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Exercise - Sports - Weight Lifting - Free Weights

With the right techniques and equipment, even novices are able to feel the benefits of free weights.

Types of Free Weights

Being a gym newbie is often daunting. After signing up most people find the weights room most intimidating and therefore stay clear and use the larger machines instead. Whilst this type of equipment can benefit your workout, the nerves of heading into the weights room is unnecessary and can hugely improve your workout.

With the right techniques and equipment, even novices are able to feel the benefits of free weights. However, before you get going, it is important to understand the basics of this equipment along with the pros and cons of each weight. To help you along your way, we have detailed the main types of weights and our opinions on each below. The main types of free weights are dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells and plates, EZ bar and sandbags.

Dumbbells

Easily the most popular type of free weight is dumbbells. These are a great first port of call for beginners as there are so many exercises you can do with them. Their effectiveness comes from being able to workout each side of your body separately ensuring you don’t have a ‘stronger side’ after completing all your workouts.

The unstable nature of this type of weight also engages your core to ensure torso strength is also being used and increases. However, the main downside of dumbbells is the inability to vary the weight. You are unable to stack a larger amount of weight on them. This means that if you’re looking to lift weights heavier than around 8kg for squats or deadlifts, dumbbells are not going to be the most effective method. 

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Exercise – Sports – Weight Lifting – Free Weights

    Free Weights

Free Weights FAQs

What Is Free Lifting?

Weight lifting with free weights describes any type of training whereby the weights are not connected to any other apparatus or equipment, hence the descriptive ‘free’.

What Is Weightlifting Good For?

Weight lifting has a range of benefits including improved posture, better sleep, gaining bone density, maintaining weight loss, boosting metabolism and a large list of positives.

Is Free Weights Or Machines Better?

With free weight exercises, you have the benefit that they can work more muscles in less time than with machines.

Does Lifting Weights Burn Belly Fat?

There is a suggestion that strength training is better at helping people lose belly fat compared with cardio because weight lifting burns almost exclusively fat.

Can You Build Muscle With Just Free Weights?

If you are wanting to gain a lot of lean muscle mass, you can do so it with just a set of dumbbells.

Kettlebells

These weights introduce a level of functional training that allows more natural movements due to their shape and the way they’re held. Exercises such as kettlebell swings are much easier with this type of weight.

However, similarly to dumbbells there is a limit on how heavy the weights can go. There are smarter and more effective ways to use kettlebells than purely for their mass. By completing a higher number of repetitions or tension, you will in turn build more endurance and stamina. 

Barbells and plates

This is where you are able to up your weight where necessary. If your fitness goal involves gaining muscle mass through strength and size, it is best to lift the heaviest weight possible, but ensuring your form is optimal at the same time. Barbells and plates come into their own here.

In addition to this, barbell and plate exercises are done with both sides of the body, allowing your to 1. Lift more weight and 2. Become more stable due to engagement of your core. 

However, before you jump in with both feet first, there are, like anything, drawbacks to consider. These include the impact on your wrists as well as the restricted range of movement in comparison to dumbbells or kettlebells.Your range of motion can be slightly more limited when using this type of weight. 

 

EZ-bar

An EZ-bar is different from a standard straight bar in its zig-zag pattern towards its centre. This feature makes the exercise slightly easier on your wrists. That makes this bar great for increasing the weight of your exercise, particularly when working out your biceps and triceps as this allows you to avoid forcing your wrists into unnatural positions.

The shape of this bar however does provide its own set of drawbacks. The main concern when using an EZ-bar is that sometimes your weaknesses can be masked. For example your weaker side could be doing less work but you would be unaware. 

Sandbags or sandbells

Often just as heavy as dumbbells and kettlebells, sandbags or sandbells are just often not as hard. This means that you could drop them or slam them down whilst creating minimal or no damage to your floors and walls. This type of weight provides a platform to build functional strength through more natural types of movements. 

The design of sandbags and sandbells are intentionally effective in allowing you to move as your body requires comparatively to the restriction of regular bars or EZ bars. Like all free weights, sandbags and sandbells are not without their drawbacks. Whilst less damaging, these weights can be cumbersome and are not designed to carry very large amounts of weight. Experts suggest that these types of weights are more tailored to building stamina.

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Further Info On Exercise

Gyms

Gyms are a dedicated space for us to work out and exercise.

Classes

Group fitness is a great way to stay motivated.

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