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Tips for Buying Free Weights

I love my set of dumbbells at home. They are perfect for Saturday mornings after I jog when I am looking to get in a little resistance training, but don't feel like packing up and heading over to the gym. If you are looking to purchase some free weights for your home, use these tips for making the right purchase.

Free weights, more specifically dumbbells, come in several varieties and are fairly easy to use. Dumbbells typically come in chrome, unfinished metal, plastic, thin foam covering (neoprene), and concrete. Chrome, while pretty, may require more maintenance than the others. Metal often requires lifting gloves since the handles can do a number on the skin on your hands. I am partial to foam because the foam doesn't hurt my hands (or rings) as much as the non-foam weights.

The size of the handle is an important consideration as you want to make sure you are able to get a firm grip around the weight. You also need to decide on the correct amount of weight for your strength now and in the future. How heavy you go depends on what your goal is. For example, if you are aiming for muscle strength then you should be able to do 1-3 sets of 5-8 reps with the weight. If you're looking for muscle endurance then you should be able to do 1-3 sets of 15-20 reps. Finally, if you want muscle power then you should be able to do 1-3 sets or 3-5 reps.

Fit's Tip: Always practice a few exercises with the weights before purchasing a set.


Join The Conversation
emalove emalove 9 years
Those are pretty!
hottpink hottpink 9 years
Thanks Fit!
Fitness Fitness 9 years
Sure, you can buy the ones in the photo here.
melda melda 9 years
I love my dumbbells my boyfriend bought them for me they are metal and have yellow foam covering
Spectra Spectra 9 years
I have a bunch of old skool plastic dumbbells filled with sand (they're from the 70s or the 80s, I think). I got 'em at an auction and they work just fine. I also have some vinyl-coated metal weights, which are fine too. I like those adjustable weights, but IMHO, you should go with the Powertech brand and not the Reebok or the Bowflex brands. The reason being that the Powertech ones don't have as many moving parts and are a lot more durable. The other ones are a little more touchy and if you drop them, they could break.
corbinia corbinia 9 years
My sister is a personal trainer and she recommends the Reebok Adjustable weights. What I like about them is the set is compact and fits my needs exactly. At around $60, it may seem like they are pricey, but you get the equivalent of a pair of 2.5 lb, 5 lb, 7.5 lb, 10 lb, and 12 lb weights. If you were to purchase those individually you would spend more. You can buy the set at Target and probably most sporting good stores.
hottpink hottpink 9 years
Fit-Do you know if you can buy ones like in the photo?
juju4 juju4 9 years
I had a trainer recently, and after being "caught" at my local gym, we had to switch our routine to fit into my apartment. It AMAZED me the amount of work I could do with free weights, some open space, and a bench or chair. I get burnt out on the gym atmosphere very easily, and if I want to work out during their peak times (saturdays or certain week nights) I just prefer lifting weights at home.
VicVicVictooriaa VicVicVictooriaa 9 years
i usually do 3 sets of 10 reps but it's getting a easier and I dont want to increase weight (im at 10lbs for bis and tris) I think I am going to increase to 3 sets of 12-15 reps
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
Those are some pretty awesome weights :love: I usually do 4 sets of 12 reps with EVERYTHING I do.
cravinsugar cravinsugar 9 years
hey fit, thanks for specifying that the foam is neoprene...I am allergic and therefore will get new weights! My current onesw haven't made me sick or anything, but if the foam touches my skin (i guess other than my palms) i will break out in a horrible rash, and if there is prolonged contact, my lips and tongue swell up. it's horrible! lol...(i found this out by needing to wear knee braces in basketball for a couple of months...thought I had poison ivy and discovered the allergy 3 years later when i broke my foot nad they had me in a removable cast made of neoprene...)
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