The most complete introduction to gym weights

October 25,2023

The most complete introduction to gym weights

When setting up a home gym or a commercial gym, gym weights should be the first thing on your list of things to buy. Well, without any doubt, machines are flashy and are the supermodels in the room. Nonetheless, gym weights remain superior for a host of reasons and are the unsung heroes. I mean, besides being cheaper,  they are versatile  - allowing you to work more muscles, as well as being the best forfunctional fitness. In this article, we’ll discuss gym weights’ benefits, the types and varieties, and exercises for each gym weight.

Benefits of buying gym weights over machines

Gym Space

What gives gym weights a massive advantage over machines is the space required. You can fit several sets of dumbbells and kettlebells in the space needed for atreadmillorsquat rack.Whether at the gym or at home, if you're short on space, then free weights should be the preferred choice.

Less expensive

Undoubtedly, getting exercise machines could cost a fortune. But on the other hand, a fitness journey could be started with a single pair of dumbbells. Even better, at Artbell Fitness, our free weights are much less expensive.

More versatile

While machines only allow limited movements and are designed specifically for certain muscle groups, gym weights can be used for unlimited movement patterns and can be used to train every muscle in the body.

A more efficient way to hit fitness goals

Weight loss, changing body composition, and increasing strength and muscle size can be more efficiently achieved with free weights. Also, they are better for functionality and better imitate neurological patterns of real fitness.

Types of gym weights

Now, that you know why you should get some gym weights, here are the types, their varieties, and workouts to do them with.


Barbellshave consistently proven to be the perfect tool for fitness and bodybuilding. Great for resistance training, barbells can be used for a wide range of training regimens including curls, deadlifts, squats, presses, rows, etc. Typically, a barbell is a bar extending beyond the shoulders and with ends to which weight plates can be attached. It consists of a shaft, knurlings, collars, bearings, fasteners, and sleeves where the weights are attached. But not just any type of weights, certain bars require Olympic weights with the diameter being 2”  while some bars are jack of all trades.

Standard bar:Popular for their versatility, standard barbells are usually 7 feet in length and about 20 kilograms. It has knurlings for grip and small notches that prevent the weight plates from sliding. This bar is the most common and can be found in most commercial gyms. No surprise, it can be used for a variety of workouts including squats, overhead presses, bench presses, and deadlifts. But if you’re thinking of going super heavy, try the power bar.

Power Bar:More specialized for powerlifting movements, the power bar is similar in length, diameter, and weight to the standard bar, but takes things a step further with the tensile strength and knurling. The knurling is more aggressive, offering better grip since it is made for heavier weights. Even better, the improved tensile strength means it doesn't bend as much when under load.

Curl Bar:Shorter than a standard bar, they come curved or straight and they are perfect for bicep curls and triceps extensions. However, it is less versatile than the standard or power bars.

Trap Bar:Another specialized bar, thetrap baris four-sided and shaped like a trapezoid. This equipment takes the deadlift and a few leg workouts to an entirely new level. It allows you to stand inside of it, gives a  more natural feel, and allows for a better grip


Originally used in ancient Russia by strongmen performers, kettlebells are today perhaps the most versatile gym weights. For strength training, they are interchangeable with dumbbells, barbells, and other free weights. But kettlebells take workouts a bit further by enabling explosive movements.

Not your regular muscle-building gym weight, thekettlebellis king when it comes to functionality. For this reason, it is the favorite among athletes. The kettlebell offers athletes a truly unique training modality to swiftly develop raw power, explosiveness, strength, and athletic movement. They come in 2 main varieties – the cast iron kettlebell and the competition kettlebell. Here are 2 common kettlebell exercises:


Kettlebell deadlifts allow for better handling and work the quads, glutes, and back muscles. To do this, place the kettlebells outside each foot on the floor and push your hips back as you bend to pick the handles with your legs almost at a 90-degree angle. Then slowly lift your legs straight, keeping your arms straight, and pushing your hips forward.

