How To Select The Right Weights and Equipment for Your Workout

Weight training can be a little daunting if you haven’t done it before. There is so much equipment many people don’t know how to use, and many people have no clue how to select the right weight to maximize their workouts. There are many options such as dumbbells, barbells, machines, bands, medicine balls, and kettle bells, to name a few! These choices often leave people overwhelmed, and often results in the lame 30 minute treadmill workout regime.

Follow the advice below when selecting equipment for your workout. This knowledge will leave you feeling confident and comfortable when weight training.

1. Set your goals:

Are you currently 50 lbs overweight and looking for weight loss? Looking to tone up? Want to get jacked for summer? It’s very important to be clear and realistic in your goals.

  • If you are looking to lose weight, a combination of cardiovascular activity and low weight, high repetition weight training is what I recommend. Check out the video below!
  • Looking to tone up? If you are already feeling pretty good about the scale, but you are looking for a little more muscle definition, I would recommend HIIT training with weights. Select a medium weight so that it’s a challenge for you. See my HIITT challenge below:


  • If you are looking to build more noticeable “jacked” appearance (my personal goal), then I recommend lifting as heavy as you safely can. Minimize cardio so that you do not lose the muscle gains. Subscribe to my YouTube channel for the upcoming Weight Training Challenge and like my page on Facebook to get in on the private challenge group!

2. Decide where you will be working out.

If you are doing home workouts (like me!) or workouts on the go, you will want to be smart about the equipment you purchase to get the most bang for your buck. Using equipment that is interchangeable and has multiple uses is best for the budget when purchasing for your home gym.

If you plan on hitting the gym to weight train you will have a gym cost, but more options to get the job done. One downside I found in training at the gym for years was waiting for equipment that was in use. Most gyms will give you a free orientation on equipment. Do it!!!!

3. Do a little research before you purchase your equipment or attempt to use it at the gym.

There’s nothing worse than getting all ready to workout and 5 minutes in you realize, “Oh shit, I don’t have the right equipment for this workout!”

  • If you are using YouTube workouts for an inspiration, watch the video first. What equipment is required? Can you substitute?
  • Some equipment can be used pretty interchangeably when getting started. Dumbbells are a must, however barbells are not. Pretty much anything you can do with a barbell can be done with a dumbbell. If you are bench pressing heavy you probably need a weight bench. However, if you are sticking to medium or light weights you can get away with a coffee table or gym risers. Heck, I have even bench pressed right on the floor when I didn’t have much equipment.
  • Don’t get all caught up in gimmick equipment that is for one single exercise! Not only are they boring, they also usually cost a pretty penny! If you were tempted to buy an ab roller for example, a medicine ball is much more functional! You can do a full ab workout with a medicine ball, including a variety of other exercises as well!

4. Selecting your weight:

This is probably the most important tip! If you are lifting too light you WILL NOT see results! This will also make you feel discouraged in your efforts, and quite frankly you will be wasting your time. On the flip side, lifting too heavy can result in injuries and failure to complete your workouts.

  • Ideally, if you are a beginner, you would start with 5lb and 8lb weights. If you have a bit more experience working out, you can probably move to 10lb and 12lb weights. You can grab these from a local store, or you can buy them on Amazon and have them delivered in a few days.
  • Pick a couple different exercises you plan to do with these weights. Rule of thumb when selecting weights is you should be able to complete 10 repetitions of a given exercise. By the time you reach rep 6-7 you should feel it and it should be work to pump out the last few. If it feels too easy, go heavier. If you are struggling to get four reps in, go lighter!
  • You will need at least 2 different sets of dumbbells of varying weights! We have so many muscles in our bodies and some are large, which can handle heavier weights, and some are tiny! When I hit my rear delts I still only lift 10lbs and I’ve been at this a long time!

Whatever your goal is, weight training can help! Remember when purchasing equipment, you are investing in yourself!

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