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Do I Need To Be Using Weight Machines To Build Muscle?

Free Weights or Machines?

When you go into any commercial gym they are full of weight lifting machines i.e. leg press, smith machine, leg extension etc.

Do you need to be using these to build a great body?

Are they better than free weight alternatives such as the squat and deadlift?

Let’s use the example of building your quadriceps.

Most people consider the king of exercises for lower body is squats.

When you perform squats, you will load your quads, but after a while as you get tired your form will go and your back becomes fatigued and eventually if you continue you’ll fail.  

This is because squats are a compound exercise and require multiple muscle groups to work together.   

When you use a machine like a hack squat or a pendulum squat, your back is supported against the pads. This therefore eliminates the problem of your back failing before your quads.  

If you’re using a weight you can get 10 reps on the squat. The first few reps say 1-4 you’re not using all the muscle fibres in your quads as you get more fatigued/near failure you will use more and more muscle fibres. This what creates adaptation.

This muscle tension is what builds new muscle tissue.  

If your back fatigues before your quads get those last few needed reps you won’t achieve the necessary tension in order to get stronger. This is called task failure.

There are two types of failure; task and muscular failure. 

Task failure is when executing the exercise you are no longer able to perform clean reps and/or lose coordination.  Specifically for the squat, this will be when you start to round out your lower back. 

What you want is muscular failure in order to build muscle and to do to that you need to create adaptations. If can’t squeeze out those last few reps you’ll be missing some muscle building potential. You need to continue to lift heavy weight week to week which is why it is beneficial to incorporate machines into your routine.

If you’re using a pendulum/ hack squat machine, you will tap into those muscle fibres because you will achieve muscular failure before task failure.  Your quads are going to get exhausted and won’t be able to lift anymore and therefore you’re going to get that adaptation. 

So How Do we incorporate Machines?

At BTX, we incorporate machines and free weights in our programmes.

We put the first exercise as a compound movement such as the squat and deadlift.

The aim is to build balance, efficiency and coordination not just building quads.

During this exercise their lower back will eventually get fatigued so this won’t be enough for quad muscle fibre development.  (TASK FAILURE)

The second exercise will be using a machine lift such as pendulum squat creating (muscular failure). Subsequently getting the best of both worlds, building new muscle tissue and getting you strong.

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Fat Loss,Lifestyle,Nutrition
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