Free weights, cables or machines which one is better for muscle gain?
Nowadays in modern gyms there are so many bits of kit varying from wonderful machines working on pulley systems to racks of dumbbells to functional equipment such as TRX and slam bags. All these opportunities to vary our workouts should be embraced but which ones are best for muscle growth. The simple answer is that they all have their place depending on what we are trying to achieve so here is a quick explanation as to why:
Free weights use stabilizer muscles more than machines and cables, this is essential in controlling movement, preventing injury and maintaining equilibrium within the body.
Free weights allow for all ranges of movement along any plane and allow you to develop strength in practical and real situations making them really important for athletes.
Cables on the other hand are slightly different than machines free weights as cables change the direction of the resistance and can offer an advantage over the others as the muscle remains under constant contraction and tension throughout the full movement.
Cables can also have advantages when trying to isolate certain muscle groups especially at angles you cannot with dumbbells for example when performing the reverse pectoral fly and pectoral fly respectively.
Machines are great for the beginner and can also aid the user to recover from injury. The reason is that machines work within limited planes and if injured can protect vulnerable areas or if a beginner can train the brain to perform movements it hasn’t performed before. However machines could limit the more advanced lifter/athlete for these same reasons.
Remember every method has benefits so look at what you are trying to achieve and alter your workout accordingly. Good Luck!