Monday, October 12, 2009

Free Weights vs Machines

One thing I really don't understand is this new piece of useless equipement we just got at our work gym. A Powertec Workstation. Starting off I can see how someone would go ga-ga-goo-goo over this gizmo - but I really don't see the benefit of an exercise contraption such as this gizmo has to offer, unless you're seriously into bodybuilding.

I honestly don't see the benefits especially when you use the more functional goal approach to training.

Two things I've learned that you can't go wrong with and can take to the bank with regards to training equipment:

1) Going gymless and using your own body weight. This is THE ultimate free weight that's out there for us to use that requires NO EQUIPMENT. There isn't anything like Bodyweight Exercises like pull ups, bodyweight squats, push ups, mountain climbers and the classic variation of burpees.

2) Free Weights - the Olympic Bar, the Dumbell, Medicine Balls and Kettlebells - anything that requires you to the three planes of motion as well as usage of the core. You can work for power, explosiveness, functional strength and core all with these essential must haves. People downplay functional strength; don't know why. I like the ability to need to stabilize and control the barbell, Kettlebell or Dumbell in all three planes of motion - in certain exercises - it's just like what an athlete needs to instill in his training approaches to be effective on the playing field.

There's nothing that allows you to "freely move" on the 3 planes of motion (Sagittal, Transverse, Coronal) like those pieces of equipment mentioned can. Again, unless you're into body building where machines are great for isolation exercises and to focus on certain muscle fibers for growth - machines aren't a bad thing all together.

Not canning machines but I think a majority of my co workers don't see the benefits of actual free weight and bodyweight - not assuming here or trying to prove a point to anyone that free weight rules the earth - but the reality is just that - you don't need to go fancy with workouts. The basics always works. I'm not a fitness expert...I don't get paid to do that, but knowing what works and what doesn't really makes a big difference.


Smoketheblowfish said...

Andy, that machine looks like something from a Terminator movie. I guess machines are okay if you have 3 hours to work on each isolated muscle. I suppose machines help people who live in a world where everything is linear...every movement is in a straight line with no lateral movement whatsoever.

You know I still go to the gym right? Funny that I do mostly bodyweight circuits. For some reason, getting into my car and driving 3-4 miles makes me believe that I have a vested interest (once my foot hits the pedal).

Sorry, back to topic...

Dumbells, Kettlebells, Bodyweight exercises, Stability Balls, medicine balls, and a jump rope. Like you, I know that is all we really need to excel past the limitation of fixed weighting systems (machines). We got the proof right?!!!

good luck converting your co-workers


Roundballnz said...

Good stuff guys - getting more reflection of the times, when we look for a machine to do everything .... how many homes don't have a dishwasher/microwave in them ? .... need to get back basics & keep it simple

Mike you crack me up as always - "that machine looks like something from a Terminator movie"