We all know Free weights are an excellent, versatile addition to any home gym – however, they can instill a sense of fear, discomfort, or intimidation if you are unfamiliar with the best way to incorporate them into your workouts.
It can be really daunting to use free weights for the first time. “How much weight should I use?” “What if I look silly?” “How do I know I am using free weights wrong?” These concerns are completely normal. Rest assured, we’re here to help you navigate all of these concerns, and the benefits of working out with free weights are totally worth the learning curve. Here are just a few:
● Full Range of Motion – While weight machines confine your motion to a guided path, free weights offer a limitless range of motion, allowing for easy movement and extensive versatility
● Muscle Stabilization – Using free weights activates your stabilizer muscles, the muscles that help maintain balance and prevent injury.
● Portability – It is significantly easier to transport free weights than it is to transport weight machines. This allows you to workout where you want, when you want.
So how should you get started?
Choose an Appropriate Weight – There’s no precise science to this. Choose your weight based on what feels right to you. You’re better off starting light and focusing on your technique. Remember, you can always increase weight if a particular exercise is too easy. Using weights that are too heavy and then decreasing weight could leave your muscles needlessly strained.
Go Slow – When getting started with free weights, it’s important to go slow, both in speed and intensity. Take slow, controlled repetitions during your exercises to ensure proper form and effectiveness, and don’t overdo it. You’re bound to be sore after your first few workouts, so build the intensity of your workouts gradually.
Use a Spotter – A good spotter can push you to get the most out of an exercise while also monitoring your form and supporting you if you struggle in order to prevent injury. Trust us, it’s worth asking for the assistance.
Rack Your Weights – If you’re working out at a gym, it’s proper etiquette to put your weights back when you’re done using them. Be a good example and help keep things organized and easily accessible for your fellow gym-goers.
Barbells vs. Dumbbells
Everyone has a favorite kind of free weight. There are important considerations when choosing which kind of weight for your workouts.
Dumbbells are handheld free weights consisting of a handle and matching weights attached on both ends. They can be used individually or in pairs, one in each hand. Dumbbells are great for beginners because they require more individual muscles to fire in your arms and core to keep the weights stable as you move them up and down. Your hands are not in a fixed position like they would be using a barbell, so there’s less rigid stress on your tendons.
Ask a Gym Source equipment expert about NuBells (pictured at the top of this blog post). Their unique circular shape keeps the weight evenly distributed on your hands throughout the motion of lifting. To learn more about what the innovative NuBells design offers fitness fans – click here.
A barbell is another type of free weight, consisting of a long bar with weights attached on both ends. Barbells require both hands, as they’re too large to use singlehandedly or in pairs. They require less work from the smaller stabilizer muscles than dumbbells, making it easier for users to focus on larger muscle groups. They’re often the preferred choice of more experienced weightlifters, mainly because they make it possible to work with greater weight. Gaining strength means adding more and more weight to the bars.
To get the most out of your workout, it’s recommended that you use both dumbbells and barbells over time.
Now you’re armed with knowledge of the benefits of free weights as well as how to get started. Abide by these guidelines, stick with it, and you’ll be lifting like a pro before you know it!
For further reading, check out this article to learn some great free weight exercises for beginners.
Visit your local Gym Source Store to shop our large selection of free weights, including the innovative NuBells. Need help choosing a different home fitness equipment solution? Connect with a Gym Source equipment expert.
Please note, workouts suggested on this website are not to be interpreted as treatment plans or substitutes for medical consultation. Before undertaking any exercise program, please consult a physician or healthcare provider for appropriate safety precautions. If at any point during a workout you start to feel dizzy, faint, short of breath, or experience physical discomfort, discontinue your exercise immediately and consult a physician.