Weight training : machines VS dumbells.

  • disasterpiece

    Posts: 2991

    Feb 27, 2012 4:57 AM GMT
    Lately, I've been trying new workout routines and most of them include free dumbell exercices instead of the use of machines. In my gym, there are boths.

    For example, my program wants me to do dumbell chest press. I realize they want both my pecs to work separately, but my gym also as a machine for which the 2 handles are working on two different sent of wires. I'd say the only difference is the stability of the movement.

    I was wandering if there is an actual difference between a workout with dumbells and one practiced on a machine with basically the same movement ?

    The thing is, I dislocated my right shoulder twice, and I feel that working with dumbells is very unstable and has a high risk of causing a recurrent dislocation.

    What do you think?
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    Feb 27, 2012 5:20 AM GMT
    I mix and match my routines using both freeweights and machines (cable driven and also the Hammerstrength type you add plates to) . Can obviously do heavier with a machine than freeweights so even there I mix that up starting lighter with free weights and ending up heavier weights on a machine or vice-versa, depends on the day. The machines have their place and I personally think that most guys starting out would get faster results if they used them more. Thing is,, most guys starting out "have heard" that machines are no good, which is a bunch of bs
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    Mar 03, 2012 10:00 PM GMT
    Yup, I find diff between dumbells and machine is stability.
    Also the way some of the machines is designed to move is uncomfortable or awkward for me.

    I do use machines though on days when the free weight area of the gym gets way too busy.
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    Mar 03, 2012 10:03 PM GMT
    Simple.

    Free-weights/dumb-bells/barbells work your stabilizers, machines tend to not be as effective at that.
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    Mar 03, 2012 10:04 PM GMT
    Disasterpiece said
    The thing is, I dislocated my right shoulder twice, and I feel that working with dumbells is very unstable and has a high risk of causing a recurrent dislocation.

    What do you think?


    Yes. Machines are safer and good for variety, but free weights provide better results. If you can train yourself to have enough balance, good form, and strength for free weights, you will be the better for it icon_smile.gif If you are worried about nursing an injury back to good health, start it on the machines.

    I almost exclusively use free weights, and occasionally cables icon_smile.gif I only throw machines in about twice a month for variety.
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    Mar 03, 2012 10:05 PM GMT
    7Famark saidSimple.

    Free-weights/dumb-bells/barbells work your stabilizers, machines tend to not be as effective at that.


    ^^This. I'm a weight-training newb, but have noticed the difference.
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    Mar 03, 2012 10:06 PM GMT
    Also if you are worried about an injury, just go to really light weights on the dumbbells and stick with high reps until you are comfortable about healing your injury. Your form and balance matter more than the weight and once you are comfortable, then you can up your weight icon_smile.gif
  • HollywoodHist...

    Posts: 403

    Mar 04, 2012 2:26 AM GMT
    I'm doing the RJ Strength training workout right now which mixes them but I don't have any dumbbells yet (no gym near me, doing it all at home). So I was trying to figure out how to replicate the movements on my machine (cable machine) and just couldn't do it. Then I figured out I could use a couple of old bowling balls that we have, lol. 14 lbs each and even less stability than dumbbells, but it's working out well so far. icon_biggrin.gif
  • cmatador

    Posts: 38

    Mar 04, 2012 2:32 AM GMT
    Warm up with machines and intensify with free weights. Also work in cables for chest
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    Mar 04, 2012 2:37 AM GMT
    Both are fine . It all depends of your trainning plan.
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    Mar 18, 2012 8:17 PM GMT
    Both and cables.
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    Mar 18, 2012 11:34 PM GMT
    Machines vs dumbbells?

