Ask The Trainer: Machines Vs. Free Weights

The fitness world is always buzzing about what’s better: free weights or the machines. There tends to be a little bit of a stigma with the machines. Some say you can’t get in as good of a workout. Doug Quinlivan; a trainer at Ascent Fitness in Denver; says there may be some truth to that.

“There is a difference. The free weights are going to force you to use stabilizing muscles a little bit more,” he said. The smaller muscles help you stabilize the weight and can help you burn a few more calories. But, Doug said when it comes down to it, the difference is pretty miniscule.


Additionally, if you’re lifting heavy weight, it might be better to use the machines if you don’t have a spotter. “If you’re by yourself, machines might be a better option for ya, for working out and being able to push yourself a little more.”


Bottom line, it all comes down to how much you push yourself at the gym.


If you have a fitness question for Doug, email