Cable machines vs. free weights, which is better?

Cable machines vs. free weights, which is better?

Author: name From: name Modify: Jun. 17, 2020
Oct. 15, 2021

People are often curious about which strength training strategy is better for them. It depends on people's goals and their level of training. Read on for a more detailed answer!


What exactly are free weights? Dumbbells. Free weight exercises also include any exercise that allows you to move "freely" in any direction without being tied to ropes, cords, cords or straps. Using them gives you the option of changing exercises within a set without having to do one movement at a time. So, in that sense, I label free weights as equipment that also includes benches (planks, inclines, inclines, utility, back extensions, etc.), barbells, weight plates, kettlebells, etc.


These are not exactly "free weights", the best workouts also include an arsenal of equipment you can find in any standard gym, such as stability balls, medicine balls, slam balls, squash balls, sandbags, etc.


Rope machines include a steel frame with counterweight blocks attached to one or more handles via a system of cables and pulleys. Some rope machines are specifically designed for push and pull exercises, while others have different ropes on either side and more options.


Free weights offer more variety, but less stability. Unlike free weight machines, there are no "resting points" when using rope machines, but both are very effective and are designed to build muscle and improve strength.


Advantages and disadvantages of using cable machines vs. free weights

Cable machines

▷ Can be used by beginners and advanced exercisers

▷ May fatigue muscles more quickly, thus accelerating mass and strength gains

▷ Effective for building muscle and strength

▷ Needs constant muscle tension during up and down movements

▷ Isolation of only one area is very effective (great for injury recovery)

▷ Joints and levers guide you through the proper range of motion

▷ Don't offer too many variations of movement because you have to adjust the machine to your height and strength level

▷There are usually pictures to show you how to use the machine properly and the muscles it is working

▷ Ensure proper weight lifting technique, which is essential to prevent injuries and avoid training muscles incorrectly

Flat Bench Rack

● Free weights

▷ Builds more balance and coordination than the machine

▷ Can feel more natural and comfortable

▷ This part of the gym is usually more crowded, which can be daunting

▷ Easier to address muscle imbalances and make the weaker side stronger

▷ Using dumbbells makes it easy to switch from one type of exercise to another

▷ Supposedly can help you get stronger faster than weight lifting machines

▷ Can easily include more equipment options, such as solid balls, slam balls, kettlebells, sandbags, stability balls, etc.

▷ Ability to recruit more muscle groups at once, thus saving more time (my favorite part about free weights!)

▷ Provides tension when lifting heavy weights against gravity, but muscle tension is lost during the downward swing


So, which type of training do I prefer? Both. Sometimes I'll stick with the cable machine, sometimes I'll pull out all the tempting looking stuff on the weightlifting floor, and most of the time I'll mix the two. Sometimes I really just want to sit down and work one muscle group at a time. That's a day for the cable machine. Other times, I like to get creative and gain more fitness gains over time.


The most noticeable results I've noticed in strength and athletic performance include routines that use machines and free weights for each muscle group. For example, I will complete a "push" superset that focuses on chest presses with a steel cable, followed by push-ups with a solid ball. The next superset will focus on "pulls" by doing high pulldowns and one-arm dumbbell rowing (on a bench). Completing different types of back-to-back exercises is a great way to overload your muscles for maximum strength gain.


A different fitness program should be developed for the beginner who wants to improve stability and strength than the more advanced fitness enthusiast who wants to build speed and muscle hypertrophy.


Then, of course, there are other goals, including improving balance, flexibility, endurance, strength, athletic performance and more. It all depends on where you are and what your main goals are! In free weight training, rope training machines, or a combination of all equipment, whichever weight training mode you choose, any option will allow you to effectively train, build muscle, and gain strength.