Simplifying Strength: Free Weights

When most people draw up an image of muscular strength, that picture usually involves lifting free weights. Which is great! Free weights are a fantastic tool for strength training and improving your fitness.

 

Although there are countless designs, shapes, and sizes, the idea is still the same: Free weights include any object used to improve muscular fitness that is not attached to any apparatus.  

VTX-8-sided-rubber-encased-dumbbells

 

The most common kinds of free weights you’ll see in a gym setting are barbells and dumbbells.

 

Barbells include a long metal bar where heavy plates can be attached to each end in order to increase the resistance.

 

Dumbbells are smaller and used for single handed exercises.

 

53lb_kbAnother style of free weight that is growing in popularity is the kettlebell, which involves a weighted ball with a handle attached to the top.

 

Free weights allow you to exercise muscles in a limitless range of motion and can be used to improve muscular endurance, strength, and power.  They are used in a variety of applications from physical rehabilitation, to health and fitness, to improving performance in the most elite athletes.

 

With the proper guidance from a fitness professional, anyone can accomplish their exercise goals by incorporating free weights into their normal training routine.

 

My Breakdown on Free Weights:

 

Pros:

  • They can be used to improve all aspects of fitness (strength, body composition, endurance, etc.)
  • They have a limitless range of motion and are very effective at exercising all muscles of the body, including stabilizers.
  • The equipment itself is relatively simple making it very easy to use for even the novice exerciser.

 

Cons:

  • Using free weights requires a greater understanding of technique, body awareness, and trunk stability.  It is important that you learn the proper way to perform each exercise and choose the correct resistance before incorporating it into your routine.
  • There is a higher risk of injury with free weights.  They are not attached to anything, so there is the possibility of dropping one.  Other risks include overextending or overexerting a muscle or joint while performing an exercise. These risks can be minimized  by learning the correct training techniques from a professional trainer.

 

Want to learn more about how to use free weights? Stay tuned for our special class offerings this fall!

 

Written by Ross Elliott

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