Buying Free Weights

If you’re looking to lose fat, build muscle, increase your strength, or improve your muscular endurance, the addition of some free-weights to your home gym is an absolute must! If you previously haven’t had much experience purchasing or using these particular training tools before it can be a bit daunting. For this reason we will cover some key aspects which you may want to consider when purchasing free weights.


About free weights

The term “free-weights” is generally applied to barbells, dumbbells, and kettlebells. Free-weights are a favored and traditional training tool for resistance training.

The reason why they are so popular compared to alternative options such as machines or home gym stations is because free weights are more functional. The performance of exercises with free weights requires the entire body to co-ordinate, working in unison to stabilize and move a load. Machines on the other hand generally set a particular muscle in a fixed movement pattern and isolate it from the rest of the body, which if overused can lead to muscle imbalances as well as a lack of functional development.


Main considerations

There are several key things to be aware of when purchasing free weights to not only ensure that you avoid making a mistake or mismatch when ordering, but also to ensure your selection will help you to achieve the best results possible!


Olympic versus standard

Standard Vs OlympicBarbells and dumbbell rods are classified by either of these terms. Olympic bars and rods have 50mm diameter ends, while standard bars and rods have 25mm ends. When purchasing plates to put on your bar you will need to take into account which type of bar they need to fit onto. Standard bars require standard plates, and olympic bars require olympic plates.

The main difference between olympic and standard to consider when purchasing is that olympic barbells have higher weight capacities than standard bars. Barbells designed specifically to cope with the impact of being dropped from overhead after olympic lifts are also only made in olympic size; therefore more experienced trainees will want to purchase in olympic size. Beginners or anyone not intending to lift particularly heavy on the other hand are best suited to standard bars and plates.


Barbells and plates appropriate for being dropped

Volt Bumper PlatesIf you are planning on dropping a barbell onto the ground after the performance of exercises such as the push press or clean and jerk etc, you will need to ensure that you invest in equipment fit for this purpose. We stock a range of bars designed and drop tested to cope with the rigors of this training style. If a bar is suitable for dropping it will be specified in its product description.

Selecting the correct type of plates is also crucial if you are going to be dropping your barbell. Traditional cast iron plates are not suitable for this purpose. The impact forces that they will be subject to will cause the plates to shatter. If you are going to be dropping your barbell you will need to invest in solid rubber bumper plates. Bumper plates are designed and drop tested, so will prevent you potentially wrecking a new barbell and plate set if you use a bar and plates not suitable for dropping.


Selecting dumbbells and kettlebells of an appropriate weight

We offer a range of pre-set dumbbells, as well as kettlebells.  As these particular products cannot be adjusted in weight it is important to choose appropriately for your current abilities.

We recommend that an appropriate weight will be challenging for you to complete a full set with, however it should still allow you to maintain safe and appropriate technique. It can be easy to get over ambitious and try to lift too much, too soon. However making this mistake will actually more likely stifle your gains rather than speed them up, as you won’t be able to train at all if you cause yourself injury.


If you need any further advice or there is something you need to check that wasn’t covered in this buyers guide, please don’t hesitate to contact our highly skilled sales team via 0800 222 190 or