I'm looking for a good set of free weights for my apartment. Any suggestions?
December 19, 2009 3:15 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a good set of free weights for my apartment. Any suggestions?

I'm looking to buy some free weights to use in my apartment. Does anyone have any recommendations?

I've seen PowerBlocks advertised before but I've never seen them in person.

Anyone have any ideas?

Or should I just finally suck it up and go to the gym? I seem to be avoiding that for some reason. I feel like I want to be a little more in shape before I take the gym plunge. Is that stupid?
posted by decrescendo to Health & Fitness (16 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Yes it's stupid to avoid the gym because you're not in shape.
posted by dfriedman at 3:19 PM on December 19, 2009

I don't know. For some reason I feel like I'm too self-conscious to go to the gym being as thin as I am. This is probably the root of the problem and the desire to buy free weights for my apartment.
posted by decrescendo at 3:21 PM on December 19, 2009

No one will care how thin (or not thin) you are at the gym.

I am completely unmotivated at home, so I need to go to the gym to exercise. YMMV.

That said, any free weights are fine - I might recommend non-round ones, as my only suggestion - the hexagonal (or octagonal?) can be handy for things like doing push ups with less strain on your wrists.
posted by backwards guitar at 3:29 PM on December 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

Join Planet Fitness. It's cheap, open 24 hours, and really no-frills, I found it really easy to not be self conscious there.
posted by kellyblah at 3:31 PM on December 19, 2009

If you live in a largish area check out craigslist but really, don't be worried about how you look at the gym, everyone's there because they want to improve how they look and mostly won't care about you and if they do, fuck'em.
posted by ghharr at 3:34 PM on December 19, 2009

Even if you're not in a largish area, check out craigslist, classified ads, garage sales, ads on the grocery-store bulletin board, etc. People sell old exercise equipment all the time.

That said, depending on your goals, you can go a long way with just bodyweight stuff.

That, and what everybody else said about going to the gym.
posted by box at 3:37 PM on December 19, 2009

You should probably just go to a gym. Before I started training at a gym, I experienced some trepidation because I didn't really know what I was doing. To that end, you should read Starting Strength and you'll be more knowledgeable than 90% of the people at your gym. You'll go in, train hard, and go back home without giving much thought to anyone else there, except perhaps to silently scoff at their useless and foolhardy routines if you're a smug bastard like me.

If you want to work out at home, search craigslist for a used power rack, olympic barbell, and plates. A pair of dumbbells is not sufficient for training.

That said, any free weights are fine - I might recommend non-round ones, as my only suggestion

You want round plates. Non-round plates make deadlifting, cleaning, and snatching a pain in the ass.
posted by ludwig_van at 3:43 PM on December 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

Well I just bought the Starting Strength book from Amazon. Hopefully it will be $30 well-spent.
posted by decrescendo at 4:03 PM on December 19, 2009

Descrescendo - that's a great book. I *was* also very thin and very self conscious about going to the gym. But I followed the beginning program in the book pretty religiously, and also ate just a ton of food and protein. Really worked for me - I'm no longer thin by any means. Just stick with it, and go to the gym 3x/week no matter how bad all the muscle-heads make you feel about yourself. It's the only way. Good luck.
posted by centerweight at 4:45 PM on December 19, 2009

The key word: apartment.
Are you willing to drop a heavy barbell in your apartment? Because you will, unless you aren't pushing yourself enough. Eventually you will have to drop one. Even with rubber bumper plates (highly recommended!) your neighbors are not going to appreciate when you fail to squeeze out that last couple of overhead squats and drop a 100+ lb bar on the floor.

I'd say go to the gym - nobody cares if you're a skinny weak kid; I know because I am one (well, except for the kid part.) They know you won't be one long if you work at it.
posted by ctmf at 5:04 PM on December 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

There is one thing that makes working out at home a good idea: you can be walking by your weights, look at 'em, think "hey, I have five minutes" and work out. Just get yourself a really thick mat for when you drop the weights, and make it a point not to drop the weights; rubber weights and weighted bars do exist to help with this, but you should still get a thick floor pad.

Oh, and as a skinny guy, nobody ever looked at me at the gym except when I did cardio stuff, and I assume it was with thoughts of "fuck, I'll never be that skinny!"
posted by davejay at 5:41 PM on December 19, 2009

I totally get the desire to work out at home. Despite their stupid name, this is a good site to take a look at, and I think Power 90, or P90X if you are already in decent shape, may work for you. Power Blocks are supposed to be great, and I'll be interested to see if anyone else actually responds to your question about other good at home weights.
posted by bearwife at 6:27 PM on December 19, 2009

If you really want to do stuff at home in an apartment, you could get some dumbbells that allow you to change the weights like barbells. I've heard from friends that they aren't crazy about the power block style dumbbells.

If you get dumbbells, look at the kettlebell exercises for a more whole-body workout instead of just the curl and fly type bodybuilder movements. I'd say get kettlebells instead, but then you're stuck with just a couple of different weights, when you can do the same thing almost as well with dumbbells.
posted by ctmf at 7:25 PM on December 19, 2009

I do a very modest dumb-bell workout every three days, and have done for several years.

I use these York dumb-bells, plus some extra 5 kilo plates I bought later when I maxed out the originals. They're probably not the best, I have to keep re-tightening the fastenings at the end, but they do for me.

I live on the ground floor, but there are plenty of exercises you can do without dropping them: curls, shrugs, military press etc.

Whether it's a good idea depends what your motivations are. Personally I'm not a body-builder, I just want to keep myself from falling apart too much, have enough muscle to burn a few more calories in the day, and not look too scrawny or flabby to the girls. So a small amount of apartment exercise works fine for me.

If you're trying to get strong for some sport, or you want to get moderately serious about bodybuilding, you should probably go to the gym though.

I'm not sure it makes much sense to get in shape before you go to the gym. The advice you get there will probably make it easier for you to get in shape, even if you do the exercise at home.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 6:05 AM on December 20, 2009

I got these a few months ago...pricey but worth it. The weights go from 5 to 50 lbs.
posted by dzaz at 7:33 PM on December 20, 2009

Hopefully it will be $30 well-spent.

It will be IF you workout. With that book you are going to have to go to the gym, SO GO. You could get suggestion on all different types of equipment and different kinds of suitable ways to workout, but the important point is to have a solid plan and DO IT.
My point being whether you decide to swing around some homemade gear at home or go to the gym and spend a bunch of time in the power rack then to actually get result you have to be serious about it. Which means who cares what anyone else thinks, you should just be worrying about what you want to look/feel like and work towards that.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:13 PM on December 21, 2009

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