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Weapons Of FAT Destruction…

By Rob Poulos...

In the war against unwanted body fat, one of the key factors that will determine your success relates to the exercise tools, or fat burning ‘weapons’ you have at your disposal.

But first, you need to understand some of the major pluses and minuses of the top two choices of equipment we can use in our resistance training efforts.

After all, the minute you start thinking exercise machines are great, along comes some ‘expert’ telling you they’re junk…

..and the second you feel like free weights are the ‘bees knees’, that sweaty trainer at your gym tells you how he threw his back out using those dastardly free weights!

Oh how wicked the world can be…

So let’s put some rumors to rest and get the real deal on these weapons of fat destruction we can arm ourselves with in the battle of the bulge.

Sound good?  OK, let’s get started…

First off, let’s talk about exercise machines.

For years in resistance training, all we had to work with were dumbbells and barbells.   Heck, I even started out using my grandfather’s old rusty barbell set that left me with nothing much more than a set of orange hands!

So as man typically does, man set out to improve upon this with the use of exercise machines.  And improve on them he did.

The major advantage to a good exercise machine is that it allows you to apply constant resistance to the full range of motion of an exercise.

This is simply not possible with some free weight exercises.

Take the barbell curl for the biceps for example. At the top of this movement in the contracted position, all of the stress on the biceps is removed.

Sure, you can squeeze your biceps hard and contract them here, but that’s nothing compared to applying severe resistance to the muscles like a good machine can.  This allows you to work that third level of your strength (the static level) and the point of contraction, which I’ve discussed in previous tips.

You just can’t properly work the top of this movement with free weights.

One other big advantage to machines is the ability to isolate a particular muscle group that, again, would be either impossible or downright dangerous to do with free weights.

Now, just like with anything else, there are some great machines out there, but also some decent ones and some quite crappy ones too.

Out of all of the machines I’ve used over the past few years, the two top manufacturers I’ve come across are Hammer Strength and Nautilus.

Both companies provide exercise machines that work your muscles over the entire range of motion consistently.  The exercise is just as hard at the start, in the middle, and at the finish. This is important… you want a machine that works your muscle thorough throughout the ENTIRE range of motion of that exercise.

This is a very different feeling from the typical machine, and if you’ve never used these machines before you’re in for a fat burning and muscle, strength, and cardiovascular health building treat.

Now, I know not everyone has access to these machines, but your gym or fitness center still probably has a handful of good ones to use.  And that brings up one of the only drawbacks of machines….

Most are just not built for everyone in mind.  Sure, there are settings for the seat height and other adjustments, but sometimes the movements can really feel unnatural.

If you’re trying out a new machine and just can’t get a good natural feel to the movement, make sure to adjust the settings if possible.  If it still feels uncomfortable, ditch it and look for an alternative.

Now, while machines are great for the reasons listed above, good ol’ free weights have their benefits too.

Free weight exercises better simulate natural body movements, especially with compound movements where you’re working several different muscle groups at once.  They are great for efficiency for that very reason.

The free weight squat and deadlift, for example, require more of your body’s musculature and resources than most any other movements on earth. And all in a couple of simple up down movements.  Now that’s fat burning efficiency!

And many machine versions of compound free weight exercise are just not very good.  Another reason why we’d want to incorporate some free weight exercises in our fat burning routine.

Barbells or Dumbbells?

I tend to favor dumbbells over barbells. Why?

For one, you can get a fuller range of motion than with barbells in most exercises.  If you have a weaker arm or leg, you can force that side of your body to catch up to the stronger side as it has to pull an equal share of the weight.

And of course with the appearance of selectorized dumbbell kits, like the Powerblocks (our personal fave ;-)), it’s never been easier to put dozens of fat burning exercises in the corner of your room.

So now you can see why using both machines and free weights in your metabolic resistance training is something you should strongly consider.  In fact, that’s exactly what I recommend in our full Fat Burning Furnace course.

Before you go crazy and blast me with emails about body weight only exercise, we include those in FBF too, and they are great alternatives as well!

So go ahead and make use of both free weights and high quality machines in your resistance training workouts. The variety and benefits of both weapons of fat destruction will have you leaner and stronger faster!

Train hard and we’ll talk soon,
Rob

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21 Comments Add yours

  1. Joshua Brown

    over the recent months, i have gained lots of body fats due to lack of exercise,”

    • Rob Poulos

      Hey Josh, we find in most cases it is a total metabolism issue, which means addressing not just exercise (the right way) but also your diet and drinking habits… you can make amazing progress by following the FBF techniques and some of the tips in this blog… good luck!

  2. Andrea

    Great stuff Rob!

    I found out that the leg extension machine at my gym really didn’t feel good. So I never used and did alternative stuff. I suspected that it was just a “one size fits many” aspect and I wasn’t the many. It’s great to have that confirmed! Thanks!

  3. Vini

    Hi Rob,
    This may sound funny – My body structure is such that I am overly slim below, that is from my hip to toe, I can surely boast of having slimmer legs, however, my bust and tummy is very big and i look funny….tailors wonder over the kinda body I have. Please help me!
    Thanks
    Vini

  4. Brad

    What about a machine like..The Total gym?
    You know the one that Chuck Norris uses, he claims he has helped him with his injuries Does a machine like that offer that wide range of resistence that you talk about?

