November 08, 2021 4 min read
Anyone who’s been to a gym knows the vast amount of equipment is daunting. Even those who seek refuge in a home gym feel confused and overwhelmed at the number of cages, machines, benches, and weights to choose from. Fortunately, this ultimate guide to weightlifting equipment will help clear away any confusion. Whether you’re curious about a new machine you’re considering adding to your home gym or just want knowledge on the essentials, read on to learn more.
A weightlifting cage is one of the top essential pieces every gym needs. These support intense strength-building and weight training exercises, such as the squat, bench, deadlift, and barbell row. Ultimately, a weightlifting cage (also called a power rack) functions as a mechanical spotter for free weight exercises. It has four upright pillars with two adjustable support catches to protect the lifter if they fail a lift. Unlike a Smith machine, which uses fixed mechanics that limit the lifter’s mobility, power cages offer completely free mobility. Some may have additional attachments, such as a chin-up bar, pulldown cable attachment, or weight plate storage pegs.
Squat racks are similar to power cages but are only half the size. They use two upright pillars with adjustable height pegs to enable you to lift and lower the barbell safely when performing a squat. Squat racks support weight for squat variations as well. With two adjustable metal posts to support the barbell, lifters position themselves underneath to lift the weight and execute the squat movement effectively. Many squat racks come with storage pegs for weight plates. In general, squat racks are cheaper and take less space than full power cages. While you can’t perform as many exercises with a squat rack as you would with a cage, both are comparatively great options for muscle building in a safe and secure environment.
A weight bench is another weight training staple. It can come in a fixed or adjustable form, and anyone who wants to bench press needs a weight bench for their home gym. A standard flat bench is best to perform presses, flies, pullovers, or other exercise variations. However, you can also find incline and decline benches to change the types of presses or flies you do and the muscle groups you target. Find a weight bench with safety bars if you don’t have a spotter. Weight benches should also come with adjustable height columns to provide you with the best feel. Not only are weight benches great for workouts, but they have minimal assembly and moveability. That means you’ll have plenty of remaining space to add weight plates, dumbbells, or other strength accessories. It doesn’t matter if you stick your bench in a corner or leave it in the open.
With that said, there are different weighted plates to consider for purchase. Standard weight plates go up by increments of 5 or 10 pounds. You can find plates that weigh as little as 2.5 pounds or as much as 100 pounds. Standards home gyms have 5-, 10-, 25-, and 45-pound plates for easy weight distribution. You can purchase sets of weight plates to save more money. Otherwise, if you need more 45-pound plates or some other weights after the ones you’ve been using become too easy to lift, you can purchase them individually. If you prefer Olympic lifting or powerlifting, consider purchasing rubber bumper plates. These plates have protective high-density rubberized coatings to reduce surface damage. It’s still best to lay down extra padding and install a weightlifting platform to protect your floors, though. While most power cages and benches come with storage pegs for plates, you may need additional storage stands for leftover plates. Anyone who lifts lots of weight understands that storage pegs only hold so much. Therefore, extra storage space is essential.
As you construct your home gym, one of the first things you’ll want to get to go along with your cage or bench is a barbell. As part of this ultimate guide to weightlifting equipment, there are a few things to consider. For instance, not every barbell is the same. Conventional barbells weigh approximately 45 pounds. Some manufacturers design barbells that weigh 35 pounds or 55 pounds as well. Either way, they all function the same; barbells hold individual weight plates. Don’t forget to purchase a set of collars or clips to secure the plates as you lift them. The last thing you want during an intense lifting session is for your weights to fly around. Some barbells come with fixed weights, which is another option.
Like barbells, dumbbells are must-haves for weightlifters. The number of free weight exercises you can perform with dumbbells is extravagant. Typically, dumbbells come in either hexagonal or rounded shapes that are cast iron or have rubberized protection. They’re perfect for isolation exercises, such as bicep curls, lateral raises, and pec flies. Like weight plates, you’ll find many weights of dumbbells. They can be as light as 3 pounds or as heavy as 150 pounds. You can choose the ones that fit your strength level. Most retailers sell sets of dumbbells, but you can purchase them in pairs if you have specific preferences. Today, there are also adjustable dumbbells that let you alter their weight through an integrated mechanism.
Finally, don’t be afraid to purchase some gym accessories. When performing heavy weight training, stock up on weight belts, chalk, smelling salts, wrist wraps, knee sleeves, and elbow sleeves. Leather weight belts are perfect for performing heavy squats, deadlifts, and other compound lifts. They support your back and reduce pain and injury. Chalk and smelling salts aren’t necessary but can help you execute intense lifts through added grip and power. Knee and elbow wraps or sleeves are also safety items that protect your joints from tears, aches, and pains. If you lift heavy weights, it’s critical to avoid injury as much as possible. Wraps and sleeves allow for proper mobility while securing your joints in place. Purchase these accessories based on your preferences. Not everyone will need lifting chalk or smelling salts. But accessories help take your lifting to the next level.
Top Fitness Store is your go-to retailer for all weightlifting equipment to build your ideal home gym. Whether you’re looking for weightlifting cages, machines, or free weights, we have what you need. You’ll find the perfect equipment to build your muscles and achieve your dream body.
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