Is there any difference between training with weights and training with gym equipment?

14 September 2020
One question we’re often asked in the gym is whether there is any difference between performing training exercises with weights or with gym equipment. Both types of training are adequate, but each has its own advantages.
Is there any difference between training with weights and training with gym equipment? - photo 1.1

When is it best to train with weights and when is it better to use gym equipment?
Depending on the objectives you’d like to achieve, in some cases it’s recommended to use weights and in other cases gym equipment.

Exercising with equipment
We’ll start with the gym equipment. The main feature of gym equipment is their fixed movement pattern. Because of this, you can achieve a higher stability and need less coordination to perform the exercises. Performing such a guided movement during exercise also results in the muscle getting exercised in a more isolated way. Training with gym equipment is very useful when we’re not yet able to control certain movements or positions during an exercise. For example, before squatting with weights, it’s highly recommended to start with the leg press on the equipment as it’ll help you to strengthen the muscles involved and familiarize yourself with the movement patterns that you’ll apply later during squats with weights.

Exercising with weights
The main advantage of weight training exercises is that you have more freedom of movement. Therefore you can exercise several muscles at once. With no machine to guide the movement, you have to pay much more attention to your posture and coordination in order to perform the exercises correctly. Normally, with equipment, you’re able to lift more weight than with equivalent exercises with free weights. Exercises with weights are usually more difficult to perform than exercises with equipment, so it’s very important that you’re able to control the technique well before you start adding weight. 

It’s best to combine both types of training, since, as we’ve already pointed out, each one has its advantages. The gym equipment is more recommended for beginners because it’s much easier to adopt the correct posture. And it’s also recommended for people who want to focus on strengthening a specific muscle or muscle group. Weights on the other hand are very good for improving coordination and they also allow you to perform a bigger variety of exercises.

If you have any doubts about how to use a gym equipment or which posture you need to adopt when training with weights, then ask any of our personal trainers for help or download the Basic-Fit application where you’ll find many exercises explained step by step.

This blog is written by our personal trainers.