A gym can be a rather intimidating place to be, especially at peak hours after work. I had one of these trainings 3 days back when I went to the gym in the evening before dinner. It was packed, sweaty and the smell of perspiration filled the air with a stale wet smell. My gym is just your typical small gym divided into 3 sections; cardiovascular area like your stationary bike and roller machine, weighed machines area and free weights. I hate to say this, but seriously the weighted machines and the cardiovascular machine area have no place in a gym in the first place! All of the machines are nothing more than restrictive areas that will eventually hurt you in the future. Here are the reasons why!
Machines by nature are restrictive. Try moving the machine in the way you want it to move and you will be definitely be disappointed. Not only is the movement not natural, but it place unnecessary stress on joints and opposing muscle groups when you try to compromise to the machine. Let us assume you are doing a Leg Press Machine and you shift the seat back until it suits you. You started doing a few reps before you feel a pain in your back while you are pushing the weights out. This is what I meant by seriously hurting yourself. A pair of dumb-bells or Olympic bar does not give you the same problem as other body parts can assist you when you are doing your exercise. For example, you are doing a barbell squat. You core will work to stabilize you while you move up and down and your trapezius and hands will help to keep the bar up. When you train many major muscles together at the same time, it allows your body to figure out how to compromise rather than get fixated into a regulated position which will grow a certain part of your body and impede another from growing, resulting in stalling of weights or in worse case scenarios, injury.
The next reason why free weights are better is what you have been contributing to all along; not many people dare to use free weights. That gives you plenty of time to work out without the interruption of someone asking if you are done with your exercise or a need to share the machine. With this, your exercise time is shorter which would result in faster results. The reason why this happens is that science have proven that the 45 minutes window for weight training is the optimum average time for you to train. Anything over 45 minutes may even turn out to be detrimental when your muscles are depleted of much needed energy and nutrients like glycogen and amino acids to repair the damage. This could lead to unnecessary aches and set your next training to an even further date.
Lastly, free weights training are the most effective and that is the reason why you should do it. People who have done machine solely have been proven not just by me, but hundreds of fitness trainers all around the world that the growth rate is slower compared to one who learn how to do the exercise with free weights properly.