The other day, I was watching a film called Divergent.
It’s set in the future where society is divided into five factions.
As soon as they reach the age of 16, everyone has to choose a faction to which they pledge allegiance for life.
But the hero of the film finds out that she is “Divergent” and will never fit into one group.
Problem is, because Divergents can think independently and the government can’t control them, they are considered a “threat” to the system.
Unfortunately, I fell asleep before it ended, so I have no clue what happened.
The whole thing reminded me a lot of the factions that currently exist in the fitness industry.
I recently got an email from a hardcore member of the “No Exercise Machines” faction.
These are people who react to exercise machines in much the same way a vampire does to sunlight.
He was “dismayed” to discover the inclusion of several machine-based exercises in Muscle Evo, and was writing to inform me that he was no longer going to read any more of my emails or visit my website.
Once I’d managed to pick myself up following the immediate halving of my fan base, I got to thinking about the whole “machines vs free weights” debate.
If I had to pick one faction, it would be free weights.
But there’s no good reason why you have to pledge allegiance to one or the other – you can take a tip from the Divergents and choose both.
In fact, there are certain muscle groups that I prefer to train on a machine.
Hamstrings are one.
Yes, Romanian deadlifts do hit the hamstrings hard.
But I think you need some kind of hamstring curl – the lying leg curl is my favorite – to fully develop the hamstrings (the suspension trainer variations don’t cut it).
And there are plenty of other machine-based exercises that I think are worthwhile, which I’ve included in Muscle Evo.
Machines and free weights are both useful tools that you can use to build muscle and get strong.
As far as choosing one “faction” is concerned, I’m officially going to pledge allegiance to not pledging allegiance to any of them.
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ABOUT THE AUTHORChristian Finn is the nation’s leading authority on science-based, joint-friendly ways to build muscle. A former "trainer to the trainers," he holds a masters degree in exercise science, and has been featured in or contributed to major media on two continents, including the BBC and Sunday Times in the U.K. and Men’s Health and Men’s Fitness in the U.S.