Different Types Of Weights (Weight Training Explained)

When it comes to exercise, weight training is probably the most essential activity that you can do. This is because weight training will help you get toned, get stronger, and build muscle more efficiently than any other form of exercise.  

If you're a weight lifter, you may be familiar with the basic types of weights used during a weight-training workout. However, there are so many options available we're sure you'll learn something new in this article. 

Improves Ability To Perform Daily Activities (ADL's) 

Many people are afraid to lift weights because they feel as though they'll get too bulky or have no desire for a bodybuilder's physique. However, the reality is that weight training actually benefits everyone and improves your ability to perform your daily activities, such as climbing stairs or carrying groceries. 

Improve Bone Density 

Weight training is an excellent way to improve bone density and prevent osteoporosis. The impact of weight training on bone density is comparable to the impact of weight-bearing exercise on bone density but does not cause the same amount of stress to the joints. Therefore, weight training can be effective for both osteoporosis prevention and treatment. 

Promotes Fat-Free Body Mass 

Weight training promotes fat-free body mass and increases insulin sensitivity, both of which can help to reduce fat in the body. 

Increases Strength Of Connective Tissue, Muscles, And Tendons 

Weight training also helps to increase the strength of the connective tissue, muscles, and tendons, which leads to better joint health and less risk of injury. Weight training also helps to improve posture by strengthening the muscles that support the spine. 

Improves Quality Of Life 

Weightlifting is a great way to increase your quality of life. It can help you reduce stress, improve your sleep, increase your energy levels, and make you feel more confident. Weightlifting is also a great way to have fun and spend time with friends. 

Different Types Of Free Weights Compared (With Pictures) 

1. Dumbbells 

Types Of Free Weights Dumbbells

Dumbbells are one of the most versatile pieces of equipment in the gym. From the most basic moves like curls and shoulder presses to more complex activities like bent-over rows and lunges, dumbbells can be used in countless ways to increase strength and muscle mass. 

What We Like 

  • Dumbbells are more affordable than machines and can be stored easily
  • They are lighter and easier to transport than other equipment
  • They allow you to target specific muscle groups
  • They're incredibly versatile and can be used for lots of different activities

Things We Don't 

  • They're awkward to use if you have limited space
  • Limited weight capacity - not good if you're a heavy lifter

2. Barbells 

Types Of Free Weights Barbell

Barbells are one of the oldest and most useful pieces of equipment in the gym. They allow you to perform a wide variety of exercises, including squats, bench presses, deadlifts, and more. 

What We Like 

  • Barbells are a versatile tool that you can use to perform many exercises, particularly for the arms and core
  • Help to increase balance and coordination 
  • Barbells are a time-tested method for building muscle, and they allow for a greater range of motion than dumbbells, which makes them ideal for muscle growth

Things We Don't 

  • Barbells are more challenging to use than dumbbells and machines and require more attention and focus
  • Require more space
  • They're difficult to use without a lot of practice or coaching 

3. Standard & Olympic Weight Plates 

Types Of Free Weights Weight Plates

Weight plates are used in weight training to add weight to exercises like squats and bench presses. There are two main types of weight plates: standard and Olympic. Standard weight plates have a smaller center hole than Olympic plates and fit onto standard barbells, whereas Olympic plates fit an Olympic barbell. 

What We Like 

  • Olympic weight plates come in a range of sizes and are good for heavy-lifters 
  • Made from cast iron which makes for a very durable plate 
  • Cost-effective and versatile 

Things We Don't 

  • They take up a lot of space
  • They can be very expensive 

4. Medicine Balls 

medicine ball

Medicine balls are one of the most cost-effective pieces of gym equipment you can buy. They can be used just as much for strength training as they are for cardio, and they're a great way to get in a full-body workout without needing any other equipment. 

What We Like 

  • Easy to use and only take a few minutes to set up
  • Great way to add more variety to your workout
  • A great low-impact way to get a good full-body workout in
  • Versatile and can be used for a variety of exercises

Things We Don't 

  • Awkward to transport 
  • They are big and bulky and take up a lot of space 
  • Medicine balls aren't safe to use on hardwood floors

5. Kettlebells 

Types Of Free Weights Kettle Bell

Kettlebells are a great way to get fit. They are easy to use and don't take up much space. They can be used to improve your cardiovascular fitness, strength, power, endurance, flexibility, balance, and coordination. 

What We Like 

  • Great for your core and upper body strength and tone
  • Kettlebells are inexpensive, and they are easy to find and purchase
  • You can use them easily at home
  • Fun to use to mix up your workouts

Things We Don't 

  • They are not for everyone
  • They are easy to use incorrectly 

What Are The Different Types Of Weightlifting Bars? 

Standard Bar 

The standard weightlifting bar is the most common weightlifting barbell used in commercial gyms, schools, and training facilities. The standard barbell has a shaft diameter of 28 millimeters and a weight capacity of 500 pounds. 

