Free weights are a great way to strength train because they
offer effective, time-efficient workouts.
Other advantages include:
Versatility. Free weights can be used for a variety
of exercises for the entire body, so you don't have to move from machine
to machine to work different muscle groups.
Functionality. With free weights, you're able to move
the body through natural motions as well as through a variety of planes
allowing you to mimic movements you do in real life like squatting, lifting
things over your head and rotating the body.
Building whole body strength. Because you're supporting
your own body, you can work on specific muscles while involving smaller
stabilizer muscles that can get neglected with machine training...this
can also help you burn more calories during your workout.
Like machines, free weights also have some disadvantages:
They're hard to learn. Using free weights requires
skill and coordination, so you may need some instruction when using them
for the first time. Good form is harder to achieve without the added
support from machines, so there's a higher learning curve with free weights.
Risk of injury. Because there isn't a fixed path
when using free weights, it's easier to put your body in the wrong position,
which could lead to injury. There's also the risk of dropping the weights,
especially if you're lifting heavy.
Confusion. With machines, you know exactly what exercise
you're doing and what muscle you're working. With dumbbells, there are
so many exercises you can do, it's easy to get confused about where to