If you’re looking to build muscle and get stronger from within the comfort of your own home, the right weight set is a must-have. Adding weight training to your workout routine can help you sculpt nearly any part of your body—from your shoulders to your calves! That’s why investing in an effective, safe, and reliable weight lifting set can make all the difference in getting that lean, attractive physique you’d like to see in the mirror every day.

Known for durability, customizable weight options, and being a favorite of bodybuilders and beginner athletes alike, weight sets include a number of products to choose from. But what exactly is a weight set, and which one is right for you?

In this article, we’ll explore the different types of weight sets on the market right now, and what to look for when you’re selecting one that fits your lifestyle. We’ll also review five of the best home weight sets available for purchase. Finally, you’ll learn some effective weight training exercises you can add to your workout regimen to get results.

What is a Weight Set, and Why Buy One?

While some workout programs are only bodyweight-focused, most include some additional strength training. Strength training, also known as resistance training, places resistance on your muscles through the use of weight and repetitive movements called “reps.” This resistance makes your muscles work harder to move and contract, which in turn helps you build strength and cardiovascular endurance. When you gain lean muscle through strength training, you actually lose body weight too, as your metabolism works to fuel your larger skeletal muscles and burn off unnecessary fat.

But how can you challenge your muscles beyond your own bodyweight, to make them work even harder? Enter, the weight set.

Weight lifting sets come in many different shapes and sizes, with customizable weight options. They can include metal, iron, or even rubber components to add extra weight to your body and increase resistance. The best part is, there are plenty of home weight set options—which means you don’t even have to leave your house to get a great workout!

Choosing the Home Weight Set That’s Right for You

Now that you know how a weight set can start you on a fat-burning, muscle-building frenzy, which one should you choose? Considering how much space you want to dedicate to your home gym, evaluating your fitness goals, comparing prices, and deciding which type of weight set offers the best options for your lifestyle are crucial to deciding which one is right for you.

If that sounds like a lot of work, never fear! Here are our 5 picks of the most popular, cost-effective weight sets you can find on the market today:

Olympic Weight Sets

One of the more popular options among home weight lifters, the Olympic barbell weight set is a customizable option that combines versatility with durability. This set consists of a long metal bar, usually measuring about seven feet, and different-sized plates that can be secured on either end (the “sleeves”) of the bar.

Olympic barbell weight sets are particularly noteworthy for their two-inch rotating sleeve diameters, which protect your wrists and allow for more weight to be placed on either end of the bar. This makes them optimal for full-body conditioning moves like squats and deadlifts, as well as upper body-focused moves like triceps extensions, presses, and more. For these reasons, our Livin3 Top Pick and Runner Up option are both Olympic weight sets.

Livin3’s Top Pick

Texas Star Lumberjack Olympic Barbell Weight Set

XMark Lumberjack 7' Olympic Bar, Chrome with Black Manganese Phosphate...
136 Reviews
XMark Lumberjack 7' Olympic Bar, Chrome with Black Manganese Phosphate...
  • Includes the LUMBERJACK 7' Olympic Bar and a 155 lb. set of TEXAS STAR rubber coated Olympic plate weights:...
  • The LUMBERJACK 7' Olympic bar is built for performance. The 28mm black manganese phosphate shaft of the...
  • Upgraded with brass bushings, the LUMBERJACK Olympic bar provides the perfect spin and is built to last. The...
Why We Love It:

The Texas Star Lumberjack Olympic barbell weight set ranks as Livin3’s Top Pick due to its durability, toughness and well-built design. XMark Fitness is a well-known fitness equipment company that sells both new and gently used equipment.

The Research:

According to research that dates back to 1972, using Olympic weight sets creates a beneficial and intense exercise. With complex movements that promote maximum strength, Olympic weight exercises are known to condition substantial power into the individual. Researchers examined the long-term statistics of Olympic weight lifting to find that such exercises can make huge gains in males (but even more so in females).

Details:
  • Product options range from purchasing the Olympic barbell only to an entire 365-lb set
  • Sections of abrasive and notched barbell (knurling) for the best grip during use
  • Smooth sections of the barbell for easy rotation during classic Olympic weight training exercises
  • Ergonomic weight plates for easy handling and gripping (great for other exercises as well)
Things to Consider:

Like many weight sets, remember there are several ancillary items that are not typically included with purchase. Specifically for this Olympic barbell weight set, you will also need to consider purchasing collars, mats and/or a power rack or squat rack for this set. These somewhat necessary accessories can be substantial secondary costs to using this weight set.

Customer Reviews:

If you are unable to fork over the huge price tag for a complete Lumberjack set, consider doing what others have done to reap a cost savings. According to some customers, they simply purchased the Lumberjack barbell to replace their current barbell on a completely different Olympic weight set. Per customer reviews, they appreciate the higher quality barbell compared to others on the market.

Some notable negative feedback on this set is that it frequently presents upon delivery with a greasy, oily mess of a finish. While this is to protect the product, many customers were disgusted by the muck on their new fitness equipment. If you still want to purchase this product, grab some rags and equipment cleaner!

Who Should Purchase This Product:

For those who are new to weight lifting, this Olympic weight barbell set may not be the best option for you, especially the higher-weight versions of this product. Also, you may hesitate at the price tag of even the lowest-priced version and wonder if this type of equipment will be worth the investment in the long run. If you are an intermediate or advanced weight lifter ready to start doing max outs at home, the Texas Star Lumberjack set can make you Texas tough! Regardless of your current fitness level, the durable and well-crafted design of this weight set is something to appreciate.