Olympic Weightlifting Bar 

Olympic weightlifting bars are designed to withstand the stress of "snatching" and "clean & jerking," which are Olympic weightlifting movements. They differ from powerlifting bars in that they have a center knurl, which helps you grip the bar when you're deadlifting. 

Trap Bar 

A trap bar, also known as a hex bar, is a specialty barbell used for performing deadlifts, shrugs, cleans, snatches, and many other exercises. They have lots of benefits and are designed with a hexagon-shaped handle to make it more comfortable to hold and use and to reduce the risk of injury. 

Safety Squat (Yoke) Bars 

A safety squat bar, also known as a yoke bar, is a barbell that allows you to squat without putting any pressure on your wrists, arms, or elbows. The safety squat bar enables you to rest the bar across your upper back, shoulders, and traps while you squat. 

Cambered Bar 

A Cambered Bar is a barbell that is shaped like a C, in contrast to the straight barbell (or EZ bar), which is shaped like an I. The cambered bar allows for a fuller range of motion when performing exercises like the bench press and squat. 

Curl Bar 

curl bar, or E-Z curl bar, is a type of barbell used in weight training. It usually consists of a straight metal shaft with a grip of varying degrees of curvature. The ends of the barbell typically have a pair of knurled rings for holding plates for additional weight. 

Swiss Bar 

A Swiss Bar is a versatile piece of kit which is excellent for a lot of different strength training exercises. It's a short bar with handles on either end that you can use for strength training exercises like bicep curls and tricep extensions. It's also great for exercises that involve your core, like twists and lateral raises. 

Types Of Workouts With Weights 


Bodybuilding workouts consist of three main types of exercises, known as the big three - the bench press, squat, and deadlift. These three exercises are considered the fundamental lifts and are the basis for pretty much every weightlifting routine out there.  

For these exercises, you can't beat the barbell. 

Brute Strength Powerlifting 

The two most common types of brute strength powerlifting are back squats and deadlifts. Both of these exercises are incredibly effective at building muscle and strength but each target different parts of your body. Back squats are, as the name suggests, a squat that's performed with a barbell. Deadlifts also make use of a barbell, and while the lower back and glutes are activated during deadlifts, the primary muscles you're working on are your hamstrings and quads. 

Quick Circuit Training 

Quick circuit training is a type of weight training workout where you move from one weight training exercise to the next with little or no rest in between. This type of training is designed to increase your heart rate and build your endurance while also building your strength. 

Dumbbellskettlebells, and medicine balls are essential equipment used in circuit training. 

Isometric Weight Training 

Isometric weight training uses static contraction. It is a form of exercise done without any movement of the joints. Isometric weight training is a great way to build muscle because it places more stress on the muscle than regular weight lifting. 

Typical weights used in isometric weight training are typically dumbbells, medicine balls, body weight, and cables. 

High-Volume Training 

High-volume training is a weight training program that involves performing very few repetitions per set (e.g., 1-3 reps per set) with relatively heavier weights.  

For HIIT, you can use dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, or bodyweight exercises. Or you can use a combination of all of them. HIIT is a very versatile training method that gives you the freedom to experiment. 

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Why are weights so expensive?

Home gym equipment is expensive because it's durable and built to last. The good news is that if you're smart about it and invest in a few versatile and multi-functional pieces, you can build a pretty effective routine in a very short amount of time without breaking the bank.

Are 3 lb weights enough? 

If you're just starting out, 3 lb weights are often a good place to start because they're light enough that you can easily complete a few repetitions with them. At the start, you can use lighter weights and gradually make them heavier to challenge your muscles. 

How heavy should my dumbbells be? 

How heavy should your dumbbells be? It's a common question asked by new lifters and seasoned pros alike. The simple answer is it depends on your goals. You'll want to adjust the weight accordingly depending on how many reps you're doing, how tall you are, and how strong you are.

One of the easiest ways is to use a weight that's heavy enough that you can only do 12 to 15 repetitions before your muscles fail. If you can't do more than 15 reps, then your weight is too heavy.

How much weight can the average man/women curl? 

In a study published by the Testosterone Nation, it was found that the average man can curl around 40 pounds. In comparison, the average woman can curl around 20 pounds. However, both sexes can increase their weightlifting capacity through proper training. 


Weight training is one of the best ways to get in shape. In fact, it's one of the best ways to improve your overall fitness and boost your metabolism. When you're lifting weights, you're challenging your entire body. 

We hope this article was able to inspire you to begin a new journey of health and fitness. 

Last Updated on April 10, 2023

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Andrew White

Andrew White is the co-founder of Garage Gym Pro. As an expert fitness professional (gym building nerd) with over 10 years of industry experience, he enjoys writing about everything there is to do with modern fitness & the newest market innovations for garage gyms. When he isn’t testing out products for his readers, he’s usually out surfing or playing basketball.