Free weights are weights that are not enclosed in a machine. You have probably seen barbells, dumbbells, and medicine balls. These can be good for you because it will make you use more stabilizing muscles as you have to keep your balance. Deciding which free weights you use means knowing what types there are and what you can do with them.
A standard barbell is generally a rigid, 7-foot long bar with weights on the ends. Some you can add disks of weight to, and some you can’t. The standard barbell is used in chest presses, where a person reclines on a bench and pushes the barbell up. They can also be held behind the neck while a person stands from a squatting position. A safety squat, or yoke bar, is a type of barbell made specifically for this exercise. It has thickly-padded arms that come off the middle of the bar. You place the arms on your shoulders and grab the handles at the end of the bars. A cambered, or arched, bar is bent in the middle; this works out the posterior muscles more than the standard bar.
Dumbbells have the benefit of not being as risky and also encourage balanced muscle-building. You can’t subconsciously push more on one side than another because they work each limb individually. They are just like barbells, but the rods are shorter. Dumbbells can come in sets of graduated weights and can have adjustable weight as well. If you are using them, you will want to check for anti-slip grips on the bars. They can work most muscles by lifting them through a range of motion. Dumbbells are used in curls by pulling them up to your chest; you can lift them straight out from your sides, and you can use them in extensions. You can exercise your back forearms with dumbbell wrist extensions; you hold the dumbbell in your hand with the palm up and raise lower it with your wrist.
If you prefer something without rods, medicine balls and kettle bells might appeal to you. The medicine ball is a weighted ball; you can throw one to combine power training with your cardio training. Kettle bells are small weights with handles on them. You can use them as an alternative to barbells when you do squats, and this will tone your legs.
Whatever type of free weight that you decide to use, remember to only use weights that you can lift with proper posture. If you can’t, it is too heavy for you to use safely. Good luck finding the weights that are right for you.