Monday, July 7, 2008

The Best Muscle-Building Machines

It looks like the message is getting out. When a mainstream website like starts touting free weights over machines, it sure seems like the tide is turning.

While I do sometimes incorporate machines like the Leg Press and Pulldown in a routine, the majority of my programs consist of exercises using free weights, cables and bodyweight. You definitely won't find the Leg Extension, Pec Flye, Lateral Raise, Bicep Curl, etc. machines in my routines.

Those types of exercises don't give you the most result bang for your effort buck (and in some cases can actually be bad for you).

Why waste time on fluff?

From RealAge:

The Best Muscle-Building Machines

Which kind of strength-training equipment makes the most of your time: fixed machines or free-form gear?

Go for the free-form gear, like dumbbells or cable-and-pulley machines that allow freedom of motion. They can give you double the strength gains that fixed equipment offers.

Strength in Numbers

Fixed machines -- like a leg-press machine, where you load up a plate with weights and have a fixed plane of motion to push through -- don’t tap as many balance and control muscles as free-form equipment does. So you don’t get as buff, a recent study showed. People in the study who used free-form equipment boosted their strength by a whopping 115 percent -- versus just 57 percent for the fixed-machine users. Free-form gear boosts balance better, too.

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