Kettlebell swing

Perhaps the king of kettlebell workouts, the kettlebell swings tremendously build cardiovascular fitness, improve jumping, running, and explosive lifting, as well as work the muscles in your glutes, hamstrings, quads, arms, and shoulders. This workout is started by standing with the feet at shoulder-width and holding the kettlebell handle with both hands centered in front and relaxed. What should follow is a slight bend of the knee followed by explosive hip thrusts with the kettlebell swinging upward and out in front of you.


Undoubtedly, one of the two most popular gym weights in the fitness world, dumbbells improve strength, build muscle mass, and shed off excess fat like no other gym gear. Perhaps, also the most commonly misspelled free weight, a dumbbell is made of two cast-iron weights connected with a steel rod. Like the kettlebell, it can come in fixed weights, and like the barbell, there are adjustable dumbbells in which you can increase the resistance by adding more weights. Also, dumbbells work nicely whether for compound lifting or isolation lifting.  Here are 2 common dumbbell exercises:

Bicep Curl

The bicep curl is done with two dumbbells or with one at a time and is a solid contender for the most effective bicep exercise. To do this exercise, hang your arms by your sides keeping your elbows by your torso with palms facing outwards. Then curl the weights upward to shoulder level without moving your upper arms at all. Finally, bring them down slowly straightening out your arms before repeating the movement pattern.


Dumbbells can conveniently be used for lunges but with better stability and the ability to increase weight. To do this, stand straight with one dumbbell on each hand, and unlike the dumbbell curl, the palm should be facing inward. Then take a long step forward with one leg bending at the knee before returning to the starting position and doing the same with the other leg.


Also called weight discs, barbell plates, or bumper plates, weight plates come in various forms and sizes. From material and coating to the center hole, there are weight plates made specifically for commercial gyms, home gyms, and even for group exercises. Here are 3 major types:

olympic plates:These plates uniquely have a 2” diameter hole and are the standard size throughout the fitness industry. However, they are mainly designed for powerlifting, strongman, and CrossFit gyms.

Standard plates:For home gyms, standard plates are the preferred choice. This plate choice can be used for different kinds of bars and even for adjustable dumbbells. They are typically smaller than Olympic plates.

Bumper plates:This kind is usually made with the same diameter regardless of the weight and at Artbell Fitness, we’ve made them in different colors to differentiate the weights. They are iron plates that have a thick rubber covering so that they can be dropped without damage.

Weight Ball

Since the rise of functional workouts, weight balls have become more popular. Great for weight loss, explosiveness, and strength & conditioning, weight balls come in 3 different types:

Medicine balls:Dating back well over one hundred years, medicine balls are called that because they’re amazing for rehab, core work, as well as strength & conditioning. They range between 1kg to 10kg and are usually made of rubber or plastic and leather. And some of our varieties are manufactured with handles to make holding easier.

Slam balls:Also called sand balls, they are heavier – weighing up to 100 kg - and more durable. This is because it has been designed to be constantly thrown on the ground and walls. The trademark workouts are slams which involve the ball being lifted above the head and thrown to the ground with force. Then a squat to pick the ball will follow, and repeat.

How to choose goodgym weights

1. Quality and durability: At Artbell Fitness, we put emphasis on the quality and longevity of products.

2. Safety: Always get barbells and dumbbells that have solid collars, fasteners, and bearings, so weights don’t fall dangerously.

3. It is essential to pick weights according to the space available. Always plan for racking and workout space.

4. Pick weights based on the fitness goals of the users.

5. Some dumbbells and barbells are harder to use than others. Get weights that are easier to use.

6. Foam, rubber, or plastic-coated weights are better for indoors due to safety.


Having high-quality gym weights is a severely underrated aspect of home fitness and gym success. From durability to ease of use, Artbell Fitness offers the highest-quality free weights at competitive prices and with an excellent shopping experience.