Ultimate Full-Body Workout with Free Weights

woman is lifting barbell

Free weights are essential gear that will help you to tone your muscles. The gear is beneficial for losing weight as well as gaining muscles. It’s fair to say that kettlebells, dumbbells, and barbells can make bodybuilding easier. Besides, a range of free weights adds some diversity to the workout routine.

You may find free weights of different sizes, shapes, and materials used. So they can fit your home gym ideally. A wide array of weights provides different resistance levels. That’s advantageous for activating the muscle groups all over your body. That means free-weight workouts are great for full-body training.

Most exercises can be leveled up by using free weights. Different types of free weights make working out even more flexible. Let’s check what types of free weights you may be considering when building a home gym.

The Main Types of Free Weights

home gym with free weights

1. Dumbbells

That’s the most portable option as the gear is lightweight. Dumbbells can be used individually or in pairs. Another feature is that there are adjustable dumbbells on the market. So instead of keeping weight tree racks at the gym, you can get a space-saving product. That’s a great perk for a modest home gym.

Such free weights are perfect for strength training workouts. Using dumbbells provides low-impact exercising. So they are friendly to people who crave joint-isolation workouts. 

Dumbbells can be used for a full-body workout. You can do bicep curls, crunches, bench press, squats, lunges, and more. A range of dumbbell exercises is suitable for your upper body and lower body days. Thus, such a piece of equipment can replace exercise machines like a rower or a stair stepper. And save lots of space and bucks!

50 lb kettlebell on gym flooring

2. Kettlebells

Another space-friendly piece of equipment is a kettlebell. It’s an iron weight that usually goes from 5 to 100 pounds. There’s a handle at the top for better gripping. Kettlebells come in a range of colors to hit your home gym design flawlessly.

Like dumbbells, kettlebells provide a range of resistance levels. And they can come in handy for full-body workouts. You don’t need any other gear to use. All you need is a kettlebell or two to perform a killing workout.

Because of the unique design, you’re able to do dynamic lifts with kettlebells. Unlike the rest types of free weights. Thus, kettlebells provide excellent explosive movements to amp up your muscles. Moreover, your grip strength is getting improved because of the handle design. Use kettlebells to do one-arm rows, one-arm press, goblet squats, chest-loaded swings.

straight barbell with green rubber plates

3. Barbells

A barbell is used for heavy lifting to improve body strength. A barbell consists of two main parts:

  • a shaft – the bar that your grip to lift it.
  • sleeves that are placed at the ends of the bar. Weight plates are placed on the sleeves.

Barbells come in different bar shapes. The most common is a straight bar but you may also face a trap bar, hex bar, curl bar, and more. Such gear is used for bodybuilding, weightlifting, and powerlifting. A common Olympic barbell weighs 45 pounds. But there are other types that are lighter, weighing from 10 to 25 pounds.

Different barbells, their shapes, and weights are suitable for a range of exercises. Free weight workouts include deadlifts, bench press, overhead press, lunges, and squats. Exercises with barbells are recommended for athletes who train for maximum strength.

Mind that barbells are heavy bars that should be stored properly. They require more space than dumbbells and kettlebells. You may consider storing barbells on the wall to save space on the floor. Especially, if there’s more than one barbell at your home gym.

colorful rubber weight plates on floor

4. Weight Plates

Usually, weight plates are considered together with barbells. As the gear helps to improve the strength gain. Weight plates come in a range of shapes, colors, and materials used.

The main types of weight plates are Olympic and Standard discs. Olympic weight plates are a more common option. You’re likely to see such gear at a commercial gym. Olympic discs come with a 2-inch diameter hole to fit the Olympic barbell. While Standard discs are designed with a 1-inch diameter hole for the Standard barbell.

Some plates come with rubber covering for better grip and sound insulation. That’s a good option for heavy lifters who don’t want to disturb their neighbors when dropping weights. Some discs have handles that make them easily portable, which is a plus. Don’t forget to unload your barbell when quitting the gym.

medicine balls on wall mount racks

5. Medicine Balls

Medicine balls were originally used in therapy sessions to improve strength and coordination. But nowadays such a piece of equipment is getting popular among sportsmen of all levels. A medicine ball is a ball around 13.7 inches wide. The ball is easily portable, lightweight, and friendly to the budget.

There’s an array of medicine ball options. They weigh from 2 to 25 pounds to hit various resistance levels. Don’t confuse a medicine ball with a stability ball that is typically larger. Medicine balls are great to perform ball twists, wall ball shots, side-to-side slams, and squat throws.

Another perk is that a medicine ball is excellent for exercising in a group of two. Add some fun to the free weight workout by involving your partner. You can perform exercises that require tossing a ball to the gym mate.

50 lb kettlebell on gym flooring

6. Sandbells

The sandbell is a top piece of equipment for a gym on a budget. As its name implies, it’s a soft bag filled with sand. That makes the gear easy to grab and maintain.

Using sandbells is beneficial for improving balance. As the sand is constantly moving inside, you have to adjust the sandbell while exercising. That’s a good way to amp up your stabilizer muscles.

Sandbells are perfect for those who are looking for safe equipment. If you want to avoid bulky machines but still gain a solid workout, a set of sandbells is a great choice. Use this gear to do bent-over rows, Russian twists, woodchoppers, hip swings, and more.

Training with Free Weights: Core Workout

woman is performing Kettlebell Swing at gym

1. Kettlebell Swing

That’s the very first exercise you should learn once you get a kettlebell. Place a kettlebell in front of you between your feet. Place your legs slightly bent at the knees with the feet shoulder-width apart. That’s your starting position.

