You will find the most comprehensive and truthful guide to weight lifting equipment in existence right here at Weight Lifting Complete. If I think a piece of weight lifting equipment is worthless, I’ll tell you. If I think a piece of equipment is great, I’ll let you know that too.
I do not sell weight lifting equipment from this site, and I will not be biased in any way by any company. I want you to have access to the right equipment so you can make the progress you truly deserve. I’m helping you set yourself up for success.
Main Pieces of Weight Lifting Equipment
6 Main Pieces of Weight Lifting Equipment. This is the minimum equipment I recommend to properly execute all of the weight lifting workouts you’ll find here at WLC. (1) Power Rack, (2) Bench, (3) Dumbbells, (4) Barbell, (5) Weight Plates, (6) Power Tower are the 6 pieces of weight lifting equipment you will need.
– Power Rack. The power rack will be the centerpiece of your weight lifting equipment. This is where most of the magic will happen. The power rack allows you to safely lift weights alone due to the safety pins.
– Adjustable Bench. An adjustable weight bench allows you to do several different exercises. One of the 7 core weight lifting exercises, the bench press, requires an adjustable bench. You’ll find this exercise within all of the weight lifting workouts here so an adjustable bench is important.
– Adjustable Dumbbells. Dumbbells are a huge part of weight lifting. A good pair of adjustable dumbbells will allow you to adjust from light weight to heavy weight quickly and easily.
– Olympic Barbell Set. Many weight lifting exercises will use an Olympic Barbell set including the barbell and the weight plates. I actually recommend multiple barbell sets to make your workouts quicker and easier, but a single set will get you started.
– Olympic Weight Plates. You will always need extra weight plates to go along with your Olympic barbell set. If you have multiple barbells, you can use those barbells for different exercises without the need to always change out the weight plates.
– Power Tower. As you will see, dips and chin ups are a huge part of the weight lifting workouts you’ll find here. A power tower allows you to do both chin ups and dips along with some other good exercises. If your power rack has a place to do both chin ups and dips, you will not need a power tower.
Other Pieces of Weight Lifting Equipment
Other Pieces of Weight Lifting Equipment. There are some good substitutions for the weight lifting equipment shown above. For example, you may not have the space for a power rack but a good squat rack may fit perfectly. Or you might already have a good amount of standard weight plates so you want a standard size barbell versus an Olympic size.
– Squat Rack. A squat rack may work much better for your area than a power rack. Some squat stands have a very small footprint so they fit almost anywhere. If you’re crunched for space, this can be a great option versus a power rack.
– Fixed Dumbbells. If you have the required space for racks of fixed dumbbells, this is a great option and maybe even a better option than adjustable dumbbells. You can just grab these and get to work without the need to adjust. One huge drawback, though, is cost.
– Standard Barbell Sets. I started out with a standard barbell set and this will do you just fine for a while until you gain more and more strength. You will most likely out grow this set, but you can always keep it around for additional weight lifting exercises.
– Standard Weight Plates. If you go with a standard barbell set, you’re going to need additional weight plates especially as you grow stronger. Get plenty of these weight plates.
– Chin Up Bar. If you don’t already have a chin up bar on your power rack or power tower, you’ll need to have a way to do chin ups so a chin up or pull up bar is a must.
– Dip Bars. Dip bars are sometimes a little more difficult to find. Dips are sometimes an exercise that is forgotten, but please trust me when I tell you that this is one of the best exercises in existence. You need to have a way to do dips.
Special Weight Lifting Bars
Special Weight Lifting Bars. Adding different weight lifting bars to your arsenal of weight lifting equipment will allow you to add more exercise variety to your workouts. Adding variety is very important to your long term progress.
– Trap Bar. A trap bar will allow you to do many different additional exercises, but the most important of all of those will be the trap bar deadlift. The trap bar deadlift is one of my personal favorites because it allows you to lift more weight than any other weight lifting exercise. I highly recommend that you get a trap bar for this reason alone.
– Safety Squat Bar. If you’re looking for a new feel to squats, the safety squat bar might be exactly what you need. This special weight lifting bar will take much of the strain from a heavy barbell off your neck as it has a well padded bar that distributes the weight well.
– Thick Bar. If you want a totally different feel to some exercises, a thick bar will provide this by working your grip, forearms, and entire arms much differently than ever before.
– Curl Bar. A curl bar can obviously be used for many different types of curls but can also be used for other exercises as well to release some of the stress on your wrists.
– Triceps Bar. A triceps bar gives you a parallel grip which is great for many exercises. I highly recommend a triceps bar for many different reasons. It’s going to add much exercise variety for your weight lifting workouts.
