For a greenhorn bodybuilder, the greater part of training should be accomplished with free weights. Modern society deals with technological equipment, and a huge quantity of exercise machines have been mass-produced to make training simpler. It is significant to note, however, that muscles are intended to face the force of gravity contrasted with working against the resistance provided by machinery.

Accordingly, you’ll find that the biggest gains you will make in attaining size will come from the use of free weights. Troubling the body with lifting something against gravity forces the person to organise and balance the load, and produces a quality structure that high-repetition, fairly light training unaided does not yield. Moreover, it has been established that testosterone creation is augmented when you execute compound, free-weight exercises in which you coordinate a large number of major muscle groups concurrently, like what is found in the squat, deadlift, and movements that you see executed less regularly, like the power clean (or its variants). Testosterone production is not by the same token increased with the use of isolation exercises (whether they be free-weight or machine). Testosterone is by nature an anabolic composite, and with more testosterone being fashioned you can construct larger musculature with less struggle. Nonetheless, proper bodybuilding is also about carving the musculature along with increasing their size.

Free weights give the adept bodybuilder the liberty to separate certain muscles and to train the body in any number of inspired ways. They also allow individuals of diverse heights, weights, and physical proportions to obtain a complete workout, while a lot of machines seem to be built simply to please those who personify the average gym-goer. This isn’t to say that machines do not have their place in a muscle-building routine. Quite the reverse, it is quite difficult to obtain complete thigh development without the use of machines like the leg curl or leg extension. Furthermore, it is quite impossible to develop the ideal degree of muscle separation and definition in the pectorals without using a cable curl machine, or some variation thereof. In all probability the most eminent modern bodybuilder, Arnold Schwarzenegger, has stated that, in his knowledge, the use of machines should not go beyond 30% to 40% of training volume.

Justifiably, one of the main issues with machines is that you are constrained to the designed range of motion. What is more, the element of maintaining equilibrium with respect to the load is lacking, which means that less musculature is involved (these specific muscles are actually branded as the ‘stabilisers’). As cited earlier, machines do have their place, but should not constitute a large share of your training regimen.


Housewright, Ed. The official Gold’s Gym guide to getting started in body building. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2005.

Schwarzenegger, Arnold, and Bill Dobbins. The New Encyclopaedia of Modern

Bodybuilding. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998.