Are free weights better than machines? Imo, Yes Here are my opinions : Machines don't accommodate different body types as their manufacturers insist. You can adjust the settings all you want, but some exercises will never be perceived as natural motion by the body. With free weights, you’ll always find the right groove; it just might take some time to do so. Specific to the "long-run," machines fix you into certain movement planes that can lead to pattern overload and overuse injuries over time. There's also the argument that machines are less intimidating to novice trainees. Perhaps, but who really wants to remember the settings for the weight stack, footpad, bench and chest support ? Those who are intimidated by free weights are that way because they haven't been educated about how free weights aren’t that much different from what they do in their everyday lives. Is a one-armed row that much different than starting the lawnmower? Is a dumbell bench press that much different than punching a guy who stole your girlfriend? Teach these individuals about functional carryover and how free weights will improve their quality of life, and you’ll see very quickly that the intimidation argument is bunk. Now, my final argument: machines require no stabilization. When someone lifts weights, they aren't just training muscles; they’re training their neuromuscular system, which includes efferent (feed-forward) and afferent (feedback) mechanisms. They’re stressing the somatosensory and visual systems. It’s your responsibility to expose them to the richest and most appropriately functional proprioceptive environment from day one. Free weights can do that, machines don’t. IMO, the argument of starting someone with machines and then switching them to free weights once they’re "comfortable" doesn't hold water. Crucial neural and muscular components of stabilization won't be in place, so it'll be much harder and more dangerous to master the new movement than if the individual had been progressed in a functional. Don’t get me wrong, there are some machines that have their place in all training programs (such as Keiser machines). In fact, I’m a fan of cables, glute-ham raises, and reverse hypers. However, the vast majority of your training should be based on free weights. Use both barbells and dumbbells. The former will allow you to teach maximal loading sooner, while the latter will offer greater functional carryover and protection against overuse injury. Last one : free weights are cheaper than machines. Okay, I want to hear your opinion in this topic.