Building Muscle: Free Weights vs. Isokinetic Machines

Posted: Aug 20 in Getting Active by

When it comes to weight lifting, there is widespread disagreement over which types of equipment are most effective at building muscle mass. Many swear that free weights are best, while others swear that isokinetic machines are just as effective. So, what is the best way to build muscle mass? Here are the pros and cons of each method.

Free Weights

Free weights have a few advantages over isokinetic machines. First, free weights not only stimulate the specific targeted muscle, they help develop smaller stabilizer muscles. These smaller muscles allow for increased overall strength. helping you lift heavier weight, which allows for increased muscle growth and so on. This is why free weights are the usual choice for bodybuilders looking to grow large muscles.

Isokinetic Machines

Although isokinetic machines can stimulate muscle growth, they aren’t quite as effective as free weights because they don’t require the use of stabilizer muscles to balance the weight. That said, isokinetic machines do have advantages over free weights. For one, they are generally safer. You don’t have to worry about dropped weights, smashed toes and other potentially dangerous scenarios that can occur when someone overestimates the amount of free weight they can lift at one time.


If you have injuries to your knees, shoulders or back, you may want to avoid free weights. Because free weights can be difficult to balance, they can put extra strain on muscles, tendons and cartilage. This can exacerbate existing problems and even create new injuries.


Most people have their personal preference when it comes to choosing between free weights and isokinetic machines. If you don’t get proper nutrition, however, it won’t matter what style of weight lifting equipment you choose. A proper balance of protein and complex carbohydrates is essential to building muscle. If you want to build more muscle mass, the two most important times to eat are in the morning and immediately after your workout.

Free weights and isokinetic machines each have their advantages and their downsides. While free weights are highly effective at strengthening both core and stabilizer muscles, they can potentially lead to injury in certain situations. Isokinetic machines, while safer and more fluid, are also bulky and difficult to transport. It’s important that you consider your exact goals and your personal injury risk before you choose which is right for you.

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