Joy, what a great question!
I believe your question can be answered in a myriad of ways.
1. Just because the equipment is large doesn’t mean that one has to use heavy loads. It simply means that a piece of equipment is large. Usage of the large machine with variable resistance may be the best option until a person can use their own body weight as resistance. A fixed machine with variable resistance may be the ideal piece of equipment for someone with limited strength.
2. What is your goal? Is it a health goal? Is it a performance goal, or just a fitness goal.
3. Are you training for brute strength or are you training for strength endurance, or strength stability.
4. What do you prefer body weight training or training with equipment.
In my opinion, the best choice is the one that you will do on a consistent basis, that you enjoy and that helps you reach your goals.
I hope this is helpful to you.
Hi Joy. I did not take a look at your profile before answering your question, so iI am answering this question as if the response is intended for you directly.
One of the primary principles of resistance or strength training is the “overload principle.” Simply stated, this principle states that you make strength gains by performing strength exercises that “overload” your muscles and forces them to adapt by getting stronger. Body weight exercises MAY be used, particularly by beginners, to overload your muscles by performing multiple repetitions and sets of certain body weight exercises. But after some time of training, this method will no longer properly overload your muscles to the extent necessary to continue to gain strength. This is where the use of “external weight” such as free weight and machines comes into play. Since you can progressively increase the amount of weight you use here, you can also continue to make strength gains.
All of this being said, you still don’t need what you call “large fitness equipment” to reach your goal of increased strength. I use many types of weight equipment with my clients, and more often than not, it does not involve large immovable weight equipment. Weighted medicine balls, resistance tubes, dumbbells, weight plates, sandbags and more are all available ways to increase strength without having to use large pieces of weight equipment. If you’re not familiar with how to safely use these instruments, or if you need to determine when you’re ready to progress from body weight to external weight exercises, I highly recommend that you seek the advice of an experienced certified personal trainer or strength coach. And of course as ALWAYS, check with your physician before you begin any exercise to make sure that you’re ready to begin.
I hope this helps.
Neither one nor the other. I believe that there is no good or bad about any kind of training but there can be a mismatch between the modality used and the person using it.
While I firmly believe that people should learn to control their own bodies, there can be many paths to that end, body weight training, machines or free weights all being possible means to an end.
Which path ultimately is the one you choose depends on your goals and inclination, and it does not even have to be an either – or.
I believe it is essential for your overall fitness level and strength level to use weights and body weight. Functional movements using your body weight will give you a strong core and good balance, while increasing your weight with dumbbells will give your muscles the overload they need to keep gaining strength. I would stay away from the “machines” if you can. They generally don’t make you work very hard b/c they are not functional and they don’t work your core at the same time.