Whilst training with free weights can be more involved and advanced than using resistance machines alone, it's never too soon to make your first visit into the free weights area.
It most certainly is not a male-only domain and, here at myGym, we have lots of ladies who regularly train in this area as part of their exercise regime.
There's no escaping the fact that using free weights takes more practice, concentration and, above all, technique than using fixed motion path resistance machines, but, like anything in life, it only takes a little bit of knowledge, a certain amount of practice and a slow progression of ever increasing weights and repetitions, to make a real success of free-weight training.
Unlike training with resistance machines, free-weights have no fixed motion path, meaning there is a constant need to ensure balance, movement and overall technique is maintained throughout each and every lift.
If you've used resistance machines previously, you'll already know some free-weight exercises, even if you've never actually performed them in a free weight area.
That's because resistance machines are designed to mimic the type of exercises you would otherwise do with free-weights, e.g. a dumbbell or barbell.
Because you have complete freedom of movement when performing a free-weight exercise, you typically engage a wider range of muscles to help steady and stabilise to the whole body whilst performing the lift.
For example, something as simple as a standing dumbbell curl (used to activate the biceps) should also engage the abdominal (or core) muscles at the same time in order to help keep you balanced and stable during the movements. A bicep-curl machine by contrast typically has a seat, so no core stability muscles are required in order to perform the movement correctly.