Weightlifting Equipment and Accessories – Get the Low Down on the Basics You Will Need
Weightlifting or strength-training is an excellent training method to get strong, fit and look your best. While aerobic exercises mainly only stresses your heart, weightlifting increases your metabolism rate and makes you lose fat in a much more efficient manner.
Weightlifting equipment uses the force of gravity as resistance in the form of weighted bars, dumbbells and other exercise machines. The best weightlifting equipment either for home or gym use are specially designed to target and exercise particular muscle groups.
Just like all exercises, weightlifting can be practiced in various different forms. While many practice it as part of their fitness training or as a sport, it can also be used for bodybuilding, powerlifting and as part of other training programs for general overall fitness, weight and fat loss or strength training for other sports and activities.
If getting into shape and turning heads is on your agenda, then there is no substitute better than weightlifting exercises. You will also be feeling more energetic and confident after you’ve completed a weightlifting program.
Weightlifting requires some basic equipment and accessories to get started. Body weight exercises are great for beginners, but you will need to advance to weighted exercises as your strength increases. If you’re setting up a home gym the type of home weightlifting equipment you buy will be dependent on the amount of space you have available and your budget.
- Dumbbells: Are the best weighted equipment for beginners to get started. It is always recommended to get good quality dumbbells with steel handles and knurling than the ones with plastic handles. These can be used for a variety of weightlifting exercises, and can even be used for some cardio exercises. It is suggested you have a variety of weights to choose from. One nice benefit is these don’t require much room for the home enthusiast with limited space.
- Barbells: The most important equipment in a weightlifters arsenal. Barbells are long bars made of metal with varying thickness and length depending on their usage. Olympic sized bars give the most advantages, but you can also choose smaller ones for arm exercises. Lighter barbells are preferred by women and children.
- Squat Rack: Exercises such as Squat, Front Squats and Overhead Press demand the requirement of a Squat Rack or a Power Cage, or at least Squat Stands. The Squat Rack must have room enough to fit the Barbell of your choice. It would be best if you could find a rack with an adjustable bench included, then you could also use it to do Bench Press. Sometime space is limited in a home gym so just make do as best you can with the space you have.
- Plates: The Barbells can accommodate weighted plates to be added at their ends. The plates are usually circular and have a hole in their centre for the Barbell to fit in. It is best to have plates in as many denominations as possible starting from 1.25kg to 25kg. The plates can either be made of metal or rubber. Metal plates are more durable, but rubber plates can be handled more easily and don’t make as much noise when put down on the ground. Plates make progression of the training easy, as you can easily add or remove weights for each set of exercise performed.
Weight Bench: Most Power Cages don’t come with a weight bench built-in and you need to buy it separately. A Bench is a necessary piece of equipment to perform Bench Press. It’s recommended you buy a Bench that can be inclined or declined as well as lay flat, as it also helps you in performing inclined or declined Bench Presses.
Kettlebells and weightlifting equipment
- Kettle Bells: They are weighted equipment which resemble a cannonball. They are used to do short-burst exercises which are very intensive and offer benefits beyond just increasing strength. While they can be compared to dumbbells, their extended center of mass allows them to be used in many different exercises.
- Versa Climber: This is a machine that is catching the attention of many fitness enthusiasts. Unlike treadmills, ellipticals and bikes, they allow for strengthening your muscles along with performing cardio. It is a vertical climber machine that is easy to use and uses your body weight to drive results. This machine is definitely not required but delivers great results if it fits into your budget.
There are also a long list of weightlifting accessories and gear a person can use to help with the various weightlifting routines available. The basic accessories such as clothing and shoes can be chosen according to your personal liking.
Some of the Most Common Weightlifting Equipment Accessories
- Weightlifting Straps: When you’ve progressed into higher weight there comes a time when your overall strength surpasses the weight your hand-grip can support. It is recommended to use weightlifting straps at this point. Straps help in performing exercises such as Deadlift, Shrugs and Weighted Pull-ups and are one of the most basic but useful of weightlifting accessories.
- Weightlifting Gloves: A side-effect to lifting heavy weights is the formation of thick and hard calluses on your hands. A good weightlifting glove can prevent that and increase your grip. It is a good idea to choose a glove which allows for your hand to breathe air freely and doesn’t accumulate sweat.
- Weightlifting Belts: A weightlifting belt is the top recommended of all weightlifting accessories to protect your back from injury or if you have a weak back or spine. Performing exercises such as Squat, Deadlift and Overhead Press can be extremely strenuous on your back. A weightlifting belt will give your back the much-needed support it needs. They come in different sizes and must be chosen according to ones waist size. It is extremely difficult to maintain an effective routine with an injured back so be sure to take good care of it.
- Weightlifting Bands: Also known popularly as Powerlifting bands, these rubberized bands add resistance to your entire range of motion during an exercise. The weightlifting bands increase in resistance as you exert more force and hence form a harmonious relation with your muscles. These handy weightlifting accessories are a great tool to increase the difficulty level of your exercises.
Of course there are lots of other types of exercise equipment and accessories you can choose for weightlifting, but the ones listed above are the most important and commonly used. If you’re on a tight budget there are many places to find used weightlifting equipment to save a few bucks.