Free Weights - What are They? And What are the Benefits?
Free weights is any weight you have complete control over the movement, pace, and purpose of while using it. While this fitness terminology can seem confusing, free weights are pieces of equipment that you're probably familiar with, such as dumbbells, kettlebells, medicine balls, barbells and anything you create additional weight with at home (water bottle, sandbag, etc). Pretty much anything you use to do a weighted exercise with that isn't a machine or a cable with fixed range of motion.
Benefits of working out with free weights: builds muscle, improves bone density, improves hormone health, helps address muscular imbalances, improves wellness, range of motion and total body fitness. It can also be fun to see what your body is capable of while using free weights, like various complex exercises.
Difference between free weights and machine weights? Free weights are not subject to single fixed movements as a pull down machine or leg press would be. While a machine will complete the move it's been designed for, a free weight (dumbbell) can be used in any number of movements and planes of motion. Though some fundamental differences between free weights and weight machines, both are excellent option and the choice to use either, or both, comes down to what's available to you and what you enjoy.
How heavy should your weights be? How heavy your weights are is totally specific to you. It'll be dependent on your fitness levels, training history and the purpose of your workout. A few questions to ask yourself before picking a weight: Can I move through this entire exercise with the correct form? Will I be able to keep the correct form throughout every rep or set with this weight? Do I feel like I’m being challenged with this weight? Also, leveling up your weights when you're ready is the key to seeing progress. You don't want to go too heavy, too fast and injure yourself.
How to make workouts tougher with free weights? To make workouts tougher at home with free weights you can increase the weight, slow the tempo (gravity gets super heavy when you slow things down!), add more reps, increase the tempo, make the exercise more complex or tweak the exercise variation (hand placement, foot placement, etc).
I have three long-term workout programs that cater to any and everyone following my signature training style:
Commit Home Guide - using free weights and minimal equipment (done from home or anywhere)
Commit Gym Guide - using gym machines and free weights (gym membership or home gym required)
Commit Low Impact - using free weights and minimal equipments
Both programs focusing on functional and traditional methods to shape, sculpt and build strong healthy bodies. We are training for longevity and sustainability – while still looking good and moving well!