Free weights are one of the oldest forms of exercise equipment available, yet are still one of the most popular, effective and frequently used in the entire world. It should therefore come as no surprise that fitness fans, both new and old, are consistently adding new weight sets to their home gyms and equipment collections to help them achieve their goals.
In order to ensure you make the best possible decision when deciding which weight set to purchase, let’s take a closer look at some of the choices you have, what options are available, what exercises and types of training you can do with each, as well as answering a few of the most frequently asked questions people have about weight sets in general.
What are the benefits of a weight set?
This is the primary function of any weight set, as training against a resistance is the number one way to build muscle.
Strength and endurance training
Building muscle doesn’t necessarily just mean size either. Training against gradually increasing weights and resistances is also the best way to improve strength and endurance in a muscle as well.
The ability to burn calories while you exercise combined with the heightened metabolism that occurs as a result of your increased muscle mass, to make weight sets a great way to assist with weight loss.
The ability to change weights, angles, exercises and many other variables, as and when you choose, makes weight sets incredibly versatile and useful pieces of equipment, no matter your goals or level of experience.
Free-weights are incredibly simple and straightforward to use, yet their versatility means they can be used for a staggering number of exercises. That makes them unbelievably accessible, as they are ideal for users of all levels of experience.
With the ability to train so many muscle groups and constantly adjusting the weights, you can comfortably complete entire workouts with just your set of weights. This greatly optimises a workout as it saves you wasting time hunting or waiting for other machines and equipment to become free.
Types of weight sets
A Barbell is a long bar, which will usually be loaded with weights at one or both ends and used with two hands. They are ideal for users wanting to perform big, compound exercises and use heavyweights.
While similar in many ways to a barbell, dumbbell bars are much shorter and designed to be used with one in each hand, either simultaneously or individually. They are great for people wanting to isolate each side of their body, to stop the dominant side from taking over and help to fix imbalances.
A preacher pad is a piece of equipment designed to isolate a muscle, usually the biceps, and create a strict movement. They are perfect for anyone who wants to eliminate cheating and work a muscle through its entire length and range of motion.
Weight plates are added to barbells, dumbbells and machines to increase their weight. They are ideal for anyone who wants to progress, as you don’t have to purchase new weights each time your current set becomes too light. Plates will come in various shapes and sizes but always divided into two categories of Standard and Olympic with Standard plates having a 1" diameter hole in the middle and Olympic plates having a 2" diameter hole in the middle. Olympic plates and sets tend to be geared towards heavier weights.
Kettlebells are usually solid, un-adjustable weights, featuring a handle atop a large, weighted ball. They are primarily used to perform explosive movements, such as kettlebell swings.
Things to consider
This should be your primary consideration, as you need to ensure you have enough weight to properly challenge yourself, while also making sure there are no weight restrictions where you plan to use or store it. Remember, always start off with a lighter weight and then add more weight as you progress.
Make sure you decide what the main exercises and style of training you plan to use your equipment with is, so you can select the option that best lines up with this.
Your ability level will dictate the amount of weight and accessories you need, in order to keep things fresh, so be honest with yourself to ensure you select the most suitable option.
Weight sets can vary dramatically in size, based on what is included, so have a clear idea of how much room you have before you start looking at options.
Make sure checking the price is the first thing you do, as this will save you wasting your time analysing a weight set, only to discover it wasn’t in your budget to begin with.
Weight set maintenance
Weight sets require very little maintenance. Simply keep them clean and dry to avoid rust and regularly disassemble adjustable options to stop them from seizing.