If you have decided to set up a home gym and are looking into weight options, you will come across two options: weight machines and free weights. They both offer their pros and cons and it is important to look into them to decide the best one for you. Here are some considerations to make when making your selection.
The Cost of the Items
Free weights tend to cost less than weight machines but this depends on the amount of weights you buy. There are many different options for free weights, including various types of weights and more sizes. If you keep buying free weights to make up the amount that you would on a weight machine, you could find that you spend more money over the long term.
What Is Your Experience?
How much experience do you have with weight lifting? Do you know the right positions to avoid injury? Have you used free weights in the past? The benefit of weight machines is that they are designed for novice users as well as those with experience. The machines make sure that your body is in the right position before starting, which will help to reduce the risk of injury. There are also stickers on the machine to instruct you on how to use them.
Do You Train with Others?
This will partially depend on the type of free weights that you want, but if you train alone it is best to opt for a weight machine. The weight machines offer the safety of cables to prevent you from getting stuck under the weights. There is a danger of barbells as you could become stuck when you become too fatigued to push the weight up onto the holder; these are best used with a spotter.
If you have others in the house who trains with you, you could look into free weights. It makes your exercises more sociable and you could gain more from it.
How Much Weight?
Free weights allow you to keep adding weights on, so you could build more muscle than with machines. Weight machines will be limited to a certain amount and you cannot increase that. However, you will need to think whether you really need to increase the amount of weight over the maximum a weight machine sets. This will depend on the type of training that you will be doing and the outcome that you want.
Focusing Your Weight Training
Weight machines allow you to focus your weight training on specific areas of the body. One machine will do one area of the body – and some will only work on one specific muscle group. This is where the machines can become more expensive though as you will need to find various machines to make sure that you cover all areas that you want to work on.
The Amount of Space You Have
Finally, think about the amount of space that you have in your home. If you have a basement or a garage that you can use for your home gym, weight machines may be an option. However, they are designed for much larger spaces and your spare room is unlikely to be enough. Free weights are perfect for those with little room and need to store the equipment under the bed or in a cupboard until the next use.
Weight machines do offer many benefits but so do free weights. Before deciding on purchasing one over the other, take the time to think about your specific needs. This helps you to spend your money wisely.
Richard Aldington has worked in the fitness sector for five years and is a qualified aerobics instructor. He enjoys offering tips for people buying weight machines and free weights, including finding the best selector pins and parts.