Connect with us

Thai Life

Excuse Buster: Man versus machine

Legacy Phuket Gazette




PHUKET: Walk into any gym and you’ll find a mix of machine weights and free weights. Less than five years ago, the fitness industry was loving machine weights, boasting how good they were for building size and strength. This has its truths, but after a while people have started to realize the lack of movement and mobility they had with machine weights, and even a decrease in their sports performance.

So, which is better? Straight off the bat, I would recommend free weights, but depending on your goals and abilities, machine weights do have a role. Let’s check out the advantages and disadvantages of both.


Most machines are pretty self-explanatory. They’re easy to use and relatively safe with multiple safeguards in case you get too carried away. In short, they allow you to attempt heavy weights without the need of a spotter. They also have a lower risk of injury. I see them used properly most often by bodybuilders who like to isolate muscles, and those who want to improve specific weaknesses in their physiques.


The disadvantages would be that they are non-functional. Our primal movement patterns (push, pull, squat, twist) are the movements we use every day, and are bio-mechanically natural for us.
The Smith machine, for example, locks you into place, which does not allow you to do a natural squat, but certainly allows you to slap on a lot of weight.

In my opinion, this is a recipe for disaster, not to mention the resulting neglect on many smaller muscles. Since most machines lock you in position, the muscles that are meant to stabilize you become disengaged. Your primary movers will get a workout, but smaller muscles will become weak.


Free weights allow functional movement patterns in a full range of motion and activate stabilization muscles, keeping your joints healthy and fully operational. This, of course, reaps great benefits for everyday movement and activities, such as playing football with your kids or carrying the shopping. Mobilization is also one of the most important things for athletes who want to achieve optimal performance.


Free weights take a bit of practice to learn the proper technique. You’d be surprised how many bad habits I see in the gym because people have never learned the right way. Bad habits can lead to injuries.

Start lifting a free weight with a joint out of alignment and you can expect to tweak something, especially if you’re going heavy.

Make no mistake about it; if you’re going heavy you will almost certainly need someone to spot you, as there are no safeguards against gravity.

So, which one should you use? My vote is for free weights. Unless you’re a body builder with a specific goal, or someone going through rehab, I would avoid machine weights. If you’re a beginner, I would stick with super-light free weights or hire a trainer to show you the proper form so that you don’t slip into any bad habits.

Krix Luther is a fully qualified personal trainer with nearly a decade of experience specializing in strength and conditioning. For more information about Krix and his services, visit

— Krix Luther


Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forum
🔔 Subscribe to our daily newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Coronavirus (Covid-19)11 hours ago

Wednesday Covid Update: 4,886 new cases; provincial totals

Thailand11 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Substandard masks, PM to decide on Omicron, lingerie worker demands | Dec 1

Southeast Asia12 hours ago

Vietnam to welcome fully vaccinated tourists from Thailand this month

Sponsored20 hours ago

Hungry Hub Bangkok Rooftop Festival 2021

Southeast Asia12 hours ago

Myanmar junta likely to be temporarily barred from the UN, along with Taliban

Coronavirus (Covid-19)12 hours ago

Hospital warns not all PCR tests properly detect Omicron variant

Thailand12 hours ago

Thailand’s exclusion from US Summit for Democracy could impact foreign investment

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Tourism13 hours ago

TAT predicts 500,000 travellers before 2022, 133,000 arrived so far

Thailand13 hours ago

Kanchanaburi park ranger reportedly stabbed co-worker, shot himself

Crime14 hours ago

Former Deputy PM Suthep indicted over construction contracts

Transport14 hours ago

New variant casts shadow over Thailand Motor Expo, concerns outbreak could affect the industry

Thailand15 hours ago

Thai porn industry, Forget about Pattaya nightlife, Hualampong station | Thaiger Bites | Ep.72

Transport17 hours ago

Cabinet sets aside over 5 billion baht to improve Bangkok’s public transportation

Drugs17 hours ago

Men arrested at Bangkok airport for allegedly smuggling drugs valued at 95 million baht

Thailand17 hours ago

Victoria’s Secret Thailand supplier faces labour abuse by laid off workers

Coronavirus World19 hours ago

Health officials say Omicron probably in the Netherlands prior to South Africa reports

Thailand3 months ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism9 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism9 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism9 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand10 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11