At the same time, home based equipment can be seen as a time efficient and cost effective way of staying in shape without the expense of a gym membership.
Whatever your motivation, buying free weights can be an expensive and ultimately wasteful undertaking if you don’t know what you are looking for or what you actually need.
Before you start purchasing anything you should ask yourself these simple questions:
1. What am I wanting to achieve?
There is no point in buying a full set of kettlebells if all you want to do is a few conditioning exercises to supplement your running training.
2. How much can I currently lift comfortably?
By "comfortably", I mean completing 3 sets of 10 reps without losing form. If your answer is 5kg or even 10kg then you do not need a 20kg bar.
3. What exercises am I wanting to do?
If you are wanting to do unilateral or one sided exercises then you are better off with dumbbells or kettlebells as they are more versatile.
4. How much space do I have to train in?
Olympic bars are 7 feet long so you need a lot of space to be able to utilise one safely. Also think about the height of your workout space. Do you have enough clearance above you when you stand with your hands above your head? You need to add another 300mm minimum if you are using olympic plates.
5. How much do I need?
In general, less is more. Get the minimum that you think you can get away with and start with that. If you find that you need more, then add to your selection later.
The more questions you ask yourself, the easier the shopping experience will be.
Now that you have established a clearer picture of what your requirements are you now have to decide which of the many products available will be best suited to you.
As with everything, quality comes at a cost. This is especially true of kettlebells. The last thing you want is for the handle to come off a kettlebell when it is above your head or mid swing. This has happened and it is not pretty.
I will do a follow up blog discussing the differences between the types of equipment but the key thing to think about is versatility.
Will this product do what I want to do and more?
As you can see, there is plenty to think about when it comes to choosing the right equipment for you.
As a gym owner I am constantly purchasing more equipment and each time I go through the same questioning process. I also try the equipment to get a feel for how it handles and what the balance is like as the prices quickly add up so I want to make sure I get value.
As a personal trainer I work with my clients to establish what they need and show them how to use the equipment safely and correctly before they buy. It pays to book a session with your local fitness professional first and potentially save yourself hundreds of dollars.
Enjoy your health and fitness journey and watch out for my next blog on the differences between different free weight options.