Who wins the free weight training routines vs machines war?
The result might surprise you.
Old school dumbbell chest press or machine chest press? The free weights "war against the machines" rages on.
This question often crops up in my mailbag in some form or other. So I'm going to take a moment to address it.
Firstly, I believe both machine and dumbbell press exercises are effective and for different reasons. For instance, the machine bench press allows you to really overload the muscles with heavy weights. Perfect technique isn't a requirement here. You just take a deep breath and push. Simple.
By comparison, using dumbbells makes the chest press an entirely different animal. What do I mean by that? Suddenly balance, form, technique - all these elements become critical components during your lift.
If you screw up your form (or try to lift too much), you can badly injure yourself...a torn pec or damaged shoulder isn't any laughing matter. And those horror stories you hear about guys dropping dumbbells on their heads? All true. Tales of broken noses (and shattered eye sockets) would give even Stephen King nightmares!
So if I had to pick, which one would I choose? Hmm... neither.
You see, while I appreciate the merits of both camps, my heart belongs to another.
Her name? The parallel bar dip.
Regular visitors to my site know the parallel bar dip is a personal favorite. The dip is also a total upper body exercise par excellence and my true love.
Sadly, you won't see too many people practicing it down at your local leisure center or gym. Why is that? Because it's tough!
But if you work hard at her - and the move is a good fit for you - then this exercise will more than repay all your effort, sweat and toil.
Seeking inspiration? Consider "The Biceps from The Bronx" Marvin Eder. This 1950s muscleman performed a dip of 434 pounds - a staggering feat of upper body strength!
Am I saying free weight training routines wins in the war against machines?
You see, as much as I enjoy training with dumbbells and barbells (and body-weight too), I also believe that there is plenty of room for both.
Machines are cool too.
So while the free weights "war against the machines" rages on - and as you find champions (and die-hard defendants) making rallying calls from both sides of their battle lines - what matters most is what works for you.
You are the winner here. Not the free weight training routines or the machines workouts.
Which is why YOU must decide.
Have fun finding out!