Some days you just don’t feel like using a barbell – setting it up and tearing it down can kill time and energy, especially when by yourself. Well, change it up! There are many different methods of resistance training that exist to build strength (ie., cable-assisted machines, resistance bands, medicine balls). One piece of equipment that has been shown to be highly effective (and maybe a little under-appreciated) is free weights. There are several benefits to using free weights but here are three for you.
1. Strength and Balance
Research has indicated that free weights provide a superior level of strength and balance for individuals who use them. In the January 2008 issue of “The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research,” a study investigated the differences in strength and balance outcomes in participants using free weights vs. resistance-training machines. The results of the study indicated that individuals who performed free-weight exercises had a 58 percent greater strength increase than individuals who performed exercises on resistance-training machines. Additionally, participants who performed free-weight training had a 196 percent increase in balance vs. those who performed exercises on resistance-training machines.
2.Versatility and Specific Natural Movements
While machine-based exercises and free weights are both effective in increasing muscular strength and balance, free weights provide the added dimension of versatility and specificity to real-life movements. One of the biggest advantages for free weights is the ability to do several different movements in one exercise, instead of working the same muscles with one movement. With machines, you are usually fixed into one area and can only do limited movements. Also, free weights allow individuals to mimic everyday movements that occur in different planes of motion.
3.Higher Energy Output
One of the greatest aspects to using free weights is the increased effort that is needed. When you compare free weights and machines, the simple fact that free weights aren’t fixed allows you to be able to use several large muscle groups at the same time. This increase in the number of muscle groups used results in a higher cost of effort in order to produce free-weight-based movements.
For many people, dumbbells and barbells are used to provide a great workout. Free weights, together with a bench and a rack, offer a great variety of exercises. Change it up, keep your muscles guessing to what’s going to worked next.