Building a home gym with sophisticated weight training equipment can be an expensive adventure which not many of us will want to get into in the current economic climate. Thankfully though, there are relatively cheap and easy ways to take on weight training as part of an exercise routine in the comfort of your own home with relatively basic weight training equipment such as dumbbells.
Advanced vs Old School
There are so many weight training machines that you can choose to buy and which cover all areas of the body. Often there are different types of machines that will help you exercise the same muscle groups and the choice is beyond belief. So are the prices. A simple power rack (metal frame used to support exercises such as squats using a large barbell) sells for as much as $300 and you can imagine the price tags on the more advanced stuff.
So how can you avoid breaking the bank on weight training equipment? Simple: Go back to basics!
The ancient Greeks, known for having founded the Olympics games for athletes, were the first to start the practice of weight training as we know it today. Hippocrates, a Greek philosopher, described the principle of weight training by stating “That which is used develops, and that which is not used wastes away”. Weight training gained in popularity in the 6th century, however, when athletes started competing with each other by lifting heavy stones.
Weight training equipment in the form of dumbbells and free weights
The heavy stones of back then have been replaced by weights in the form of dumbbells. Dumbbells is one of the most basic forms of weight training equipment, and despite the introduction of various types of machines, these weights have remained popular. Dumbbells are versatile in the number of exercises than can be done with them (often in combination with a bench), they are flexible to use (weight increments can often be changed by adding/removing weight plates) and are the cheapest type of weight training equipment out there.
Although other more advanced weight training equipment may have its own benefits, what’s generally accepted about free weights (such as dumbbells) is that they make for better weight training. Weight machines limit a user’s motion, while the use of dumbbells and other free weights requires the user to depend on other muscles to stabilize and smoothen the movement, thereby improving overall strength.
Tips to consider when buying dumbbells for weight training
- Make sure you go for dumbbells with which you can vary the weight attached to the bar. There are several types of dumbbells and some have a specific amount of weight on each end which cannot be adjusted. The most versatile types of dumbbells will allow you to change the number of weight plates on each side as required.Having the ability to alter the amount of weight on your dumbbells allows you to easier cover several muscle groups, some of which can handle less than others when you start your weight training routine. Another advantage is that as you build up muscle and improve your strength, you’ll be able to continue using dumbbells with heavier weights to build resistance.
- Buy two sets – One heavier set for the muscle groups that need more resistance and a lighter set for muscle groups which can’t yet take on a lot of resistance. This will save time in between exercises for different muscle groups. It’s important to maintain a steady pace when going through your exercise routine, and having to change weights often is a downside of using dumbbells mainly. By buying two sets you can greatly save on time otherwise spent changing weights.
- Buy a bench, which will multiply the number of exercises you can do and will help you cover more areas of your body to help get you in shape and toned from top to toe. Make sure you choose a more advanced model that will allow you to incline or recline the back rest.
- Buy a stability ball, which is a cheap accessory and can help you achieve better results. Weight training can be done while sitting on lying stretched out on a stability ball, which can help you strengthen your core and improve your balance. Note that stability balls will be slightly different from brand to brand. Make sure you go for a thicker ball, to avoid punctures and to help you feel more secure while lifting weights
- Remember to exercise safely with dumbbells. Because they’re free weights and not controlled by any machine or rack, it is important to develop a feel for dumbbells and take precautions to prevent injury. The most obvious precaution is making sure the weights are attached to the bar properly. The second is to wear sturdy footwear to avoid having a dumbbell fall on an exposed toe. The third is to get professional advice on how to use dumbbell weight training techniques properly.
Dumbbells is one of the most basic weight training equipment out there, but makes part of the weight training program from beginners to experienced body builders. If you’re serious about weight training at home, dumbbells are the perfect first step on the road to better fitness levels.