- If you are new to strength training variable resistance machines are the best because safety is a concern with the free weights.
- Variable resistance machines are good for injured athletes as they isolate specific muscle group and provide more controlled movements.
- Free weights recruit more muscle groups than variable resistance machines. They promote quicker strength gains but they require more balance and coordination than machines.
- They're more versatile since their allow for a greater range of motion.
- They're much cheaper than machines.
- Free weights require the help of a spotter (a training partner or a person who gives assistance to an unsuccessful lifting attempt, which normally occurs when lifting a weight continuously until momentary muscle failure occurs)
- They result in more injuries than machines.
Bottom line: Use equipment that is safe, suits your training needs and convenient.