How effective are cable machines compaed to dumbells?

  • suedeheadscot

    Posts: 1130

    Sep 09, 2012 2:58 PM GMT
    I'm a bit bored doing chest raises with dumbells. A gym instructor in Scotland told me to switch to the cable machines (the one where you have two cables in each hand, pull down and get the arms forward - I have a feeling this could be called something else). My chest feels nicely worked out but how effective are they compared to dumbells?

    Couple things you should know: -

    - my aim is to maintain my figure. I like to run so no point putting weight on as this will make running harder.

    - I have been doing the same workout now for a long time as another gym instructor said if I was doing maintainence there was no need to change the program (maybe he was just being lazy). The cable machine is just a change in the programme (I may splash out at some point and get a personal trainer to make me up a new programme but thats getting into another topic)

    Comments?

  • starboard5

    Posts: 969

    Sep 10, 2012 12:49 AM GMT
    I use them both and enjoy switching it out. I find that with the cable chest press, if I come up on my toes with the back foot, it engages my core (the balance factor) so there's a little something extra in it.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 10, 2012 12:53 AM GMT
    I think both have their place but the cable machine seems particular good for tricep push down, delt side lateral raise, and bicep curls because of the constant tension it keeps on the muscles.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 10, 2012 1:01 AM GMT
    Depends on what kind of body build you want. If you want a longer leaner look go with cable machines; but if you want more dense musculature use free weights. As soon as a bigger builder, I'll alternate between the two myself.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 10, 2012 1:02 AM GMT
    suedeheadscot saidHow effective are cable machines compaed to dumbells?
    [...]


    A major problem with the cable machines is that they balance out the sides, compensating for one side so that each side is not doing equal pull.
    With dumbells you get what you see and feel.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 10, 2012 1:04 AM GMT
    BuddyinNYC said
    suedeheadscot saidHow effective are cable machines compaed to dumbells?
    [...]


    A major problem with the cable machines is that they balance out the sides, compensating for one side so that each side is not doing equal pull.
    With dumbells you get what you see and feel.


    Or just use the machines with two cables so you work each side independent of the other.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 10, 2012 1:08 AM GMT
    My rookie opinion:

    Given the fact that you're only trying to maintain, I think cables should be fine. I don't think they're generally regarded as effective as free weights, but they should be sufficient for what you're trying to accomplish.

    Getting a personal trainer is a good idea. He/she can vary your workout periodically so that you don't get bored. There's a lot you can do with cable machines and free weights to mix things up -- things like balancing with a ball or using a Bosu. These will give you new challenges as well as improve your balance and stability.
  • barriehomeboy

    Posts: 2475

    Sep 10, 2012 2:09 AM GMT
    At our age, it really doesn't matter. It makes a difference for an 18 year old olympian trying to shave an 1/8 of a second off their performance. Just keep working out.
  • ftwcycle

    Posts: 111

    Sep 11, 2012 2:41 AM GMT
    I like to (need to, really) mix it up. The gym gets a bit crowded some times and I cannot always get to the bench for dumb bell presses or shoulder presses or what-have-you. So I need experience on the cable machines, life-motion machines, etc. so I can be more effective. Throw in a stability ball or BOSU and the workouts stay really fresh.
  • calibro

    Posts: 8888

    Sep 11, 2012 2:53 AM GMT
    it's a lot easier to kill someone with dumbbells
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 11, 2012 4:08 PM GMT
    sashaman saidI think both have their place but the cable machine seems particular good for tricep push down, delt side lateral raise, and bicep curls because of the constant tension it keeps on the muscles.

    You get more desirable instability with dumbbells but the bonus of constant tension throughout the entire range of motion outweigh even the instability benefit. Cables are greatest for delt exercises but should be incorporated throughout one's workout. For muscle confusion I'd keep switching it up.
  • ftwcycle

    Posts: 111

    Sep 12, 2012 1:04 AM GMT
    calibro saidit's a lot easier to kill someone with dumbbells


    For sure, but it's easier to make it look like an accident with cables..strangulation, you know.