– Farmers Walk Handles. The farmers walk exercise is an amazing conditioning exercise that will work your grip and forearms really well. You can add these handles if you really want to work on your ability to carry heavy things. Growing up, I had to carry buckets of feed and water on the farm. This is a similar exercise.
Adding Weight to Exercises
Adding Weight to Exercises. In order to make progress from your weight lifting workouts, you must continue to add weight or resistance to each exercise. Most of the time, this is going to be in the form of actual weight plates or an increase in dumbbell size. Sometimes, this is going to mean using the equipment below to increase weight or resistance.
– Fractional Weight Plates. I highly recommend the use of fractional weight plates especially with the strength specific weight lifting workouts here at WLC. Increasing the amount of resistance, even by small amounts, will lead to faster strength gains.
– Weight Sled. One of the best conditioning exercises in existence will be pulling or pushing a weighted sled around. This will absolutely smoke your lower body and lead to vastly improved fitness levels.
– Hip Belt. A hip belt allows you to do a huge variety of new weight lifting exercises including the hip belt squat and allows you to safely add weight around your waist for chin ups, pull ups, and dips. One of the biggest advantages, though, is the stress it takes off your lower back for specific exercise movements.
– Resistance Bands. Resistance bands give your muscles an entirely different type of stress to contend with during your workouts. Mixing in some resistance band exercises here and there will really benefit you.
– Weighted Vests. Using a weighted vest for push ups, step ups, and other exercises will add much needed resistance that will help you grow stronger and stronger. You want a high capacity weighted vest that allows you to add weight in small increments.
– Forms of Resistance You Can Use. There are many different ways to add resistance or weight to exercises. Increasing the amount of resistance over the course of a weight lifting program is VERY important if you want to make amazing progress.
Weight Lifting Machines
Weight Lifting Machines. I am not a huge fan of weight lifting machines that lock you into a specific plane of motion or movement pattern. Some machines, though, can really help in specific areas.
– Free Weights vs. Machines. Found out why I’m not a huge fan of certain weight lifting machines. If some machines are used properly together with an intelligent strategy, they can really help you to build muscle and strength even faster.
– Cable Machine. I personally recommend a good cable machine. Rarely you can find these as a part of a good power rack. If you do see this, get the power rack immediately. Cable machines are great because they do not lock you into a specific plane of motion and add a huge variety of different exercises to your repertoire.
– Glute Ham Machine. One of the best exercises for your posterior chain can be done with the glute ham machine and will target these very important muscles.
– Reverse Hyper Machine. This is an amazing exercise because it can really help your lower back health and build more strength in the lower back and posterior chain. Many people are very weak in this area and this machine can really help.
– Bowflex Machine. A Bowflex machine can be a great starting machine as many people have purchased these but never stayed consistent when using. This machine is a good way to get into exercising regularly.
– Smith Machine. I do not recommend the use of a Smith machine for many weight lifting exercises but you can use it for an exercise here and there. For example, it’s great for reverse grip bench press that targets the triceps. It’s also great for standing calf raises as it helps balance the weight for you.
Cable Machine Attachments
Cable Machine Attachments. I am a big fan of cable machines so I thought I would go over some of the cable attachments to go along with the cable machine. These attachments allow you to add a huge variety of cable exercises to your exercise arsenal.
– Triceps Rope. A rope is an attachment you’ll want to have for many different triceps exercises like pushdowns, overhead triceps extension, hammer curls, and more.
– Low Row Handle. This parallel bar handle places your grip very close together and uses both arms for the exercise. This is a good attachment for cable rows, pull downs, and a variety of other weight lifting exercises.
– Single Handle. You need this one to do 1-arm exercises. The 1-arm pulldown from your knees is an extremely tough exercise that will benefit you greatly. This is just one of the amazing exercises you can do with the single handle cable machine attachment.
Weight Lifting Accessories
Weight Lifting Accessories. There are a huge number of different accessories that can be used to increase your performance during your weight lifting workouts and conditioning workouts.
– Power Pads. Protecting all of the precious nerves in your hands and fingers should be a priority and will instantly help your strength. Power pads are a good option for protecting your hands during your weight lifting workouts.
– New Grips Weight Lifting Gloves. New grips are my choice of weight lifting gloves as they allow your hands to breathe and work very well. These grips take all of the stress off your hands.
– Weight Lifting Wrist Straps. When your grip strength is a limiting factor to how much weight you can lift on an exercise, wrist straps should be your go to tool. Wrist straps will allow you to lift and grip heavier weight.
– Weight Lifting Shoes. The right type of shoe is very important when working out. If you are wearing shoes that don’t allow your feet to be flat on the floor, you need a new pair of weight lifting shoes. This is very important.
