Which is better?
There are a lot of arguments out there and opinions on what is better, free weights or machines? And to be honest both work for specific things and both can have their place to help produce results. A mixture of the both is best but if you had to pick one...have a read and see what outcome you get to!
Choosing what to use or in my case programme for someone comes down to their goals, experience, ability and access to equipment.
Benefits of free weights:
Skill acquisition - To improve your squat the best way is to squat
Stability - You're in control of the full weight and need to keep the weight stable when using free weights
Variation - You can easily vary a free weight exercise to suit
Accessibility - Easy to train with free weights at home compared to machines
Benefits of machines:
Easy - Good for beginners who are learning and don't know that much about working out
Safe - Less change of accident as everything is fixed and stable compared to a free weight
Intensity - Good for high intensity with less risk is getting stuck mid lift from exhaustion, can just lower the machine
In most cases machines are safer and better for beginners but there are a few examples when I would leave the machines to the more experienced. One being the smiths machine for exercised like squats and shoulder press, the machine is stuck in one plane of movement so can cause injury if not used correctly.
So overall they are both good and a mix of the two is best, so ensure you are using both in your programmes and mix it up every once in a while.