    Well, if you throw dumbbells at machines, the dumbbells always win.
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    Mar 19, 2012 7:19 PM GMT
    FitBudz101 saidMachines lock you into a fixed plane of motion.
    Dumbells replicate functional weight bearing movements.
    This ^^^
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    Mar 19, 2012 7:25 PM GMT
    westanimas saidAlso if you are worried about an injury, just go to really light weights on the dumbbells and stick with high reps until you are comfortable about healing your injury. Your form and balance matter more than the weight and once you are comfortable, then you can up your weight icon_smile.gif


    Good advice, but I'd also add that you should be addressing the stability of your shoulder directly. Were you given any sort of advice on rehabbing it? The shoulder is an intricate joint and one of the most common trouble spots for weight-trainers (myself included). To continue working the delts, pecs, and traps it is good advice to stick to machines for the time being (including cables) but also to work on shoring up the small supporting muscles in the rotator cuff to increase stability. More likely than not, you'll be able to return to free weights in the future.
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    Mar 19, 2012 10:12 PM GMT
    FitBudz101 saidMachines lock you into a fixed plane of motion.
    Dumbells replicate functional weight bearing movements.

    Yes. If the fixed plane of motion is not ideal for your geometry, then at heavy weights the machines can be problematic. A trade off for the stability they provide.
  • jock_1

    Posts: 1491

    Mar 19, 2012 10:26 PM GMT
    i think dumbells are the way to go. each side of your body has to use the same energy unlike a machine where you can cheat. If you are having a problem with injuries i would say go down on the weight you are lifting and see your gym advisor on if you are lifting correctly.
  • NYCAthlete

    Posts: 132

    Mar 19, 2012 11:00 PM GMT
    Use them all.
    Since you fear further injuring yourself the machine is a good choice, but realize that its purpose is to isolate the muscle it trains so you won't get as full a workout.
    Perhaps do lighter free weights and your heavier training with machines. Or start out again on the machines and then work your way back to free weights.

    Just ensure you avoid injury at all cost. Medicine can put you back together, but you'll rarely be as good as before.

    Good luck, hot stuff!
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    Mar 20, 2012 10:34 PM GMT
    Go with the machines for presses since they will reduce the likelihood of injury. You probably will have to do additional exercises to work the stabilization muscles separately, but at least you won't risk hurting your shoulder -- and that can take you out for a week or more, completely disrupting your routine, which really sucks.
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    Mar 20, 2012 11:00 PM GMT
    There is some great advice on here. Not a whole lot more I can add other than start by talking to a personal trainer. The circuit is good for a quick 20 - 30 min lunch break workout. I prefer cable weights as it requires more muscle isolation and stabilization over the circuit. Combined with free weights makes MY perfect workout. Just remember that everybodies body is different and will yield different results. Regular mixing of the workout (throw in some TRX, Kettle Bells, etc) usually helps too.
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    Mar 20, 2012 11:01 PM GMT
    I am hearing about great results mixing in ViPR too!
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    Mar 20, 2012 11:16 PM GMT
    free weights are usually better for some of the reasons explained above. If you are injury free, free weights are the way to go and you will get much better results doing shoulders and bis with dumbells rather than cables. However machines can help you get through injury. I use machines for some things but try to do as much free weight stuff as possible
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    Mar 20, 2012 11:42 PM GMT
    Also if you keep doing the same things in the same pattern you will get efficient at them and not see the same gains. Moving to an unstable environment forces your brain to learn new patterns and thus makes the exercise a challenge again.

    I plateaued on the flat bench and incline bench and couldn't get above a certain point. My trainer had me drop the weight I was using and replace the bench with a stability ball. I had to engage my core and legs to balance myself while also doing the reps. I worked my way back closer to my max like that. When I went back to the bench on the next routine, I was a lot more stable.
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    Mar 21, 2012 4:39 PM GMT
    it's best to mix it up...
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    Apr 04, 2012 1:19 PM GMT
    If I were to divide my workout its like 70% on free weights(/dumbells) , 25% machines(/cables) and 5% my own weight for strengthening.

    Notice free weights always ease on your motions and works very effectively, naturally your body listens to its angle...techniques are a different story.

    So answer to your weight training should be : Dumbbells!
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    Apr 17, 2012 5:33 AM GMT
    Dumbbells are better, but machines are underrated imo. A lot of people shy away from machines completely and I really don't understand why. The dip machine/tricep press machine always leaves me sore. Other exercises like tricep extensions bother my elbow/ulnar nerve.