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Machine vs Free Bar Squats: Which Is Best For Muscle Growth? – Podcast Episode 77

My whole life, I’ve always been fascinated by huge muscles. It’s also taken me YEARS of intense determination, drive, and ass-busting to get them.

As a former skinny yoga teacher, I dreamed of the day I’d have a round, juicy butt and huge legs. But yoga was definitely not the way to do it. So when I decided to get my ass in the gym and start training with my first personal trainer, Curtis, I was on a mission to grow the biggest glutes and legs I could possibly grow.

Except I was doing it ALL wrong.

I would position myself under the free bar week after week, month after month, trying my hardest to increase the load and increase my size.

But my back couldn’t handle it.

It hurt like a b*tch to squat under that free bar! All my years of yoga left me with very weak glute muscles because the types of squats you do in yoga don’t require much glute activation. Because of this, my lower back would pick up the slack of what my glutes should have been doing when I would break parallel and go deep (though I didn’t realize this at the time).

My efforts were not matching my results. I wasn’t getting bigger! Instead, I was just constantly in pain, and my weak glutes were making it impossible to increase my load in the gym. After loads of researching, I realized what was causing my back pain. I became obsessed with building my glutes so that I could alleviate the pain and push some heavier weight so I could grow.

As you’ll hear in this week’s episode, a strange turn of events happened with my friend Emma that changed the course of my entire bodybuilding career. Listen to what changes I made in the gym that not only massively strengthened my glutes and my lower back, but turned my quads into melon crushers faster than I ever thought possible.

This may shock you!

Love Kim xo

Podcast Reference List

“The fastest, most efficient way to build more muscle is simply to add more load.”

“It’s hard to train hard enough when using a free bar.”

“If your goal is simply bigger legs (and not stronger legs), squat heavy on a machine!”

“As long as you can lower with control and then still get back up with a bit of help, your muscles have not yet failed.”

“Time does not equate results.”

Buns & Guns:
Basement Jacked:
Kim’s IG: @thesculptedvegan
Squat Your Way To Relieving Back Pain: Episode 35

12 thoughts on “Machine vs Free Bar Squats: Which Is Best For Muscle Growth? – Podcast Episode 77

  1. Stephanie says:

    Very informative! I would love to grow my legs, good to know to use the machines!!

  2. Robyn Chumley says:

    I just want to say as a newbie the way Kim Constable explains stuff so that even I can understand is amazing ! She is brilliant ! Not only is her podcast very knowledgeable but I always leave Feeling as though I have truly learned something. And somehow she manages to make me feel like I can do this if I put in the hard work I can do this! I have decided from now on to listen to a podcast of hers every single day !
    I JUST LOVE HER And her no nonsense way of giving us information without all the BS!!!

  3. Penny Vieau says:

    Very good. Yes I love the machines. My friend injured herself from the freebar, (her back). Too much load on back. I have learned over the years to push through those glutes but my glutes don’t want to perk up. They will now. I am determined before I die. Lay me upside in the coffin I want everyone to see my buns of steel. Lol

    • The Sculpted Vegan says:

      Yes, free bar can be very unpredictable at times. Let’s build that beautiful 🍑 xoxo

  4. Christina Gaudette says:

    So many great take aways from this episode.
    How to engage your transverse abdominus, be honest with yourself – do I deserve the results I think I do?and clear about your goals. Blessed to have found you, and educated and entertained every time I listen

    • The Sculpted Vegan says:

      Yes, you nailed it! We definitely need more honesty in the industry, and I’m honored that I can provide it! xoxo

  5. Marina Doherty says:

    I am soooooo happy I listened to this podcast,I have been in the gym now for 10months and finally starting to see changes in my body,I am 54 and was thinking off starting the freebar weights until I heard your podcast,i do have on and off little bit of pain in my lower back but since you taught us on how to suck that smoothie when lifting 🤣I know I’m protecting my back and I use that method on some off the weight machines,so im staying on the weight machines!!! and thank you kim as always your so honest and knowledgeable xxxxx

    • The Sculpted Vegan says:

      You are very welcome! Much easier to go to failure safely on the machines 🙌 Keep that back safe, and happy training!


  6. Leanne Bobee says:

    This was so timely for me. I’ve finally set my goal to build strength and muscle endurance to finally break 4hrs in a marathon. With gyms closed still in Toronto I have been doing all free weights and I am so nervous to increase the load as I dint want to risk injury that would halt my training. The leg machines are the only thing I miss about training at the gym.

    • The Sculpted Vegan says:

      That’s an amazing goal! Maybe you could look into a friend coming over to spot you, or hiring a PT to come and spot you on your training. Good luck in your ventures!


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