Using Cast Iron Weights

People may take up a weight training programme for a variety of reasons. Many want to improve their health and fitness levels, some may want to improve muscle tone and performance for specific sporting needs and others may want to define their physique for body building competitions or simply for weight loss. Weights can also be used for rehabilitation or physiotherapy after injury.

There are a number of ways to employ weights. It is very clear that using weights in a structured fitness programme will definitely result in positive changes in muscle definition and strength as well as fat burning so it is well worth taking time to work out how they could assist in such a regime. The next thing to consider once you have decided to integrate weights into a daily workout is what sort of you want to use. There are a number of options available when training such as whether to use a machine system or stand-alone, or ‘free’, weights. Both have their advantages and disadvantages and various factors will influence what would be the best system to use.

Hand held or free weights

Free weights can come as sets that can be used as dumbbells, barbells or as discs that fit onto a weightlifting lifting bar. Each weight or disc will have a different weight and various combinations can be made to ensure that an appropriate mass is added to the equipment for training purposes. Free weights are a very good choice for those who want to train at home as they take up far less bulk than a machine or other apparatus would. The use of free weights is also a good choice for targeting specific muscles or muscle groups and, because you are not confined to a machine which means you can move more freely and with more natural actions, e.g. squats and rotating the body. Using free weights also means that you are likely to use your time more efficiently as you won’t be wasting time moving from machine to machine or having to wait for one to become available if you are in a commercial gym.

Possible disadvantages of using free weights are that it can often be quite difficult to know where to start with choosing the correct exercises for the outcome you hope to achieve. A machine takes all the guess work away as it is set up and ready to go. Sometimes, it can be hard to get the exercises right as they require good co-ordination and an understanding of precise movements in order to gain the maximum benefits – again, a machine does this for you. Because a machine is built to support the body, there is much less risk of injury compared to using barbells and dumbbells, and it takes time to learn how to use them safely.
As with all weight training methods, it is always wise to take basic precautions to protect from injury and follow all safety instructions given on the equipment. Weight training videos can help in this respect, showing how exercises should be performed to prevent injury and maximise muscle gain.