Machine vs. Barbell - Where do I start?

I get many questions about which to do when you first start out...machines, or barbells. I know your first inclination is to hop on the bench and start pushing it out, but hold your horses there partner!

The mistake I see most weight training beginners doing when they first get in the gym is they'll pick up a Muscle & Fitness magazine, read a few workouts, then hop in the gym and try it out. Just footloose and fancy free. Let me get one thing straight...Those workouts aren't for beginners. Sorry to burst your bubble.

So to end all arguments and fuss, I say begin on the machines. Here's why.

1. The machine instructions are easy to follow (generally).
They get your muscles used to lifting weight. If you're beginning, that's all you want to do at first. Don't try to start building yet, or you may seriously injure yourself. Ask a gym attendant if you're confused, or wath one of my videos :-)

2. The machines have a guided range of motion.
The danger in hopping on the bench from just watching what others do, is that everyone has a different form and I can tell you from experience in the gym, 95% of them do it wrong! Machines guide your range of motion so there's little chance of messing it up or injuring yourself. You don't wanna get a flat tire 1 mile into your trip do you?

3. The machines are easily adjustable.
If you get on there and let your ego get the best of you and you put more weight than you can handle, you may not be able to lift it. It's easy to slide the pin out discreetly, without letting too many people see you do it, lol, and adjust to a lower weight. But this is an added benefit because it saves on time and it's really dummy proof.

I started on the machines and I'm glad I did so. Although I use mainly barbells now (I've been lifting for over 10 yrs) I recommend machines to anyone I assist that's new. Once you've mastered the techinque (I'll cover that in a later blog) you can move up to barbells. I'll go into further detail on why barbells are for intermediate to advanced lifters later also.

My gym is small and doesn't have many machines, but I'll be showing you how to use the ones it does have. Because believe it or not, you can do machines wrong too! Until next time, Happy Lifting!