Free WeightsWeight training is a great way to build strength and the use of weights primarily is to develop size and strength of the skeletal muscles.

Free Weights are a combination of weighted disc's either plastic moulded or metal that are attached to small bars called Dumbbells and larger bars called Barbells. They use the force of gravity against the force of the muscles through contraction.

The heavier the weights used the more strain on the muscles. Each particular muscle group is targeted by different types of weight exercises and they are normally performed in several sets with a minute or so break between sets. Each set is made up of several repititions, so a typical exercise might be 3 sets of 10 reps before moving onto another Weight Exercise.

Bodybuilders use extreme heavy weights combined with a low amount of reps to hit the muscles with maximum effort, which in turn helps the muscles to grow bigger. Where as training for muscle strength would be the 3 sets and 10 reps with a manageable weight.

One of the most important things when starting weight training is to get the technique right from the beginning, if the technique is wrong this can lead to injuries. Another important factor is the amount of weight that you add to your bars, always go light, even if it feels easy and train with that weight for the first several workout sessions. Then it will be safe to gradually add weight, always remember to warm up your muscles before any workout. This is done through stretching and some light exercise movements, this should also be done at the end of any workout.

Many people prefer to purchase their own weights and train at home, which is fine but a good tip is to join a gym for a month, so as to be shown how to perform the different weight exercises safely and to get used to weights before you spend a fortune on your own set. The very minimal should be to have an induction session at a gym, every good gym will do a free induction.

The basic kit you will need for training at home is a basic weight bench a Barbell which will normally come with collars, two Dumbbell bars again should come with collars and a selection of weight discs which you can normally buy in a set. This will get anyone started and can be added to over time.

Some of the exercises that can be performed with free weights, starting from the top of the body and working down.


Shoulder Press General Deltoid muscle Barbell/Dumbbell
Lateral Raise Side Deltoid Muscle Dumbbell
Front Raise Front Deltoid Muscle Barbell/Dumbbell
Bent Over Raise Rear Deltoid Dumbbell


Bicep Curl Bicep Muscle Barbell/Dumbbell
Concentration Curl Bicep Muscle Dumbbell
Tricep Kickback Tricep Dumbbell
Wrist Curl Forearm Barbell/Dumbbell


Bench Press Pectoral Muscle Barbell/Dumbell
Bench Flyes Pectoral Muscle Dumbbell
Pullover Pectoral Muscle Dumbell

Incline/Decline Bench Press will vary whether the upper pecs or lower pecs will be hit most by the exercise.


Bent Over Rowing Lats Muscle Barbell/Dumbbell
Single Arm Rowing Lats Muscle Dumbbell
Upright Rowing Traps +Lats Barbell/Dumbbell
Shrugs Traps Barbell/Dumbbell


These would be done without weights and would consist of Crunches, Side Bends, Leg Raises.


Squats Quads/Leg Bicep/Glutes Barbell/Dumbbell
Lunges Quads/Leg Bicep/Glutes Barbell/Dumbbell
Calf Raise Calves Barbell/Dumbbell

These are just some basic exercises for weights and although they work the muscles stated the most there are other muscles used in every exercise. The main exrcises for building overall body strength are:-

Bench Press
Dead Lift

They are the big 3 exercises that build a powerful body.

It is always good to have an Exercise Plan. If you can train four times a week then you can work the upper body the first day and then the lower body the second day. One day to rest, then the upper body again on the third day and the lower body on the fourth, then two days rest.

So there is an insight into the basics of training with free weights. If the technique is right from the beginning it will always be right and will help avoid injury, never try to lift more weight than you can safely manage, espescially when training alone.

Always consult a Doctor before starting any new exercise program.