STEP 4: Free Weights vs. Machines

vs. Plyometric/Isometric

by Nick Sorrenti
Getty Images/Caiaimage

Today, all of you men and women are in for a treat. I’m going to be talking about my favorite and probably most knowledgeable topic: lifting and working out. Whether it is free weights, machines, or simply plyometric/isometric lifting, they all have some type of health benefit. However, they also could potentially have negative health effects. Throughout this article, I will be informing you about the pros and cons of each of these lifting strategies and how one may be better than the other.

• FREE WEIGHTS: When it comes to free weights, there are many pros and cons, but first we’re going to start with the pros.
1. Specifically works on stabilizing a muscle group and works the muscle out with extreme tension.
2. Allows you to be diverse with your workouts. You can use free weights to do any bodily movement that you please, even if it’s not an “existing” workout. However, with this you might show up under “gym fails” on Instagram. If you don’t know what that is, I suggest looking it up, because I promise…..YOU DON’T WANT TO BE ON IT!
3. You can train in any type of environment. You don’t need to be at the gym to use weights. You don’t even have to use real weight lifting equipment like dumbbells…. You can use tree stumps, logs, tires, etc. That’s the most exciting part about free weight; you can use practically anything in order to get stronger.

1. Extreme strain on your muscles, ligaments, and bones.
2. More prone to injury due to not having a spotter at all times.
3. Takes a while to learn proper techniques, which can lead to minor and also serious injuries.

• MACHINES: A lot of weight lifting machines can range. There are different company names that you may be familiar with such as the Smith machines, Keiser Machines, etc. However, even though they are both weight lifting machines, they both use different techniques no matter what muscle group machine you are working on. Some Smith machines still use free weight, such as the squat and bench machine that uses an assisted spotter by being able to rack your weight as easy as moving your wrist forward. When they are not using free weights, most of the machines have a metal pin that people use to set the weight, which makes these machines very easy to lift with.

• When it involves Keiser Machines, they’re entirely different. These machines are personally my favorite because they are run specifically on air pressure. This allows you to adjust these machines mid workout by using your feet to hit the positive or negative lever, or by using your thumb depending on what machine you are using.
These machines are extremely helpful, but there are also some factors that I believe make the list for both pros and cons.


1. Extremely easy to learn due to directions being placed on top of almost every machine.
2. With these types of machines you don’t need a spotter, which allows you to use heavier weight without the hesitation that you may fail or injure yourself.
3. Best part of these machines is that you can isolate a specific muscle group.

1. The biggest cons in my opinion is that even though these machines are used to hit specific muscle groups, I’ve realized that when you’re using free weights it allows you work your specific muscle, but it also works other muscles around your body at the same time which allows you to become stronger as a whole. These machines are incredibly muscle specific, so they don’t work multiple muscle groups at the same time.
2. Another bad thing about these machines is that they usually fill up pretty quickly at the gym because they are affective and easy to use. This not only sets you back, but also usually causes you to have to adjust your entire workout if one machine is not open.
3. With the idea above, by doing this, it leaves the smaller muscle groups and ligaments in the back seat. This can eventually leave to a serious injury due to smaller muscles and ligaments not being able to provide proper support to stronger and bigger muscle groups.


1. Great for gaining explosive muscles.
2. Limited stress on your muscles and tendons/ligaments due to the ability to adjust the pressure you are working with.
3. Easy to use (Self-Explanatory).

1. I personally feel that it does not allow you to push yourself to your full capability. For the people that are extreme athletes and push themselves to the fullest, no, this may not apply to you. However, for the people who don’t usually push themselves to the end and decide that it’s too hard, they might push the lever to decrease the air pressure which would not allow them to get the most out of their workout.
2. One last thing is that many gyms, especially older ones don’t usually have these air-pressured machines, which might limit you from doing the workouts that you wanted to complete.

To explain what the differences are between plyometric and Isometric workouts, I found a great explanation on, It states,
“Isometrics and plyometrics are similar words but their meaning is very different. Isometrics is a type of exercise that causes muscle contraction without a change in the length of the muscle. Plyometrics involve large, fast movements such as jumping and hopping. The muscles shorten and lengthen as the joints move during plyometric training. These types of exercises achieve different results but may overlap in your training program depending on goals and physical capabilities.”


1. These exercises can create explosiveness in all activities, especially athletic events.
2. Just like any exercise, if your body is not accustomed to a bodily movement, you will see a faster improvement in your strength and the look of your body, which will be exciting and motivating.
3. These workouts can also be done anywhere, which can make time go by faster whenever you’re not doing anything; for example, while you’re waiting for your show to get back on…Can you say, TAKING ADVANATAGE OF A COMMERCIAL BREAK??!!!!

1. Extreme intensity in short intervals of time, which can cause strain on your muscles, as well as your mental and physical health if you’re not well nourished, or hydrated.
2. These exercises can cause injury if not done properly.


1. You can take part in Isometric workouts at pretty much any time during the day.
2. These types of workouts are used to target muscle groups that you use during your every day activities without even realizing.
3. These exercises eventually lead to strength for holding objects, pushing, and pulling.

1. With these workouts you’re hardly working out your full body during a specific time period, generally, one muscle group at a time.
2. You’re not getting a full ranged motion of the muscle you are working, which can possibly result in becoming muscle bound (limited muscle movement/flexibility).

To find any more information regarding to the topics discussed, you can visit these websites,,, as well as do individual research on your own. I hope these helpful tips were beneficial for you, and you can put them into action. Keep a look out for STEP 5, things are getting interesting!!!

Quote of the day:

“Get comfortable with being uncomfortable!”
― Jillian Michaels

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