Free Weight Equipment, such as dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells and rubber bumper plates, remain the gold standard of muscle and strength building. Look at any thickly muscled and truly amazing physique and more than likely its foundation was built from many years spent performing heavy presses, pulls and lifts with free weights. Free weight equipment has evolved quite a bit since over the years. We now enjoy a wide selection of steel weight lifting bars in many different sizes, shapes and knurling patterns that are used to hone in on specific muscles of the upper and lower body. Today’s weightlifting plates feature different coatings designed to protect equipment and floors and overall their accuracy has greatly improved. And their gripping handles allow much easier loading on bars and weight machines, especially for the larger plates. These innovations have naturally lead to improvement in accessories and other equipment such as barbell collars, kettlebells and dumbbell handles.
Weightlifting Bars - Weightlifting bars are offered in 1” and 2” diameters. The 1” is usually used in home settings with regular weight plates with a 1” center hole. 2” bars are typically found in commercial gyms and are used for heavy Olympic style weightlifting programs. Olympic bars with 2” diameter sleeves can be found in different lengths, such as 4’ up to 7’, and are either straight or bent into different configurations that put less strain on the wrists or accommodate the training of certain muscles more favorably.
Weightlifting Plates - Weightlifting plates with a 1” center hole are most commonly seen painted with a black or gray baked on enamel. Sizes range from just 2.5 lbs each to 50 lbs each. These cast iron plates can be seen on any pro-style or adjustable dumbbell set. Olympic plates feature a 2” center hole and offer a larger assortment of shapes and coatings. One of the biggest improvements to be incorporated by Olympic barbell plates in recent years is the “grip hole” configuration which makes loading and unloading plates safer and easier for the user. These grip holes can be round or slotted in shape and can vary in the amount included in each plate depending on the brand.
Barbell and Dumbbell Collars - Whether you use a 1” or 2” plate and barbell set, make sure to secure your plates to keep them from sliding off your bar during exercise. Examples of barbell and dumbbell collars collars that provide a strong hold and safe workouts are Lock-Jaw, compression ring collars by Ivanko, spring collars, Muscle clamps and Bulldog collars.
Indian Clubs, Iron Power Clubs and Sledge Hammers - Improve your range of motion and increase muscle tone with a set of wooden Indian clubs or iron Power clubs. They’re especially valuable when performing rehabilitation exercises for the shoulders or other joints. And for heavy-duty CrossFit type workouts, take your sledge hammer training to the next level with our heavy sledge hammer selection that ranges from 10 lbs. up to 30 lbs.