The 3 main categories of free weights reviewed here are Dumbbells, Barbells and Kettlebells. With the extra resistance required to handle and manage these weights, you’ll find a fuller workout than using machines with the same weights.
The biggest question asked in this category is: Aren’t Free Weights Much of a Muchness?
My answer is a fast and definite ‘NO!’.
There are huge differences between the quality weights produced by the biggest brands, and the cheaper knock-offs. Fortunately you do not have to spend a fortune to get a decent quality set of weights. What you are paying for with the brand name is a uniform distribution of weight, tight fit and no rattles for the adjustable weights – and those little extras like comfortable grips or sometimes vinyl coverings.
You’ll probably only invest in a weight set once (though you might well expand it!) – so make sure you make the smartest choice.
Once you decide on your preferred weights, I recommend you buy them online from Amazon.co.uk.
There are two big reasons for this. First, you’ll have them delivered right to your door – a big deal, especially if you are buying a set! Second, you’ll find the discounts at Amazon.co.uk can’t be beaten… you can check out the full weights category via this link.
You have 2 main choices.
Either you get an adjustable set, where you add more weight to the bars as needed. Or you go for a set of fixed weights and pick up the one you need depending on the exercise. For many people the adjustable set looks like a good option, since it takes up less space – and many of the weights can also be used with your barbell.
What you might want to factor in is whether the space saved is worth the trouble of continually adding / removing weights for different exercises. This can become a serious annoyance after just a few workouts.
With the fixed weight sets you get to choose from metal or vinyl / rubber. It’s still going to hurt if you drop one on your toes – though at least rubber will usually leave less of a dint in the flooring. I also like the hexagonal design of many modern dumbbell sets. You’ll find plenty of reviews of these here at Fitness Review.
Here are reviews of 3 of the best Dumbbell sets you can currently buy online (the prices and specs will depend on how many pieces you buy). Below that is the most popular of all.
As long as you make sure you get the right gauge (1 inch or Olympic) then the main factors when deciding which barbell weights to buy involve the amount of weight, grips / design of the bar and how sturdy the locking mechanism is. You might want to be extra cautious with the ‘no name’ items when it comes to this – a set you are continually having to tighten can quickly become more than an irritation.
Here are reviews of 3 of the most popular barbell sets for UK users from the Amazon best sellers list:
Kettlebells have recently seen a big uptick in their popularity. While there is no doubt these can give you an amazing workout when used correctly – you do need to be cautious. If not used correctly there is a bigger risk of strains and pulls than with regular free weights.
Design-wise there are some extras on top of simply having different weights. Weights go up in 2’s, for example 8kg, 10kg, 12kg and so on. You can get ones with handles designed for better grip, and higher end kettlebells specify that the weight is evenly distributed throughout the bell. Some also come covered in vinyl, which can help if you do drop one!
Here are 3 examples of kettlebell sets reviewed here so that you can compare them. Underneath you’ll find the most popular set based on amazon.co.uk
There are plenty of accessories which can replace many of the activities you’ll get up to with free weights. These include (elasticated ropes), machines such as bullworkers and bigger devices including power towers.
When it comes to free weight reviews, the message should be clear – these are NOT all the same, and it is worth spending 10 minutes comparing the different brands and options before you hit that buy button on amazon or elsewhere.
You can see all of the different reviews of free weights here at Fitness Review in list form via this link
To see the most popular items bought at amazon.co.uk (and compare the feedback / user ratings), choose one of the links below: