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Fit 4 Life | Weights: the pros and cons

Published:Wednesday | May 2, 2018 | 12:00 AMMarvin Gordon/Contributor
Free weights are simple weight-training equipment such as dumbbells and barbells, which are moved through direct contact of the weight with the body and which does not limit the range of motion.

With the myriad training technologies and methodologies available, it can be difficult deciding which best suits your needs.

Take strength training, for example. One of the most common choices is free weights vs machine based training. While it is tempting to choose a favourite and stick with it - #freeweights - it makes more sense to look at the pros and cons of both and incorporate both into your training to fill specific needs.

Free weights are simple weight-training equipment such as dumbbells and barbells, which are moved through direct contact of the weight with the body and which does not limit the range of motion.

Let's take a quick look at the benefits and shortcomings of free weights.

 

FREE WEIGHT PROS

 

Dumbbells and barbells are more effective in developing the smaller synergistic (helping) muscles and stabiliser muscles.

Functional movement: Free weight exercises more closely match the neurological patterns of associated sports skills from a biomechanical point of view because of joint kinesthesis, leverage similarities, and bodily involvement.

Barbells and dumbbells are more versatile. A single set of free weights can be used for a full body workout.

Barbells and dumbbells are less expensive than machines and take up far less space.

Greater overall strength can be achieved using barbells and dumbbells.

Power - which is especially important for athletic performance - is improved more efficiently and to a greater extent through the use of free weights.

Other aspects of fitness, such as size, flexibility, reduced body fat, and muscle toning are achieved more efficiently through the use of free weights.

 

FREE WEIGHT CONS

 

Adjustable weights can come apart during exercise if care is not taken to tightly secure them.

Adjusting weight from set to set requires affixing or removing plates and replacing and removing collars - a time-consuming and tedious ordeal.

It is difficult to derive maximum isolation of a muscle or muscle group when using free weights because of the amount of work synergistic muscles have to do to provide stability.

Injury risk is greater when using free weights.

- Marvin Gordon is a fitness coach; email: marvin.gordon@physiqueandfunction.com; yourhealth@gleanerjm.com