Are dumbbells a good investment for my fitness goals? We researched fitness experts to shed some valuable insight on how to buy the best free weights for home gym workouts. Our findings will surprise you!
The benefits of weight training are truly amazing. Training with free weights is a fitness activity that people of all ages can participate in and benefits from.
Working out with free weights will…
- Boost your metabolism
- Build lean muscle mass
- Improve your range of motion
- Strengthen your bone density and joints
- Improve heart health
- Turn your body into a fat burning machine!
Researchers have long determined that starting a weight lifting plan can also improve your posture, help you get better sleep, beneficial in maintaining weight loss, in addition to lowering inflammation, and staving off chronic disease.
What free weights should I use for a home gym?
The first thing you need to understand is you don’t necessarily need weights to build lean muscle mass and tone your body. There are some great strength training exercises, like pushups or leg lunges, you only need your body weight to provide resistance.
However, you can expand your at-home workout options with dumbbells. The cost for a beginner’s set of adjustable weight dumbbells start around $50, and increases as you add more weight.
One of my favorites counterparts to free weight dumbbells are kettlebells. They are weighted balls with handles. There are a variety of kettlebell exercises to work out several muscle groups at once, giving you a full body workout.
If you are looking for an alternative to free weights for your home workouts, resistance bands are a great option. These elastic bands come in a variety of colors and provide varying levels of resistance when pulled and stretched.
A set of resistance bands are very affordable and can be purchased $10 to $50. What I love most is that resistance bands are light and portable, and I can take them with me whenever I have to travel out of town.
Can you get ripped with free weights?
Absolutely! Dumbells or free weights and even calisthenics are much better for building muscle mass and improving your strength than machines. You just need to learn the proper exercises and lifting technique to target and build muscle.
Are 40 lb dumbbells enough to build muscle?
When people first being an exercise program using free weights, too much emphasis is put on the weight of the dumbbells. While it is true that heavy weights can greatly increase muscle size, that may not be what you are after in a fitness program.
Before starting a fitness program or weight training workout plan, it is important to define what your ultimate fitness goals are.
Do you want to increase the size of your muscles or are you more concerned about adding definition to your current body composition?
In general, low repetitions with heavy weights tends to increase muscle mass, while high reps with lighter weights will increase muscle endurance.
Weight training tips for beginners
- Start with a proper warm-up. Some basic aerobic activities, such as a brief jog or brisk walk, will increase blood flow to your muscles and get them ready for a good workout. For early morning workouts, I prefer doing light stretching while walking. For afternoon workouts, I perform jumping jacks for a few minutes to get a light sweat going before starting my lifting program.
- Easy there! For beginners, you’ll want to start with a weight that you can lift 10 to 15 times while maintaining proper form. I suggest beginning with 1 or 2 sets of 10 to 15 reps and progress to 3 sets or more after the first couple of weeks.
- Gradually increase the weight. As you start to comfortably complete the recommended number of sets and reps, increase the weight by 5 to 10 percent. It’s best to slowly increase your lifting weight to avoid injury. Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint. Your goal is to safely establish a workout routine you can build on over time.
- Keep your rest to 60 seconds in between sets. At the beginning of your weightlifting journey, it is important to be consistent with the weights you use as well as the break times between sets. I recommend keeping a journal or using a fitness app to track your workouts. I find this is the best way to truly determine your overall improvements towards your fitness goals.
- Limit your workout to 60 minutes. Increasing the amount of time spent working out does not necessarily improve your overall results. You should be able to complete your workout in under one hour. Longer training sessions may not lead to better results and may increase your risk of burnout, muscle fatigue, or injury.
- Take time to gently stretch your muscles after each workout. Stretching can help boost your flexibility, reduce muscle tension, and minimize your risk of injury.
- Rest days are just as important as workout days! Resting gives your muscles time to recover and replenish energy stores before your next workout. After you workout, your body repairs damaged muscle fibers through a process where it binds muscle fibers together to form new muscle protein strands. These repaired muscle strands increase in thickness to create the resulting increase in overall muscle size. Diet allows plays a key role in muscle growth as well. Be sure to drink plenty of water for hydration. Include fruits and vegetables as well as a clean protein source, with each meal.