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Should I use kettlebells (free weights) or machine weights to get toned?

Any "resistance" will help you tone up those muscles - all of it is moving a mass against gravity. Some forms of exercise allow you to move the mass "freely" while others direct your motion via cables, rods, pads, etc. Beginners may find machines a safer place to start - the joint action is guided (when done correctly). Free weights (dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, etc) are also good for beginners - a lot more going on in the body to control the weight in space AND move it against gravity.

It is VERY important that you learn the proper way to execute the exercise. Some mistakes just rob you of the full benefit of your time, while others may cause injury. A qualified, certified trainer should be able to assist you.

Regardless of your exercise mode choice (machines or free weights), all types of resistance training will help you "tone up."  It needs to be something you enjoy, have easy access to, and is a little challenging. And keep mixing it up!  Variety helps us not get bored.

Use both! You shouldn’t limit yourself to using one type of equipment to reach your fitness goals. Neither is better than the other. Kettlebells are great for working larger muscle groups, while machine weights are great for focusing in on specific muscles.

Machine weights aren't always the best exercise option. In this video, Dr. Oz guest Dr. Mike Clark explains why kettlebells, or free weights, can tone you better than weight machines.


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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.