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If you want to take your weight training seriously (and if you want to be taken seriously, too), you’re gonna need an Olympic weight set. Forget the cheap concrete and plastic things you’d pick up for £20 at the local supermarket. In all honesty, a ten-year-old kid would struggle to make any progress with that set-up!
In order to succeed with your body composition and fitness goals, you need to lift heavy. If you have the space available, you should consider an Olympic barbell and plates. Although they can be bought individually, they will often come in sets. And if you’re looking for the best value sets around, Fitness Savvy has you covered: We list thousands of products for you to compare prices and attributes on.
When shopping for a set of weights, you will encounter standard weight sets and Olympic weight sets. So, what is the difference? Well, a standard weight set has a smaller bar (a standard bar) featuring a 1-inch diameter. Standard plates go on these bars, which – as you’ve guessed – have 1-inch holes. Genius.
Olympic bars are 2-inches in diameter. Thicker bars are easier to grip, and obviously, require Olympic plates which have the required 2-inch hole. Olympic bars can handle more weight than standard bars.
If you’re looking to workout at home, you probably won’t have room for various machines. However, you might be surprised to find there are more benefits to working out with free weights instead. Machines are typically “selectorised”. The machine is designed in such a way that the muscle is targeted (isolated) very well. Users might find they can bench press 100kg on a machine, but with free weights struggle to lift 90kg. This is because stabilisation muscles are used to help balance the bar. Depending on the grip, you will employ different amounts of triceps and shoulders, too.
If you’re grabbing yourself a shiny new Olympic weight set, you need to consider your safety, and the safety of others who might use it. If you’re only doing deadlifts (which is highly unlikely), you won’t really need a rack to exercise in. However, if you are looking squat and bench press, you’re going to need a power rack (sometimes called a squat rack or power cage). We have a detailed guide on what to look for to keep you safe, so we advise reading through that and making sure you fully understand the risks of lifting without one.
We recommend 145kg if you’re just starting out. This is because it is certainly enough weight for the beginner, and depending on your size and how regularly you train, could last you a few months to a couple of years. Once you get to a stage where you need to increase the weight, you can simply buy additional plates to upgrade your set.
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