Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Question Authority: Do free weights really work more of the stabilizer muscles than machines?

Butkus questioning authority

"I like using free weights over machines because they work more of the little stabilizer muscles."

I'm sure most have heard or thought this...dumbbells and barbells aren't fixed like a machine so you have to use more of the stabilizer muscles to control the weight.  It makes sense when you think about it...except that it's completely wrong!

If you're doing a bench press using a barbell, dumbbell, or machine...your body uses the same muscles to do the job during the movement.  The body senses is that there's a torque on a particular joint(s) and it uses the required muscles to execute the move.  When using free weights there's more instability in the movement at first but that's a skill issue and not the fact that you're using more or less stabilizer muscles.