Why should I consider free weight training?
Free weights can be described as any form of resistance training equipment that is not connected to another piece of equipment. This includes dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, weighted balls, sandbags, and practically any other weighted object used for exercise training purposes. The great thing about adding free weight training to your exercise program is that you can add a wide variety of movements to train just about every muscle in your body. Free weight training products are usually smaller in size and more portable than larger pieces of training equipment that cannot be moved easily and take up space.
Is free weight training better?
When you participate in free weight training workouts, you are placing a different demand on your muscles than when you use weight machines. When you us weight machines there is usually one part of your body that is supported by the equipment. If you are doing a plate loaded shoulder press, your back and hips are resting against a padded surface. When this happens, muscles that are needed to stabilize your body while performing these exercises are not engaged as effectively. Another issue with non-free weight training machines is the fact that when you use these machines, you usually increase the mechanical advantage of the exercise which enables you to lift more weight than if you were to perform the same exercise with free weights. For this reason, free weight training offers you the benefit of increasing muscle engagement to perform an exercise well. Core strength, balance, and coordination are all things you can benefit more from, when you complete a well-designed free weight training program with proper form.
Another way free weight training is more appropriate for people is that you can perform specific movements that mimic the everyday activities you perform. For example, if I want to train my strength and balance so that I can step on a step stool and reach up over my head to put a heavy glass pitcher back on the top shelf of my kitchen, I can simulate that movement by using a similar or heavier dumbbell and performing a bench step up as I press that dumbbell overhead. Free weights are also great for targeting smaller muscle movements that require joint movements at specific angles. Often larger machines restrict certain joint movements. While weight machines can offer you the chance to lift larger amounts of weight in specific angles, free weight will test your body’s ability to function as a unit to perform complex movements. This can give free weight training enthusiast an upper hand when it comes to performing well during many of life complicated activities.
Getting started with free weight training
The first thing you need to focus on when starting any weight training program, is proper form. This is especially important with free weight training. Part of what makes machine weight training so user friendly is that the machine helps put you in the proper position to reduce the risk of injury while performing the exercise. When you use free weights, it is up to you to put your body in the correct position to execute the movement well. When you are working on your form, you should use lighter weights until you can perform a movement with good form for 15-20 reps over at least 2 sets. Once the weight becomes easier to handle you can work on adding more weight. Don’t get discouraged if you are used to pressing 200 pounds on the seated chest press machine but fail to perform the same movement with 100-pound dumbbells on the flat bench. Your body may need some time to get used to stabilizing the free weights before they can handle the same amount of weight as the weight training machines.
What free weight training equipment should I use?
Dumbbells are a great choice to start your first free weight training workouts. Dumbbells are simple to use and can useful for performing a larger variety of exercises for every major muscle group in your body. If you are looking for a good introductory workout to start your free weight training program, check out the one below. You can also head over to our YouTube channel for more free weight training workouts and instructional videos.