"The main difference between weight machines and free weights are the plane and range of motion in which the exercise takes place. There are three planes of motion, sagittal (front/back), frontal (side to side), transverse (rotational). Weight machines allow the user to perform exercises in the sagittal plane only and guides the user throughout the completion of the exercise for that particular machine. The benefit of the machine is that the beginner exerciser can safely perform the exercise by following the instructions as indicated on each individual machine.
"However, free weights allow the user to dictate the plane and range of motion. The user can vary their plane of motion by performing exercises in the sagittal plane, such as the dumbbell bicep curl, the frontal plane, such as the dumbbell lateral lunge, and the transverse plane, as in the dumbbell 45 degree rotational lunge. The user can also vary the range by isometrically holding the weights at the low or high end range of a particular exercise.
"Isometrically holding the weights at various ranges recruits more of the stabilizing muscles. The beginner exerciser can definitely use free weights, however should receive instruction from a certified trainer to learn proper form and techniques so that exercises are properly performed."
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