The top brands of free weights for sale are not the readily available cheap free weights for sale found at a local garage sell-off. The best are manufactured to hold serious weight for dedicated lifters. While some sporting goods chains carry the top brands, online vendors have a broad selection of Olympic bumper plates, thick Olympic bars and rubber-encased dumbbells.
Many top brands of free weights compete to be the preferred choice of elite level athletes. These brands are also appearing in Crossfit gyms and Olympic lifting clubs. Consistent in being placed among the best are Eleiko, Westside Barbell, Rogue, York, Pendlay and Troy. Athletes choose steel or rubber bumper plates depending on the type of lifting they do.
To a professional lifter or someone with aspirations to be a pro, the selection of bars, weight sets and weight lifting benches is important. Professional quality weightlifting bars can hold 1000 pounds or more without bending. The bar is often machined bare steel with brass bushings and needs to be oiled like a fine machine.
Other bars, like the Texas deadlift bar from Elite FTS, have sleeves made from a single piece of steel with no bolts to come loose. This 7 and half foot length of steel has extra deep knurling for better grip. Olympic lifters who need better rotation can choose the Burgener Bearing bar from Rogue Fitness. Fitted with five German needle bearings per sleeve, it is guaranteed for life.
Bumper plates are imperative for Olympic lifts like the snatch and clean and jerk. The thick rubber encasement protects floors and weight bars and reduces noise from dropping a heavy load. The Olympic bumper plate is sometimes beveled on the edge to make it easier to pick up off the floor.
A steel insert is inserted in the hole of the plate to hold the extra thickness of the rubber encasement, which makes the plate about 2 ½-3 inches thick. Top brands are Troy, Kraiburg/York and Apollo. One of the best is the Eleiko brand, which are easy to recognize by their colorful rubber coating. Each color coincides with a different weight to make it easy to select
As with the equipment the lifter hangs on to, the weight rack for squatting and the exercise bench for bench pressing must be of superior construction. Details common to high quality are thick gauge (11-12 gauge) 2 inch by 2 inch steel tubing and strong welds. Professional quality accessories like these are able to hold a lifter and his or her maximum weight.
Buying professional quality ensures safe equipment that will last, but it is also a serious investment. The top free weights for sale for the amateur lifter or fitness enthusiast are much more economical. Brands available online or at a local sporting goods store include Troy, Marcy, CAP barbell, Apex, Bowflex and Body Solid.
Weight sets like those from Marcy, Troy and CAP offer rubber encased and zinc-plated steel plates. Rubber encased plates reduce noise and help prevent floor damage in home gyms, but they tend to cost more. Depending on the brand and the poundage, rubber encasing costs as much as 40 to 50 percent more than coated steel.
The companies listed above have a selection of grip plates and non-grip plates. Grips are hand-sized holes in the weight which allow it to be picked up off the ground with ease. A flat plate left on the ground is more difficult to grab and hold on to.
This added feature is becoming more common, but still costs extra. For comparison, the price of a well-made zinc-plated 500 lb set from Troy without grips is equivalent to a rubber-coated set with grips from Body Solid or Marcy. If noise reduction and easy handling is a priority, the latter option is the best.
When tight budgets limit your choices check out free weights for sale used prices for more affordable options. Looking in classified ads or store closeouts can result in a large selection of used free weights for sale. People unloading their unwanted equipment often include weight lifting benches and a preacher curl bench at a fraction of purchasing one new. Always test used equipment before taking it home.
Homes with small gym spaces can choose adjustable dumbbells sets in place of a large Olympic set. Adjustable sets with spinning collars are inexpensive and small enough to hide on a closet floor. Quick change dumbbell sets are more convenient but more expensive.
Bowflex Selecttech dumbbells are a prime example, with sets from five to 52 pounds, or 5 to 90. PowerBlock has also developed a good reputation in this niche, and offers a set which adjusts up to 130 pounds per dumbbell. Both sets adjust in place and only take up the space of two dumbbells.
When shopping for free weight sets, choose well-made equipment that fits the space, the need and the individual athlete.