Cable Machine Vs Free Weights: What are the Weight Training Differences?


If you intend to start working out, you might wonder about the most proper ways to do that in order to achieve some real results. There are different options for working out, and when you are trying to determine which one you should go for, you first have to familiarize yourself with the benefits you get out of them. Therefore, what are the differences between training with cable machines and free weights? 

Both cable machines and free weights are effective when it comes to gaining muscle strength, but there are differences in the way you achieve that. For instance, free weights offer more options for free-form exercises, while cable machines are suitable for resistance training and more stability. 

This article encompasses everything you need to know about training with cable machines and free weights. You will learn how you can achieve muscle strength using these devices, as well as the differences that exist between them. If you are trying to choose a suitable way to gain muscle strength, then you have come across the right article for you.

What Are The Main Differences Between Cable Machines And Free Weights? 

When you are trying to choose the right ways and devices to work out, your choice probably ends up between cable machines and free weights. Both devices are suitable and effective for gaining muscle strength, however, there are some differences that might be of essential importance to your end goal. Therefore, it is good to learn the differences before you start working out, so you would know in what direction your workout routine is headed. 

If you are trying to find something that is suitable for resistance training, then the obvious choice would be cable machines. They are devices that have cables along with adjustable weight stacks and levers, so the user can use them in a controlled manner. People who are aiming towards resistance training, enjoy cable machines because they know exactly how much weight they are using, and they can customize their workouts exactly to their needs. 

On the other hand, free weights offer a variety of exercises, and they are characterized by a free-form manner of working out. Users that exercise with free weights, usually use dumbbells, benches, plates, or squat racks. The moves provided with free weights are not as guided as the ones achieved with cable machines, meaning that they give the user more opportunities to try different exercises. 

People who prefer controlled movements, i.e. guidance in the motion path of the weights, as well as proper diagrams in the way you are supposed to use a workout machine, usually opt for cable machines. However, those who would like to do something that resembles real-life movement patterns and daily activities and sports, usually go for free weights. Therefore, when you are trying to decide which type of exercise you should choose, it is important that you determine your goal in the first place. 

In order to determine your goal, and to see what exactly you want to achieve from your workout routine, you firstly need to see what are the pros and cons of both cable machines and free weights. Once you learn what you can gain out of them, you will be able to choose the right workout path for you. 

Pros And Cons Of Cable Machines And Free Weights 

As I already mentioned, both devices will give you results, so you should not think that one is useless, while the other is something that gives results. However, you should know your goal in order to see what will work for you. 

Cable Machines 

Pros 

Firstly, cable machines are great for building muscle and strength for both beginners and advanced exercisers. They usually come with instructions, so you will avoid getting injuries or doing exercises incorrectly. Cable machines are also great for getting used to a lifting technique, so as you are going through the process it will become easier, and you will get better. 

In addition, cable machines contribute to the proper range of motion as you are training with joints and levers. They also require equal muscle tension in the lifting technique, so you will train your muscles simultaneously. Lastly, cable machines are great for isolating a particular area, so if you have an injury to a certain muscle group, you can continue working out without activating the injured area. If you’re convinced that you would want to consider a consider machine, do check out our article on the best cable machines you could buy.

Cons

However, cable machines also have some disadvantages. For instance, when you are training with them, your muscles get fatigued faster, so you might not be able to do as many reps as you expect. Also, they do not involve a lot of different movements since they are static, and you have to adjust the machine according to your height and strength levels. 

Free Weights 

Pros 

When you are using dumbbells, you have the opportunity to easily switch between exercises, and you are enabled to build more balance and coordination. Free weights also allow you to choose the equipment with which you will work out, so you can choose among kettlebells, dumbbells, stability balls, medicine balls, sandbags, slam balls, and so on. In addition, by choosing a variety of weight equipment, you will get stronger faster. 

Furthermore, they are more time-efficient as you can quickly switch between exercises and activate more muscle groups. They include natural movements, so you will feel more comfortable when working out. Lastly, free weights enable you to train and strengthen your weaker sides and improve your imbalances. 

Cons

While training with free weights is mostly beneficial, it could be inconvenient at times if you work out at the gym. The section with free weights is usually packed, so you will need to wait for your turn, and that way, you will waste a lot of time. 

As you could see cable machines and free weights have a lot of similarities, but also some differences. Depending on the goal you want to achieve, you will know whether you need free weight or cable machine training. 

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