I have been doing a strength training routine for the past three months on the circuit of machines at my club. I notice a lot of people using the free weight area with dumbbells and barbells. Is it better to use machines or free weights?

First it is important to understand the anytime you overload the muscle with resistance, you are performing strength training exercises. Whether you use your own body weight as resistance or you use free weights or machines, they all increase strength in their own way. Based on your goals, they both have a place in your workout routine. Machines are safe and easy to use, they have a fixed range of motion, and they are very time efficient. Free weights, however, mimic real life movement and are very functional. They use stabilizer muscles and offer a wide variety of alternative exercises. So, depending on your skill level and your goals, you may choose to use both types of exercise.

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