One of the questions I have often been asked in my 30 years in the fitness business is this: Which is better…free weights or machines? While my general answer is BOTH, if I had to pick one, it would definitely be free weights. Lifting dumbbells, or using cable-and-pulley machines (or TRX) allows much more freedom of motion and use more muscle fiber which amounts to about twice as much strength gains than using fixed machines, like a leg-press. In fact, people in a study group who used free-form equipment saw gains of 115% versus 57% for the group of the fixed machines. Another big bonus is that free weights tap into muscles that help with balance and control.
Now, with all of that said, if all you have been using lately IS free weights, throwing in some machines will change things up for you by allowing you to go heavier. This is why my answer to the age old-question, which is better, would still be BOTH! In fact, mixing things up seems to keep us from getting bored, injured by over-use, and taps into muscle fiber that we would never use if we kept on doing the same thing over and over again.
While on the topic of muscles, I can’t help shake my head in wonder over the recent news of Jerry Lewis being ousted as the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s National Chairman. Having done volunteer work for them as a teenager, participating in fund-raisers, being a counselor at summer camp and then working for the Association at their national headquarters in Manhattan, one thing I always assumed is that JL would be with them until his departure from this world. Now, don’t get me wrong–he is one tough cookie and I can imagine a million reasons, including his health (he is 85 years old) and his sometimes over the top personality, that it would be rather challenging to have him host a telethon, or perhaps even have much of a say in the day to day operations of the organization, but OUSTING him? Really? I find this so sad…but what do I know?
If you are blessed with muscles that work for you this morning, I hope you’ll go out and use them! That’s what I am off to do. Thanks for stopping in. Because of YOU, peacenandfitness is getting about 100 visits a day. I am so grateful to all of you for reading and for sharing!