If you’ve recently decided to get in shape, you might find yourself in the gym with the treadmill trotters and the smith machine enthusiasts. You’re looking around and not sure where to start. Cardio is great for anyone, whether as a warm up or to burn some extra calories while at the gym. But you should know muscle burns more calories than fat. Smith machines are good supplemental workout machines, as they can help you isolate the major muscles you want to work out. But if you want to get a better workout, faster strength gains, and increase your muscle mass, the free weights are where you should look.
Gain Strength Along with that Muscle
When using a smith machine, the machine is helping to stabilize the weight. Using free weights requires your muscles to assist stabilizing the motion of pumping the iron, not to mention the balancing required for many free weight exercises. This results in better overall improvement in muscle strength. Free weights are also very versatile and can be used for many different exercises, as opposed to the restricted movement of machine based workouts. If you’re not noticing strength gains on the smith machine, it’s definitely time to move over to the free weight rack in your gym, or even at home.
Do It Slow
When using free weights, or any exercise for that matter, one of the keys for rapid improvement is to do each rep slowly. Four to five seconds per rep is a good rule to follow, don’t rubber band the reps. If you want to tone, you should still be using a weight that tires your muscles after each set. If you’re a female concerned about getting too muscular, trust me – you don’t have enough testosterone, that won’t happen. Well… unless you’re using steroids, you won’t start Hulk-ing up anytime soon. Enjoy the results from adding free weights to your workout routine, and don’t be afraid to push your muscles to exhaustion.