Starting adventure with bodybuilding might be a bit confusing, especially when you don’t know much about training. Whether you join a gym or want to buy some tools and train at home or garage you have to figure out what equipment is the best for gaining muscle size and strength.
Training equipment division
The easiest way to divide bodybuilding training equipment into categories is:
- Free weights,
- Pulleys with cables,
We can also include parallel or pull-up bars which are great tools in developing muscular physique.
What are free weights
To cut the long story short – free weights are basically barbells and dumbbells. They are tools you can move anywhere around your gym and lift them anyway you want. They don’t have any movement restriction that’s why are called free.
Training with free weights requires balancing it so the barbell or dumbbells go through the right path, evenly and not fall in front or behind you. It causes recruitment of more muscles at the same time.
Cable pulley is a training station equipped with cables. Usually it’s double (facing opposite one another) and connected in a middle with a pull-up bar but not always. There are also single pulley stations.
We can attach different handles or bars to the pulley (low or high) and perform the variety of exercises – mostly isolation.
The biggest advantage of training with cables is that they provide constant tension throughout exercise what causes bigger pump of blood into the muscle. The downside is that doing compound exercises with cable pulleys is too awkward. Also some of the balance with cables is done for you – it means that exercise is easier and less muscle fibers is involved.
Machines are designed to imitate free weight exercises (performed with barbells or dumbbells). Usually on each machine we can do only one exercise but there are few exceptions.
The same thing can become an advantage when we are too tired. When our stabilizing muscles can’t balance barbell no more, we can still do few more reps or even sets using training machines.
What is the best equipment for gaining muscle mass the fastest
The best for gaining muscle mass the fastest way are free weights because they stimulate the most muscle fibers simultaneously. They also allow us to use heavy weight during training what cause the greatest stress on trained muscle group and therefore the biggest growth and increase in strength.
Besides with free weights we can do nearly unlimited number of exercises (you can train all muscle groups of your body with only one barbell) and movements are more natural (we are not restricted to a fixed path).
Pull-up and parallel bars are also fantastic training equipment. Although we can’t train lower body using them and we are restricted mostly to pull-ups, dips and leg raises; we can achieve great results in developing chest, back, arms and abs especially when we get stronger and start using additional weight.
It doesn’t mean that cable pulleys and machines are useless. They are less effective but have many benefits as well. There is time during bodybuilding training when we can or have to use them. Besides to build aesthetic, proportional and good looking body in the long term we have to be versatile and use variety of exercises and equipment.
However free weights should be the base of our workouts especially on the beginning – when we want to build raw muscle mass or get stronger. So if you are thinking about joining the gym or training at home or garage you know now what tools will bring you the best and the fastest results.