– Weight Training Shoes. 7 benefits of the right weight training shoes are discussed here as well as 4 good options to choose from when you purchase your next pair of shoes for weight lifting.
– Finger Shoes. I absolutely love finger shoes as they protect your feet but allow your toes to move independently. It’s almost like you’re not wearing shoes, and that’s exactly what you want during weight lifting workouts.
– Wrestling Shoes. Another good option for your weight lifting workouts is wrestling shoes. Wrestling shoes are light weight and normally flat without too much padding or heel.
– Weight Lifting Belt. A weight lifting belt can help add support during certain weight lifting exercises. But do I recommend weight lifting belts? Not really. Find out why.
– TK Waist Band. A waist band will keep your lower back very warm and increase blood flow to the area. If you have any lower back issues, I highly recommend a TK Waist Band.
– TK Knee Bands. If you’re knees give you any issues at all and you typically need extra warm ups to help your knees, the TK Knee Bands will help get your knees warm even faster and keep them warm throughout your workouts.
– Knee Wraps. Extra support for your knees during exercises likes squats and deadlifts can be provided by knee wraps. I am personally not a huge fan, but these can work well for some people.
Unconventional Weight Lifting Equipment
Unconventional Weight Lifting Equipment. I’m a big fan of unconventional weight lifting equipment. This stuff really adds variety to workouts and can help you develop your body further. Some of this equipment will make exercises much harder than ever before and that’s what you want.
– Suspension Trainer. This is one of my personal secret weapons for increasing functional strength and building an overall better physique. A suspension trainer doesn’t take up hardly space and doesn’t cost much either. You can even make your own.
– Clubbells. If you really want to increase your functional strength, clubbells are something you need to try. Start out with very light clubbells and increase as you get stronger.
– Kettlebells. Just about every weight lifting exercise that can be done with dumbbells can also be done with kettlebells. Kettlebells add another level of difficulty because the forces are displaced differently during each movement, which leads to more muscle and strength development for you.
– Carpet Sled. Indoor sled workouts are now possible with a carpet sled. Pulling and pushing a sled is highly recommended and this piece of weight lifting equipment allows you to do so.
– Sandbags. Have you ever tried lifting a heavy sandbag? If so, you’ll know that it isn’t easy because it’s difficult to grab and keep under control. Because of this difficulty, working with sandbags is an amazing way to improve functional strength.
– Climbing Ropes. A fun and exciting way to improve your strength. Climbing ropes can be difficult but work on this, and you will greatly improve. Technique is also a part of getting great at rope climbing.
– Crush Grippers. Improving your grip is very important so you can lift heavy weights without the use of weight lifting wrist straps. Crush grippers will easily help you improve your grip strength.
– Sledgehammers. Have you ever had the opportunity to perform work with a sledgehammer? If so, you’ll know that every muscle in your body was sore the next day. This is an amazing exercise and sledgehammers can be used in different ways for different exercises.
– Axes. Chopping wood with an axe is an excellent way to increase functional strength and increase your fitness levels. It also gives you firewood for the cold winter days if needed.
– Hammers. Using different hammers with different weights is another functional exercise that will lead to improved strength.
– Rings. If you have tried using rings for pull ups, dips, push ups, or other exercises then you’ll know how much room you have to improve strength levels. You’ll start shaking like never before.
Organizing Your Weight Lifting Equipment
Organizing Your Weight Lifting Equipment. If you’re building a home gym, you need to organize your weight lifting equipment so you can find things easier and decrease the overall time of your workouts. This makes you much more efficient and gives you more time for other more important things in life.
– Weight Holders. Your weight plates need to be organized and ready for action. If you need a 45, you need to grab it right away and get it on the barbell. You shouldn’t waste time moving things around and trying to find the right weight plates. Weight holders help you keep your workout area organized.
– Dumbbell Rack. All of your dumbbells need a rack with easy access. You don’t want to waste time looking for dumbbells.
– Gym Flooring. Every gym should have proper flooring. If you drop heavy weights, your gym floor should protect the flooring underneath. The proper gym flooring will also help you perform better in your workouts and that’s why I have included this here.
Additional Weight Lifting Equipment
Additional Weight Lifting Equipment. There’s some more equipment you’ll want to add to your home gym over time to give you even more exercise selection which leads to an overall better physique and an overall more functional body.
– Squat Box. Box squats are one of the best exercises for learning how to squat with proper form and technique. A squat box adjusted to different heights is a great piece of weight lifting equipment to have available.
– Squat Pad. If you have a high sensitivity to a heavy barbell on your back, a squat pad might be just what you need to begin performing squats without it hurting you so badly.
