Time to get real…RESULTS that is! If you truly want to achieve muscular development in the gym, ditch the machines + train with free weights.
1. More Muscle Fibers. Free weight training recruits more muscle fibers than machines. This is because the free weight exercise makes you use supporting + stabilizing muscles as well as the prime movers. More muscle fibers = more work = bigger gains.
2. Proficiency. Lifting free weights requires good form to be effective + safe. Thus, by using free weights regularly, you continuously reinforce good movement patterns. Often lifters who spend too much time on machines become sloppy + don’t develop good technique, then injure themselves when trying to use free weights.
3. Versatility. Pretty much any exercise can be performed with free weights, meaning less wait time between exercises on a busy day. If you’re at the gym during peak hours + doing a circuit using machines, you will have to wait for the machine to not be in use so you can move to your next exercise, but if the chest press machine has a camper on it, you’re outta luck. Not the case with free weights, just switch from doing a dumbbell row + do your DB chest press, no new equipment needed.
4. Variation. Free weights allow a much greater degree of variation than a machine does. For example, a chest press machine pretty much will work the same part of the chest no matter what you do, with free weights however, slight tweaks in hand position/movement patter or bench angle can target totally different areas.
5. Abs. Free weights force the core muscles of the body to work hard to stabilize the torso under load. Weight machines have structure that allows the core to relax. Simple example, a leg press machine will wok your quads, however you are sitting in a chair with back support, your abs + spinal erectors are doing nothing. You want six-pack abs? Ditch the machines + work free weights.