury
Those stabilizing muscles do serve an important purpose in your life, beyond just keeping you balanced and more steady. When all of your muscles grow together, they’re able to work well together, but when you grow one of those muscles more than the ones it works with, you increase your chance of accidentally injuring yourself, not only while working out, but while doing anything physical at all. The natural movements promoted by free weight exercise will also keep you safer and healthier in the end.
Fits into Natural Movements
Weight machine exercises, by their rigid nature that we’ve already discussed, keep you in an individual, one or two dimensional path of motion. Very rarely do we ever move like that in real life. That means that those movements that you train with on a machine rarely actually come up in real life. Some guys may be working out in order to pose as a bodybuilder, but for the most of us, we just want to be healthier and able to move around and do stuff better. Free weights improve your ability to do stuff like climb trees or play sports or push cars stuck in ditches far more than any amount of weight machines can. And that’s not even considering the number one reason to use free weights.
Free Weights Make You Stronger
Numerous studies have shown that free weights make you stronger, and it’s not even close. On average, people who use free weights to work out are as much as 50% stronger than those who use machines. All the other benefits here are significant, but none so much as this. Free weights are objectively better at making you into a stronger man; there’s no competition. When you’re talking about weight training, that’s huge. Why would you go with an uncomfortable and fixed weight machine, when it’s easier, cheaper, and more effective to buy a set of free weights and work out with those?