– Plyo Boxes. Boxes with different heights can be used for many different plyometric boxes. Imagine jumping with both feet up to a box that is several feet in height. You can accomplish this over time as you start with a lower level box and work your way up.
– Medicine Balls. These balls can serve many different purposes and can really develop functional strength. Dynamic exercises can be done with these weighted medicine balls.
– Swiss Ball. Stabilization is the name of the game with the swiss ball. This ball can add a huge stability factor to every weight lifting exercise. You need to be careful and use light weights when first attempting exercises with the swiss ball.
– Calf Blocks. Building calves has always been one of my priorities due to a weakness I’ve had in the past. A variety of different calf blocks allows you to always stress your calves differently, which is very important when trying to develop your calf muscles.
– Ab Roller. One of the better overall ab exercises that works much of your body is the ab roller exercise. This is one of the few ab machines I will recommend.
– Balance Pad. I use a balance pad for calf raises to give them a different feel as well as for step ups and bulgarian squats. A balance pad is a versatile piece of weight lifting equipment and one I recommend if you’re looking for more variety.
– Timers. A good timer or clock on the wall with a second hand is a good addition to your weight lifting workouts. You can record time under tension or rest between sets to ensure you’re fitness levels are improving over time.
– Heart Rate Watches. Monitoring your heart rate is important for conditioning workouts and cardio workouts for many different reasons. Heart rate watches will also record calories burned and other useful information.
Stretching, Massage, and Recovery Tools
Stretching, Massage, and Recovery Tools. Recovering from your weight lifting workouts is a top priority and leads to faster results and less overtraining. I consider these tools a part of your weight lifting equipment repertoire.
– Stretching Bands. You can increase the effectiveness of stretching through stretching bands.
– Foam Roller. This will be your main tool for getting rid of scar tissue within your body. This scar tissue can really cause problems during your weight lifting workouts and begin to decrease mobility as you age. It’s very important to get rid of as much scar tissue throughout your body as possible.
– Massage Sticks. Massage sticks are another tool that can be used to alleviate issues through deep tissue massage.
– Lacrosse Balls. These balls are great for targeting very specific areas of your musculature that needs extra deep tissue massage.
Building Your Own Home Gym
Home Gym Building. I HIGHLY recommend that you build yourself a home gym. If you don’t have much space, that’s okay. Choose a set of adjustable dumbbells to get started. They don’t take much space at all. Then build up from there. That’s what I did over the years. Worked well for me.
– My Home Gym. I built my home gym over many years. As I said, I started with a low cost pair of adjustable dumbbells and standard weight plates. From there, you can see what I’ve been able to build over the years. The best thing about weight lifting equipment is that it lasts for many, many years saving you money on gym memberships, gas money, time, and more!
– Wrong Gym for Weight Lifting. If you can’t afford the initial investment to build a home gym, you should choose the right gym for lifting weights. Many gyms out there today just don’t have the right equipment. This person found that out the hard way after signing a 3-year contract. Don’t make the same mistake.
– Workout Equipment for Your Home Gym. 5 Reasons why a home gym is the best option along with the few pieces of workout equipment you need to get started with weight lifting.
– Home Gym vs. Commercial Gym. Here’s a great comparison between a home gym and a commercial gym. See the advantages and disadvantages of each. Which option is the best place to workout for you? Decide here.
– 24Hour Fitness Gym. If you have no option of working out at home for any reason, a 24Hour Fitness gym is a good choice for a backup. You’ll get many benefits that will help ease the pain of paying the membership fee each month such as child care when you go to the gym. Find out more about this gym option.
– Mini Guide to Weight Training Equipment. Here’s another short and sweet guide to the right weight training equipment to get your home gym started on the right track.
– Guide to Power Racks. You need to know as much as possible about power racks before buying one for your home gym. I made a couple of mistakes when I first purchased a rack many years ago. I want to share everything I’ve learned with you so get the right one to fit your needs the very first time.
– Different Type of Weight Lifting Glove. I have been using a different type of weight lifting glove for years now. I went away from them only once in 14 years. When I did, I started having forearm pain once again from the bar contacting my finger tips. I highly recommend this different glove for all weight lifters.
– The Pain is Gone When Using New Grips. More information on the weight lifting glove I highly recommend. I guess you could say they aren’t really gloves. Get yourself a pair today. You will be very happy with these.
– Home Gym Equipment. A short page with a few quick links to home gym equipment.
– Home Gym Advantages Over Commercial Gyms. Find out all the advantages a home gym has over a commercial gym. Without a doubt, a home gym is the absolute best option for everyone.
– Home Gym Flooring. If you have the money to spend on flooring for your home gym, you need to make sure you get the right type of flooring.
– Dumbbell Sets for Your Home Gym. Find out the best dumbbell set for your home gym.
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