Weight Machines- Should Personal Trainers Use Them?

Weight Machines- a useful tool for building a healthy Muscular System

Many personal trainers in the industry, for various reasons, do not use weight machines. This is a mistake. Weight machines are incredibly useful for developing and improving strength. If used correctly, weight machines are a safe, effective, and efficient method of improving the health and function of the muscular system. No matter what the clients goals are, whether it be running faster, cycling further, being more agile, having better posture, performing better at sports, slowing the process of aging, it is universally true that having a strong, healthy functioning muscular system is required.

Exercise Modalities

There are many approaches to exercise. Here is a list of a few types of exercise offered in the industry:

  1. Yoga.
  2. Bodybuilding.
  3. Crossfit.
  4. Group classes.
  5. HIIT programs.
  6. Olympic lifting.
  7. Corrective exercise.
  8. Functional Exercise.

The efficacy of some exercise modalities seem to be more sound then others. Each approach has its associated level of efficiency in improving muscular function and strength. As well, each approach has a level of potential risk toward the health and function of the muscular system and joint health. In order to determine which exercises are appropriate and useful first consider the clients physical needs, current physical ability, current skill level, tolerance to force, capacity to focus, and their physical goals.

Who avoids weight machines?

Trainers who avoid weight machines:

  • don’t understand the forces associated with the weight machine.
  • don’t understand the anatomical joints associated with weight machines.
  • don’t understand muscle function well enough too see value in weight machines.
  • are to biased in their approach to exercise to see how weight machines are useful.

Weight Machines offer isolated challenges for muscles

Weight machines are a great tool for creating isolated challenges to specific muscles. This will improve the horsepower of specific muscles; making them stronger and more powerful. If individual muscles of the whole muscular system function well and grow stronger, then the entire muscular system will function optimally. Weight Machines reduce the neurological focus that many body weight, and free weight exercises require; neurological focus in this case would be the level of skill and focus required to execute a movement. If there is a greater neurological requirement to execute a movement the muscular output (force production) diminishes. In simple terms you can’t lift as much weight, thus reducing your efficiency in developing strength in specific muscles.

“if they don’t understand how non functional the traditional uses of bodyweight, free-weights, and cables are they will never understand how to create resistance profiles that truly match the function of the body, which is required in order to truly improve human musculoskeletal function!!” (Tom Purvis, Resistance Training Specialist)

Exercise Professionals should learn to use weight machines

Trainers ought to learn how to properly use weight machines. Exercise Professionals should understand the value and risks of all exercises, including weight machines. Learning how to identify the forces and manipulate the exercises appropriately ensures that clients receive the best possible exercise process for their health and fitness goals. Weight Machines have grown to be a tool less utilized by personal trainers and fitness professionals within the industry. Often the reasons weight machines aren’t used has nothing to do with whether they are an effective tool. More often it has to do with people either not understanding how to use weight machines or their subjective bias is keeping them from recognizing the value they offer.

Written By: Erick Holtzman