Simple to use at home or in the gym, free weights can help you improve muscle strength, power, and endurance, burn calories, and improve overall fitness. Hereís what we found out about buying free weights.
Free weights are usually made of either metal or plastic.
Metal weights (e.g. cast iron, chrome) are strong, durable, and economical. Some come with extra plates that can be added onto a single pair.
Plastic or vinyl-coated weights are often easier on your hands and come in a variety of colours. However, it’s hard to find any above 12 pounds.
Be sure to try the weights at the store. Pay attention to the grip, and also watch for any uncomfortable seams that may dig into your palms.
Neoprene-coated plastic weights are easier to grip, especially when you work up a sweat. Neoprene costs more, however.
Paint-coated metal can chip pretty easily.
If you’re just starting out, make sure you consult a professional trainer to learn the proper way to use weights and avoid injury.
We hit the gym to test these four types of free weights:
- Cast Iron: 90¢ per lb.
- Chrome: $2.50 per lb.
- Vinyl-coated: $1.50 per lb.
- Neoprene-coated: $2.00 per lb.
OUR TOP PICK
The neoprene-coated weights felt the most comfortable to use and grip, allowing us to concentrate on the movement rather than the weight itself.