I've posted once already about why free weights are superior to machines, so I won't rehash it all here. The short version: machines control the way you move, enable you to lift more weight without being stronger, increase your risk of injury, and do not build strength that is applicable in the real world.So why do people continue to use machines? Ego. People want to be able to claim that they can "Bench" an impressive-sounding amount of weight, so they use machines for the simple reason that machines do some of the work for you, thus allowing you to lift more weight than if you used free weights.
I bring this up because Token Asian Roommate was a bit annoyed that a mutual friend claimed to have lifted more weight than TAR can. Of course, this friend was using machines. I told TAR not to worry about it, that the person used machines and that his inflated numbers were just that: inflated.
To drive the point home, we did a little experiment after our workout. We had already Bench Pressed for 5 sets of 5, but I took him over to our gym's Bench Press machine. He got on the machine, and I loaded it up with 140 pounds. He did 2 reps. I moved it up to 160 and he got 1 rep. Not too bad for a guy whose max on the barbell Bench Press stands at 115 pounds.
To further prove my point, I loaded the machine up to its maximum weight of 400 pounds and proceeded to do 5 reps. If I had 400 pounds above me on a barbell, it would crash to my chest the instant I unlocked my elbows, and I'd be headed to the hospital.
So, to conclude: working out on machines is not the same as lifting weights. The "strength" you build on machines will not translate to free weights or to real-life movements. If you're using machines now, switch to free weights. You might have to check the ego at the door and use less weight at first, but stick to free weights and you'll get stronger than you ever could by using machines.
5 x 5 x 255
5 x 5 x 230
5 x 330
12, 9, 7
1 Arm DB Snatch
3 x 5 x 70
Comments: Morning Squats again. Bleh. 4 and 5 were ugly on most sets, but they got done. Bench Press 5x5 felt easy! Solid Deadlifts, the weight came up easy. Glad to continue progressing on Pullups. Again, DB Snatch for torso strength and overhead stabilization.
Friday's a light day -- I'll keep the weight the same and go 3x3 instead of 5x5. Why, you ask? Find out on Friday!