FREE WEIGHT BUYING GUIDE
Weight equipment is a great way to build strength, muscle size or even tone and firm muscles, and can be used by people of all ages and fitness levels. Using free weights and weight benches help incorporate more muscles than other types of weight training. Safety, comfort and adjustability are very important when considering any type of weight system.
A heavy-duty steel frame made from 11 gauge steel construction will provide a long lasting and safe system. Frames built with strong robotic welds are preferred. The equipment should be solid and not shake, rattle or move during any exercise.
The padding should be comfortable and supportive while exercising. 'Body contoured' moulded pads are the best for comfort & durability.
A weight bench should have an adjustable seat and adjustable back rest, as well as adjustable barholders (or uprights), for Olympic-style benches. The seat and back pad should adjust from a flat position to a full upright (90 degree) position, to allow for a safe variety of exercises. The uprights should adjust to accommodate for the user's arm length and overall height in every exercise.
CABLES AND PULLEYS
If a unit has any cables or pulleys, the cables should be of aircraft quality and coated in nylon, while the pulleys should have sealed ball bearings for durability and smoothness. Plastic coated cables and pulleys without bearings do not last as long, and are not as smooth to use.
Safety is extremely important when using any type of weight equipment. The better quality benches and cages will offer adjustable 'safety catches' (or spotters) to support the weight if the user is unable to lift the weight back up.
ATTACHMENTS AND EXPANDABILITY
As your workout increase in variety, so should your weight equipment. Better designed units offer a variety of attachments which can be added to the existing equipment. These additions will help work the muscles differently and improve your results.