Dumbbells VS Machines

In this blog post I wanted to write about dumbbells VS machines.  I get a lot of questions from members about how to use dumbbells and most new members just want to know how to use the strength machines because they think the strength machines are safer to use.

I know a lot of people use strength machines for a variety of reasons, the main reasons being people think the machines are safer to use then dumbbells and people think that machines work their muscles better.  Actually, most people who go to gyms don’t need to use strength machines at all.  Dumbbells and body weight exercises are the best things you can do to build lean muscle and gain strength.  Strength machines are great for people who are looking to achieve a certain goal, but for 99% of people that go to a gym-step away from the strength machines.  They are not doing you any good!

I know you are probably thinking “that isn’t right, I am getting stronger” and you are right, you are getting stronger but you could be burning way more calories and using more muscles if you used dumbbells.  Think about this-you wake up in the morning and SIT down to eat breakfast, you then SIT in the car on your way to work, you then SIT at your desk for 8+ hours, you SIT in your car on the way home from work, you go to the gym and SIT on the strength machines and then you SIT to eat supper at home.  THEN on the weekend you are moving furniture and hurt your back and wonder why you hurt your back since you “lift weights” at the gym……….do you see how much time you spend SITTING-so when you go to the gym and SIT on the strength machines you are only working the 1 or 2 muscle groups that machine was designed to work, yet when you are at home you don’t SIT to garden or to play ball with your kids or to lift furniture so why do you think SITTING on a machine is working your body?

Most people that go to a gym need to be doing functional training.  Functional training is a buzzword right now, but it has been around for a long time.  Functional training means to train the body for activities performed in everyday life.   Example-instead of sitting on the leg curl machine do a dead lift with dumbbells or with a barbell.  A dead lift is basically what you are doing every time you bend over to pick something off the floor.  Instead of doing the shoulder press machine, do a shoulder press with dumbbells while standing on 1 leg.  Balance work is something EVERYONE needs to work on and you don’t work your balance when you are SITTING on a machine.  OR how about the worst machine on a gym floor-the ab machine-stop using that machine!!  Your core is one of the most important muscle groups on your body.  It helps you stand up, sit, twist, lay down, get up from laying down…etc.  So work your core like you do in real life.  If you golf or play tennis you need to do rotational exercises, if you garden do planks and side planks to help strengthen your low back, if you are looking for a 6-pack you won’t get it from the ab machine, start doing body weight and dumbbell exercises that challenge your core through out your whole workout.

I know a lot of people don’t know how to use dumbbells so they gravitate to the strength machines because they are easy to use.  I understand that, but you aren’t getting the kind of workout you could be.  So, if you want to really train your body no matter what your goal is pick up the dumbbells and if you don’t know how to use them, ask a trainer.  I love helping people learn new exercises with dumbbells.  It will help you reach your goal faster and help you decrease your risk of injury in real life activities.


You can check out dumbbell exercises on my You Tube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC07OBobaYqRtAZRVXkooEuw


Have fun learning new exercises!



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