A free weight is a type of strength training equipment that does not limit the range of motion with which you can use it. Free weights are quite useful for building strength, speed, flexibility, balance and muscle mass. Let’s not forget it was the free weights that we were using during the course of lockdowns across the nation. In fact, we were trying to lift literally anything ranging from our suitcase to a bucket full of water, apart from other weird makeshift domestic dumbbells. According to several news websites, the COVID-19 triggered lockdown had created a hype on the sale of indoor fitness equipment by nearly 60%. In contrast to what was expected to happen during COVID-19, people irrespective of their age and class had shown an unprecedented inclination towards fitness like never before. This has subsequently increased the sale of Indoor Fitness Equipment, including free weights. Although free weights are relatively less expensive as compared to muscular weight machines, they can deliver the same strength training, especially if it is done properly. People around the world have shown their affinity for these tiny heavy beasts. In general, whenever new persons joins a gym, the gym trainer teaches them to workout on some set of weight machines as well as light free weights. As soon as the persons start doing all workouts on their own, he or she have two options to choose from, which can be either they can choose to go for free weights or weight machines. Weight machines, being heavy and expensive stand out as the USP for several gym memberships. However, one should not undermine the benefits of inexpensive free weights.
Free Weights and Weight Machine Faceoff!
There is a significant difference between free weights and resistance machines. The sole difference between free weights and weight machines is that weight machines are fixed at a place and only moves in a certain direction, whereas free weights can be moved from one place to another and also give freedom of movement to the users. In the case of free weights, you need to use more muscles in order to control the weight, while the resistance machines can help you with the move by keeping you in a stationary place.
Besides, there are a number of differences that make free weights a better alternative to the weight machines.
Free weights help you to produce immense strength and power by incorporating isolated muscle exercises in a more effective manner. The free weight exercise tends to deliver a great match to the movement pattern that you would like to have for a specific sport. Being quite versatile one can do a wide variety of exercises with a simple set of dumbbells. For instance, you can hold the weights by keeping your palms facing forward, facing your body and also facing the wall behind you. By doing so, you can do three different exercises that will work your muscles in different ways.
A Great Advantage in Compound Movements
A compound exercise simply means that you are training more than one muscle at a time. Compound exercises can be done with free weights only, as weight machines don’t let one attain such a range of free motion. Weight Machine generally focuses on one or two muscle groups at a time, unlike compound exercise.
There is a fine example of compound exercise with free weights which is the deadlift. It targets your legs, back, lats and traps, besides increasing the power of your grip. By incorporating compound exercises to your fitness regimes, you can in fact grow your muscles like never before.
Increase your muscle with these free weight exercises Standing Dumbbell Curls: Grip a pair of dumbbells and start to alternately curl with them. Make sure to keep your feet shoulder-width apart to provide stability. Either you can do them in the normal way with the palm of your hands facing forward or do hammer curls with the palm of your hands facing your sides.
Curl Bar: You will be able to find in your gym, a bar that is about four feet long that has a couple of bends to it. It may look a bit odd to you, but this is a curl bar that you may use for your bicep exercises. Clamp some free weights on the ends and start curling. You will notice that most bicep exercises are very similar. When you are basically pulling something towards you, you are working on your biceps
Curl in the Squat Rack with the Straight Bar: If you ever tell anyone that I said it was okay to do arm exercises in the squat rack, I will deny it with my last breath. However, I have a few friends that are freakishly strong, and they love to do curls with a straight bar, along with a couple of plates on each side. As for me, curling with the straight bar really hurts my forearms, so I try to avoid them. But they may work well for you.
Seated Dumbbell Curls: Take a seat on a bench in the gym with proper back support. Have the dumbbells hanging down at your side and then alternately curl with them. It is amazing to watch, how sitting down while doing these can work muscles differently.
Skull Crushers: This exercise is relatively safe, so don’t be scared away by the name of it. There is only a 5% chance of actually getting your skull crushed. Lay down on a bench with the curl bar that you used for biceps.
You should be in the same position that you are when you bench press. But this time when you raise the bar over the top of you, bend your elbows and slowly lower the bar to the top of your forehead. Once you get accustomed to these and your balancing is good, you can start adding weight to the bar.
Kickbacks: Kickbacks are not just illegal payments made to politicians; they’re also a good triceps exercise. The illustration to the right shows how you should position your body and do this exercise. It is called a kickback, because you slowly straighten out the arm holding the dumbbell behind you.
Some Limitations with Free Weights
Despite, big advantages that you can see after using free weights for a considerable amount of time, there are some points that you should keep in mind while using them. You must learn to balance the weight while applying force. This can be dangerous if you are lifting weights overhead. While working on a muscle in isolation, you need to pursue a precise technique. If you don’t use the proper technique of doing a workout with free weights, it can lead to injury.
The question of whether one should go for free weights or weight machines wholly depends on their personal preferences, physical fitness level, fitness goals and ease of doing exercises. Your access to fitness equipment at the time of quarantine would help the gym equipment manufacturers to understand the actual demand for such fitness equipment. Finally, it is to be noted that you would have to choose a weight training system that you love, in order for you to be able to reach your personal fitness goals