Strength Training Buyer's Guide

Strength training is a wonderful way of building skeletal muscles, improving endurance, cutting down on weight, enhancing bone density and generally maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Getting the strength training equipment is the first step towards achieving this goal.

One advantage of strength training is that it can be done anywhere, and what better place to do it than at home? The key to strength training is starting slow and growing progressively. Going for weights that are above your capability will only result to unsatisfactory results in the long term. Worst still, it can lead to injuries.

This guide will equip you with knowledge on different strength training equipment available such as the benefits, durability and the retail price.

Types of Strength Training Equipment

Strength training equipment is divided into two categories: strength machines and Free weights.

Free weights

Using free weights means that your hands come in actual contact with the resistance. Free weight usually uses more muscles compared to strength muscles and they are a wonderful way of building muscles and strength. Free weights are inexpensive, and are suitable if you have limited space.

 Strength Machines

Strength machines are readily assembled and the trainer is only required to adjust the weights. Strength machines are recommended for new users as it is easy to use and there are less chances of injury. It is also great for experienced trainers who wish to train isolated muscles. They only drawbacks are that it creates a false sense of strength-gain, and they are bulky if you have limited space.

Examples of Free Weights

Barbells

By definition, a Barbell is a metal bar having weights on each end. Barbells are used for bench pressing, Powerlifting, weight lifting and squatting. Their popularity stems from the fact that Barbells allow the arms to move separately.  A complete barbell system has the following:

Bars- They are available for both genders.  The standard Olympic bar length is 2.2 meters for males and 2.1 meters for females.

Plates- these are the weights sliding onto the bars. They are available in different weight and sizes.

Rack- This is where you store the plates. Go for an upright track as it takes less space compared to a horizontal one.

Weight bench- Used in Bench press. They are adjustable and are used for working different muscles.

Dumbbells

Dumbbells a small version of the Barbell are best free weights for growing biceps. They are very easy to fit. If you are a beginner, it is advisable that you learn the proper way of exercising using dumbbell as it is very easy to do the wrong way if you are not experienced.  One correct of doing this exercise is by keeping your upper body calm.

Kettle Bells

Kettle Bells originated from Russia. They are an excellent way of gaining strength, agility, and endurance.

Kettle bells are available in different ways and styles. Buying a kettle bell should be based on your fitness level and gender. Kettle Bells are very durable and buying one is a lifetime investment.

There are two types of Kettles available in the market: Cast Iron Kettle Bell and the Hollow steel Kettle Bell. Kettle bells are recommended if you want a total-body exercise.

The following table should act as a guide on which kettle bell suits you.

 

Fitness Level

Male (Kg)

Women (kg)

Poor Fitness Level

12-16

8-12

Average Fitness Level

16-20

12-16

Excellent Fitness Level

20-24

16-20

 

Examples of Strength Machines

The Smith Machine

The Smith Machine is strength training equipment that is made of a Barbell, and steel rails that move upwards only. Depending on the trainer’s capability, the trainer can be adjusted to accommodate different weights. If used well, this machine is efficient when trying to gain muscle mass, strength and tone.

The smith machine can be used to do this different kind of exercises:

 

  • Back exercises
  • ·       Biceps exercises
  • ·       Calf Exercises
  • ·       Chest Exercises
  • ·       Forearm Exercises
  • ·       Glut Exercises
  • ·       Hamstring Exercises
  • ·       Lower Back Exercises
  • ·       Machine Shoulder Exercises
  • ·       Triceps Exercises

 

Functional Trainers

Functional training is increasingly gaining popularity with Fitness enthusiasts. Basically functional training aims to achieve body strength, coordination and balance of the body, and generally improves one’s ability to perform daily chores.

Functional trainers achieve this by engaging multiple joints, and muscle groups. When these muscles are trained in the right manner, the right results will be attained. It is imperative to note that functional training is meant to serve as a supplement to normal training and not to replace your regular training schedule.

Functional trainers have over the years been improved to improve on the safety and deliver results for the trainers. A functional trainer will allow you to sit, lie, do pull-ups and stand while you are using the floor or bench.

Final thought

Many experts disagree which is the best way of training. Others advocate that Free weights are the best way of strength training whereas others don’t see anything wrong with strength machines. Our considered opinion is that if both are used well, then you will surely see positive changes in your fitness levels.

It is a case of following different paths, but arriving at the same destinations. Whichever part you choose, remember to seek the advice of a medical practitioner, move step by step, and eat well.