    • gilbolter

      like many machine each has some good tg is great for chest ,arms need to do a lot of reps
      to get pumpt up but you will feal it

  5. Edwina

    hi Rob,

    i have a bad back and need to strengthen my core muscles. what can I do that will not cause back pain to increase . I also have bursistis in hip.

    Thanks

    Edwina

    • gilbolter

      i have a bad back and bursistis in my hip. i have a do the 12 minute workout feels great, will send you staight to the doctor can,t walk for two weeks////////

    • Tim

      when you have back pain here is a tip when exercising- tilt your pelvis backwards and flatten your back – this should be comfortable – now when exercising be sure to maintain this position the entire time and you will be able to protect your back.

  6. Lee

    Bought your program almost a month ago. Also added the oolong tea to my diet.
    With body weight and dumbbells for exercise plus the recommended foods and tea,
    so far I have lost around 10#, 3 inches off my waist, added almost 3 inches to my
    chest plus adding to my arms. I feel better and look better. Oh, by the way, I am
    78 years young. Out of all the fat loss/weight loss sales on the Internet that I have
    looked at, yours was one that made sense and I purchased yours over all the rest.
    Thanks
    Lee Griggs

    • Rob Poulos

      Lee awesome to hear it! You are an inspiration to all of us… congrats!

  7. Colin Loepp

    Hi Rob,
    Nice article, both sides have their strong and weak points. I have found that compound movements work best for me and often, TRX training has been very effective.
    On another note, there are more and more mobile devices out there, mine included, that do not have Flash Player capabilities so we do not benefit from most of the specially featured pieces that you often include. Any suggestions?
    Keep up the great work,
    Colin

  8. Robert Rees

    I started the FBF program in Oct. 2010, a month before my 60th birthday. I mainly use a newly purchased PowerBlock set, and with lesser use of a long-owned, but little used, Body Solid weight machine. For diet, I have been sticking to the latest version of the Atkins diet. Ten months later, I have gone from 290 to 230, with a steady loss of 1.5 lbs. per week, and continue to loose. The most significant part of the whole process, is that once I got started and applied The FBF exercising routines and Atkins diet, it was easy to stick with it, mainly because of the almost instand positive feedback of lost pounds and inches, increased strength, and the end of food cracvings that got me in trouble in the first place.
    Last night, I got the biggest affirmation of my success. My son put a picture of him and me on his Facebook page. A buddy asked him who I was. “That’s my 60 yr. old father.” His buddy said I looked “ex-military” and only ten years older than my 32 year old son.
    Believe me, I’m sticking with the program.

    • Rob Poulos

      Robert…great story and great progress! Stay strong and keep rockin’!

  9. Geoffrey Morrison

    Hey, Rob. I’ve been away from you and your associates here for quite some time after ordering some of yours and their stuff. I broke my foot and it’s just healed. I’ll always come up with an excuse, Rob! I’m sick of looking this way–overly similar to a talentless, somewhat taller version of Danny DeVito (whom Billy Crystal likened to a (Boll) weevil in a movie)!

    Anyway, it seems to me that we should have decent equipment and free weights at home. I can speak for many that can’t afford the best or lack space for Nautilus and many other machines)–that’s why, sometimes, I think of joining a fairly close, walking-distance 24-hr. gym.

    Nevertheless, Oklahoma (OKC) has some pretty wicked weather; we’re never well prepared for weather such as relatively heavy snow and ice–such as that from the last two winters–I do have to say that the state and city are doing better. (I doubt that snow and ice is much of a problem in Michigan, is it Rob!) Really, though, everyone here online, given immobilizing weather, should have and use some alternatives inside. Some barbells and free weights, etc., at home make sense–obviously–what do you recommend as far as them and other alternatives? (Certainly, I hate this heat, also–what’s this?: A prelude to hell?!)

    I agree strongly with you about heavy cardio–it’s overly tiring, and I tend to let other tasks (certainly strength training) go after that. Thanks very much–keep up the good work, Rob! This endomorph, crawling around much as a fat tick does, shall be more attentive from now on!

    • Rob Poulos

      Hey Geoffrey, thanks for sharing…the winters here in Michigan can be BRUTAL my friend… but right now we’re having that heat wave as well… talk soon

  10. Melanie

    I’m just wondering what you think of the bowflex machine for strength training……I have a gym membership and was thinking I’m wasting my money, when I have this machine in my basement collecting dust.

    • Rob Poulos

      Hey Melanie, the bowflex can certainly get you results with the right routines, ala FBF… So yes I would suggest going with that as the best option given your circumstances… if you want more variety a few months from now, join back up at the gym…

  11. Bill Mixon

    Hi Rob,
    I am 81 yrs.old. I work out at our Lifetime Facility akc Augusta Medical Center here in Va.
    I work out 5 times a week about 2 to 3 hrs. each. I was a athletic in my prime and this really keeps me in condition. I have dead syatic nerves in right leg and can not walk without walker.
    Keep going

  12. Chuck S

    Another fitness guy said that he starts with dumbbell full body exercises when he’s fresh, then dumbbell isolation exercises, then machine isolation exercises. Looking a some of his stuff, it looks like that’s a general principle and not 100%.

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