All power lifters and other serious athletes know that in order to maximize performance it is important to improve and maintain your strength and stamina. Whether you are training to be in the Olympics or you are trying to make the football squad in high school you won't get far unless you become familiar with an Olympic weight set. There are 3 main components you will need to be familiar with and you will find that every weight lifting center contains them in one form or another.
1. Bench - The bench is a ubiquitous workout symbol and it has many, many more uses than just using it for the standard bench press. There are literally hundreds of different exercises that you can perform on the bench, in fact, I am acquainted with a champion body builder who uses only the bench and a set of dumbbells for her workouts. That's really all weight lifting equipment that you need. Here is a short list of some core bench exercises: dumbbell flys, mid rows, abdominal crunches, bench press, incline pres, decline press, leg curls and leg extensions. (Plus many, many more)
2. Olympic Weight Set - I consider the complete Olympic weight set to include a standard set of dumbbells along with a standard set of Olympic plates w/Olympic Bar. The standard Olympic Bar is 7ft long and weighs 45lbs and you will need it to do most of the standard exercises with your Olympic Plates. Olympic plates run in size from 100 Kg all the way down to 2.5 lbs. I am based in the USA so I will use lbs as a weight reference. Standard weight sets will include a series of 45lb, 35lb, 25lb, 10lb and 5lb plates. Which weight plates and how many of each you need will depend on your personal workout program. Dumbbell sets typically run from 100lbs on down to 5lbs per dumbbell. Dumbbells do run heavier in weight but it is rare that you would ever need to go over 100lbs, even though they are available in the higher weight class.
3. Power Rack - The power rack is the greatest invention since the Olympic plate! It is essentially a steel cage that acts as support for many weight lifting exercises. It can support the Olympic bar for a series of weight lifting exercises including squats, military press, bench press, dead lifts, straight bar curls and many others. There is also a self spotting mechanism that can be incorporated into it by sliding the steel rods in through the front and out the back at the height level that you desire. This self spotting mechanism can be very useful when you are doing heavy squats without a reliable spotter. Like the bench and dumbbells it has many, many other weight lifting applications that I will not be able to list here.
If you have acquired these three main components then you can consider yourself in possession of a complete set of weight lifting equipment. This is all that you need to train for a wide variety of sports from the Olympics on down. Get started today on your path to lifelong fitness and use weight lifting equipment to help accomplish your goals!
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