Creating a home gym is on your list of things to do. In fact, you want the gym ready to go well before summer returns. By then, you hope to have lost a few pounds and packed on some muscle. In order to get the gym going, you need some beginner weights and at least one standard bar. If you’re not sure how to go about selecting weights that will be great in the beginning and also come in handy later on, use these simple tips as your guide to picking weights.
The Great Controversy: Concrete or Iron?
There are more types of weights out there than most people realize. There are even different materials to consider. It won’t take long to find that you have a decision to make: will you start off with concrete weights or iron ones?
You’ll come across some strong opinions about both types. A lot of experts will tell you that either option is fine when you are first starting any type of weightlifting workout. Some prefer the fact that the shell for the concrete weights are so easy to grip. Since learning how to properly perform each exercise is more important than the amount of weight anyway, you may want to invest in a few concrete weights for now and then think about iron ones as you begin to need something heavier.
Another approach is to start off with iron weights from the beginning. They may seem a little more daunting, but they’re not difficult to use and the maintenance is also easy. In terms of maintaining a firm grip, the texture of the iron does make it relatively easy to pick up and add the weights to the bar. The bar itself is constructed to be easy to grip. As long as you keep the weight on each end even, managing to hold it correctly will be simple.
How Much Weight to Start?
How much weight is too much or too little? That depends on your current level of fitness. Remember that you are not competing with anyone else to see who can lift the most weight. Instead, the point is to start with something that makes it simple to master the routine while providing a manageable degree of challenge.
When you choose weight plates for the first time, it’s okay to not select the heaviest ones in the shop. Start with weights that you can pick up with relative ease while still requiring some effort on your part. Stick with those while you work on your form and ensure you are performing the exercises properly. As you begin to tone and build muscle, you can always begin using additional weights.
This means investing in a set of graduated weights. That simply means the weights in your set allow you to add a couple more to the bar from time to time as the workouts begin to get a little easy.
Your Fitness Goals: How They Influence Those First Purchases
What exactly do you want to accomplish with your lifting at home? Maybe you would like to add more mass to your upper and lower arms. Perhaps the plan is to build up your shoulders or use the weights to add more definition to the chest. These are important factors to keep in mind when you select those first plates for your home workouts.
If you’re not sure which ones will work best, never hesitate to ask for help from a trainer at a local gym or a friend who already includes weight lifting in his or her workouts. There are even videos online that will provide tips on choosing weights and performing routines designed to strengthen different areas of the upper body.
Dumbbells: A Great Place to Begin
All this sounds great, but are you ready for free weights and some type of bar from the very beginning? Even if you do want to go ahead and invest in your first set, there’s another type of weight you want to purchase: a set of dumbbells.
In many ways, those dumbbells will help you get more benefits from that barbell set. They can be used to tone and strengthen the muscles all along your arms and shoulders. There are also plenty of toning exercises that you can do with dumbbells that would be more difficult to try using free weights. Pick up a set and begin with them. It won’t take long to see why they work so well with the other weights you’ve bought for the home gym.
Understanding the Difference Between Standard and Olympic Weights
You’ll hear a lot of terminology while trying to find that perfect barbell set for the home gym. One in particular will come up quite a bit. Just what is the difference between standard and Olympic weights?
It’s actually a very simple difference: the holes in the middle of the weights are not the same size. Standard weights have holes that are smaller than their Olympic counterparts. In terms of the total amount you will lift or even the materials used for the weight plates, there are no other differences worth mentioning.
While a simple difference, it is one you need to keep in mind. Select one and stick with it. Doing so means you will be unlikely to try to use Olympic weights along with standard weights. Along with the mismatched fit, you’ll also find that the weights slip easier. That makes it hard to perform your routine.
Why the Bars Make a Difference
Do weight plates fit all bars? Since you now know the difference between Olympic and standard weights, the answer to that question is obvious. That means you always want to choose a bar that matches the type of weight you’ve chosen to purchase.
Above that, there is more than one type of bar to consider. All in all, there are nine different types. As a beginner, you will likely want to focus on using one or two of the four most common bars.
The standard bar is as simple as one can get. If you’ve lifted weights in a fitness centre, this is most likely the type of bar that you and everyone else was using. As the name implies, the standard bar is the ideal thickness to use with standard weights.
There’s also an Olympic bar that is also a simple design. The only difference between it and the standard bar is that it’s the right thickness to support Olympic weights and ensure they are firmly in position.
You may also want to think about investing in what’s known as a yoke or squat bar. This one comes with a yoke positioned in the middle of the bar. It will fit easily around your neck and rest on the shoulders. The balance this provides makes it simpler to perform squats while adding more weight to increase the resistance. If you would like to use weights to strengthen your core and legs as well as your upper body, this is a must for your home gym.
Finally, think about getting a hex bar. Also known as a trap bar. This design makes it simpler to load the bar at each end, then step into the device. You’ll find this is helpful for a number of different routines.
Adding Weights to Your Collection
The weights you purchase at first will not become obsolete as you begin to build strength, muscle mass, and endurance. There will still be ways to use them as part of the routine. Even so, the day will come when you need to add heavier weights to your collection.
A key to knowing how to choose weight plates is knowing when you need something more. Always select designs or types that match what you already have in the home gym. At some point, you will need a rack to keep all the weights arranged by size and poundage.
Don’t Forget the Bumper Plates
While you’re shopping, remember that you will need bumper plates. These are simple plates that make it safer to drop the loads after lifting. Rubber is the material of choice since it’s durable and will hold up well to a lot of use.
The training bumper plates, along with the original Olympic plates, are generally the same dimensions as the other weights you add to the bar. Select the size and the arrangement of the plates so that they will easily absorb more of the shock when you drop the loaded bar back toward the floor.
As with any type of weight-training equipment, it’s important to compare different brands and choose the one that’s will hold up well over time. Ideally, they should last as long as the iron weights you’ve selected for your workouts.
Remember that not all weights are of equal quality. It pays to spend a little more money and invest in a set that is designed to hold up well to a lot of use. When you see a set that seems to have all the qualities that you want, do some research first. If the reviews and recommendations that you find online and get from your friends who are avid weight lifters are all positive, buy your first set. Use them several times a week and you’ll be happy with what you see in a month to six weeks best weight plates for home gym