Hinge at the hips, lower your back and grab the kettlebell. Pull the gear back between the legs. That will create momentum. Drive the hips forward and straighten your back. Raise the kettlebell at shoulder height. Squeeze your core while exercising. Lower the gear and pull it back between the legs. Do 12-15 reps per set.

woman is doing Side Bend with a Dumbbell

2. Side Bend with a Dumbbell

Side bends are beneficial to work out your oblique muscles. Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart. Place a dumbbell in your right hand. Brace your core when doing side bends. Start lowering the free weight down along the side. Keep your chest up. Your left hand is close to the torso.

Do 10-12 reps. Then switch hands. Do another 10-12 reps. Start lowering your left hand with a dumbbell while your right hand is close to the torse. Not every core exercise hits the obliques. And the side bend is a great chance to do that.

woman is performing Woodchopper with a Sandbell

3. Woodchopper with a Sandbell

That’s another oblique-friendly move that also improves your coordination. Get to the squat position. Your legs are bent at the knees with the feet shoulder-width apart. Grasp a sandbell with both hands and hold it at the outside of the left knee. Raise the weight across your body over the head, and above your right shoulder. So you’re twisting the midsection. Brace your core while performing.

Repeat 12-15 times. Then switch sides. Squat and hold the sandbell below the right knees. And raise the gear over the left shoulder. Repeat 12-15 times.

Training with Free Weights: Arms Workout

man is performing One Arm Swing with a Dumbbell

4. One Arm Swing with a Dumbbell

This exercise targets not only shoulders but leg muscles too. To do one-arm swings, you can use a kettlebell instead. That’s a killing exercise that can be added to the fat-burning HIIT workout.

Stand up with your legs slightly bent at the knees. The feet are shoulder-width apart or wider. Place a dumbbell in front of you between the feet. Grasp the gear with your arm fully extended. Get to the squat position. Pull the dumbbell back between your legs. That will create momentum.

Drive the hips forward and push the dumbbell back in front of you. Raise the gear slightly above the shoulder height. Make sure your arm is extended straight. Brace your core and back while exercising. Do 8-10 reps. Then switch arms. Do another 8-10 reps.

woman is doing Overhead Press with Kettlebells

5. Overhead Press with Kettlebells

Change up your upper-body workout with such an exercise. Stand up with your feet hip-width apart. Place a kettlebell in each hand bending your arms at shoulder height. Your palms are facing forwards. So the gear is hanging back. That’s your starting position.

Press the kettlebells overhead when straightening your arms. Don’t twist the wrists, the gear is still hanging backward. Keep your abs and hips tight while performing. This will help to avoid your lower back arching when you raise your arms.

Slowly lower the kettlebell by bending the elbows. Do 10-12 reps. You can also do a kettlebell overhead press with one piece by switching the arms.

man is doing Bent Over Row with a Barbell

6. Bent-Over Row with a Barbell

Level up your upper body routine with a barbell. Stand up with your feet hip-width apart. Hinge your back forward with the legs slightly bent at the knees. Push your hips back. Grasp the barbell a bit wider than shoulder-width apart. That’s your starting point.

Start pulling the barbell close to the chest level by bending the elbows. The elbows are placed just past the torso pointing up. Squeeze your shoulder blades while performing. Make a pause for a second at the top of the move.

Return to the starting position by lowering and straightening your arms. Make sure there’s a straight line from the neck to the lower back all the way out. Repeat 8-12 times per set.

Training with Free Weights: Legs Workout

woman is doing Goblet Squat with a Medicine Ball

7. Goblet Squat with a Medicine Ball

Goblet squats can be performed with a dumbbell, kettlebell, or a medicine ball. Stand up with your feet shoulder-width apart. Raise both hands and place the ball under your chin. That’s your starting point.

Get to the squat position with your legs bent at the knees. Keep your weight on the heels. There’s a 90-degree angle with your knees bent. Make sure your hips are hinged backward and your knees don’t go over the toe line. Get back to the starting point. Squeeze your glutes when standing up with the ball. Do 10-12 reps per set.

woman is doing Glute Bridge with dumbbell and band

8. Glute Bridge with a Dumbbell

What a great exercise to target your core, glutes, and hamstrings. Get down on a yoga mat with your face up. Your legs are bent at the knees with the feet flat on the floor. Grasp a dumbbell with both hands and put the gear right under the hip bones. That’s your starting point.

Brace your abs and glutes while exercising. Drive your heels up to lift your hips. Make sure the hips are off the ground so there’s a straight line from the shoulders to the knees. Hold for a second at the top of the movement. Then slowly return to the starting position. Your lower body is working out while the arms are resting on the thighs. Do 10-12 reps per set. You can also try a glute bridge with resistance bands.

woman is doing Deadlifts with a Barbell

9. Deadlifts with a Barbell

One of the most efficient lower body exercises with a barbell involved. Here, a rage of muscles is targeted. Including the core, back, hamstrings, and glutes.

Stand up with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the barbell with extended arms a bit wider than shoulder-width apart. The palms are facing in. That’s your starting position.

Hinge your back forward with your core braced. While lowering the torso, slightly bend your legs at the knees. Fix the pose when you fill the hamstrings are fully stretched. Lower the barbell right above the knees when doing a deadlift. Make sure your back is flat and your head is faced up.

Make a pause for a second and slowly return to the starting point. Squeeze your glutes when standing up. Your arms are fully extended. Do 10-12 reps per set. Advanced users can try deadlifts with a single leg.

home gym with free weights

Best Free Weight Workout Revealed

Get your workout routine diverse by using free weights. They will add more resistance to boost your strength and balance. There’s a wide array of free-weight options to fit any home gym. The most common types are dumbbells, kettlebells, and barbells. Each type of free weight is beneficial to amp up your muscles and lose weight. No matter what fitness goal you follow, this gear will come in handy for sure.

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