When you walk into Spurling Training Systems you will see us lacking ONE thing, selectorized machines. Through experience and research, free weights offer far more benefits than selectorized machines. As a result, it is our goal here to show you the benefits of training with free weights, and how to properly use them. Here are the top reasons to use free weights over machines:
1. Core Stability: We have all heard the core strength and stability is important, that is a given. However, there are more ways to train core strength in addition to your standard planks and isometric holds. Lets take for examples a standard shoulder press, working your deltoids. You have two options. One, you sit down, stick the pin in the weight stack, and force your body into that fixed track motion of a machine. Two, you grab a barbell or a pair of dumbbells and perform the same motion, standing. You now have to control 360 degree of motion, recruiting a lot more muscles, as well as using your core to stabilize your body from leaning side to side. Which one has more benefit?
2. Balance: Typically, free weights are stereotyped to be used only for athletes and fit adults. However, every age and ability can benefit from free weight use from the high school athlete, to the retired 85 year old woman. Balance is a large concern for a lot of people, obviously athletes, but also older adults who may see a decrease in their ability to stay on there two feet all the time. Lets use the all to common bicep curl. Again several options, but basically, free weights or machine. With a machine bicep curl, your seated, taking away any core stability that is needed, and your forcing your humerus in a fixed angle that the machine puts you into. Then thee is the free weight option. Grab a pair of dumbbells and perform that same movement. Again, standing, you force your body to stabilize the core, in addition your joints are able to move at angles in which they are comfortable with. Take that same dumbbell biceps curl, and pick one foot up. Now you have all the above benefits, and your getting some basic balance training as well. Which has more benefit, machine option, or free weight option?
3. Functionality: It is important in both athletic based training, as well as adult conditioning, that movements performed in the gym, relate to movements performed outside of the gym. An athlete should perform movements in the gym, that simulate movements performed on the field, court, or ice. When was the last time you saw a competitive sport that involved sitting down, no balance required, and no core stabilization required? Maybe chess? The same applies to adults. As we age, we lose the ability to do certain movements. Squatting down to pick up the piece of paper may become harder, climbing the stairs slowly gets more challenging, and pushing the grocery cart all of the sudden feels like a car instead of a shopping carriage. However, if we perform movements to simulate those real life movements in the gym, you will find those everyday movements get easier, and easier.
4. Muscle Activation and Recruitment: When performing a machine exercise, that machine stabilizes every other muscle for you, making the movement actually easier. When you perform that same exercise you are not only activating your core muscles to stabilize your body, but recruiting surrounding muscles to assist in the movement. More muscle recruitment and activation equals more strength, and more RESULTS!
5. Fun: Who comes to the gym to sit down anyways? You come to the gym to work hard, and see results. You are going to get your best results when you recruit more muscle groups, activate your core, require balance, and simply MOVE! The options of training with free weights are endless! Here at Spurling Training Systems, we have pieces of equipment that no other gym has. These pieces are designed to be not only functional, but FUN! It may seem intimidating at first, but as the owner, I GUARANTEE after you learn how to use the equipment, try it out, you’ll be beating down the door to get back in and try some more!
I welcome you all to come check out Spurling Training Systems, take look around, and chat with us. We are here for you, and it is our goal to help you achieve your fitness goals, whether its athletic performance, fat loss, muscles gain, functionality, or anything else!
It has been a great first week so far here, and we are just getting started.
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Doug Spurling, CSCS, NSCA-CPT
Spurling Training Systems, LLC
1 Colonel Gelardi Drive
Kennebunk, ME 04043