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Livin3’s Runner Up

USA Sports 300-lb Olympic Weight Set

USA Sports Olympic Black Weight Set Black Bar - 300 Pounds
49 Reviews
USA Sports Olympic Black Weight Set Black Bar - 300 Pounds
  • Weight set includes 2 x 45 lb plates, 2 x 35 lb plates, 2 x 25 lb plates, 2 x 10 lb plates, 4 x 5 lb plates, 2...
  • Phone Number Required: At the time of purchase, make sure that an accurate phone number is provided.
  • This is a large/heavy item and shipped through a freight carrier who will call to arrange a delivery.
Why We Love It:

We love this 300-lb Olympic weight set by USA Sports because it gives you all the weight without any of the fluff. This set has a simple, sleek design which is reflected in the moderate price. With this set, you don’t pay for fancy finishes or stylish weight plates! You just pay to start making gains.

Details:
  • Plate weights range from 2.5 lbs to 45 lbs per plate
  • Available in a black or gray finish
  • Knurled handle for a good grip during use
  • Satin enamel finish (weight plates are not rubberized)
Things to Consider:

While collars are included in the package, remember that you will need to properly store this equipment in your home gym. Also, unlike with the Livin3’s Top Pick product, the Runner Up does not have ergonomic weight plates, which may limit the number of exercises you can do with the weight plates alone. If you like to do weight plate exercises like side bends or free-weight plate squats, you may not be able to do all free weight exercises desired.

Customer Reviews:

Many customers like the no-frills structure and design of this product. According to the reviews, the finish looks great and is durable for intense workouts. While the set does not come with rubberized weight plates, customers say that the finish lasts like new.

Per some customers, the solid weight plates that come with the product were troublesome to handle and maneuver since they lacked handles. If you anticipate that you will need to frequently move the plates around, consider purchasing more user-friendly weight plates.

Who Should Purchase This Product:

If you don’t want to pay for specialized features (and you just want to start lifting), choose the USA Sports Olympic weight set. This product is for serious weight lifters who like an industrial and basic design. It is also moderately priced for a heavy weight set and should be considered if price is a deciding factor in your purchase. Furthermore,it’s one of the best choices in terms of bang for your buck, durability, and progressive weight training.

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Dumbbell Weight Sets

While barbell weight sets are good for leg workouts and heavy upper body lifting, dumbbell weight sets offer more mobility. They’re also easier for beginner athletes to master, since their lighter weight helps correct coordination issues, strength imbalances, and weak endurance. These smaller weights essentially act as a barbell for each hand, and come in many different sizes depending on the amount of weight you want to use. As long as you up the amount of reps you do for each set, they are effective for many of the same exercises as barbells—including squats, cleans, deadlifts, and more.

Since dumbbells don’t require a seven-foot bar or dozens of heavy plates, they’re easy to transport and store. Despite their advantages, they do not allow you to engage in the complex and effective exercises that are associated with barbell work. Regardless, dumbbell weight sets can be a good compromise in pricing and space.

Livin3’s Honorable Mention

Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells

Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells (Pair)
4,449 Reviews
Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells (Pair)
  • Each dumbbell adjusts from 5 to 52.5 pounds; adjusts in 2.5-pound increments up to the first 25 pounds
  • Lets you rapidly switch from one exercise to the next
  • Combines 15 sets of weights into one, using a unique dial system
Why We Love It:

These Bowflex SelectTech 552 adjustable dumbbells offer the best of both a single pair of dumbbells and a whole weight set at your fingertips. By using the knobs on the sides of each dumbbell to attach additional weight or remove it, you can have the versatility of an entire home weight lifting set without taking up much space.

Details:
  • Customizable weight options from 5 lbs to 52.5 lbs per hand
  • One pair is equivalent to 15 sets of weights
  • Compact design (no need for a weight rack)
  • Winner of Men’s Health Editor’s Choice
Things to Consider:

As with any adjustable dumbbell set, you will not be able to engage in certain exercises as you would on a barbell weight set. That being said, however, there are many exercises you can do with an adjustable dumbbell set such as this one. Another thing to consider is that this dumbbell set only provides weight up to 52.5 lbs per hand. If you are trying to do exercises with more resistance, it is important that you find a higher weight set or use a barbell set.

Customer Reviews:

Many customers rave about this product for several reasons. Firstly, even people in a small city apartment can utilize these adjustable dumbbells to get a full workout at home. Also, some customers say that purchasing this one pair is far cheaper than having to purchase separate dumbbells that are not adjustable.

Per negative customer reviews for this product, the mechanism in which to adjust the weight on the dumbbells is a plastic piece that is easily breakable. Other customers complain that the individual weight plates do not always lock correctly into place, making them a hazard during use.

Who Should Purchase This Product:

These adjustable dumbbells are a great alternative to a barbell weight set if you’re looking to save space while still progressing in your home workouts. Overall, this would be a great choice for beginners since the set is compact and can accommodate both low to mid-weight exercises.

Buy Now at Amazon

 

 

Other Weight Sets to Consider

XMark Dumbbell Rack (Great for Working Out with a Buddy)

Sale
XMark's Two Tier Heavy Duty Steel Dumbbell Rack with Angled Shelves...
170 Reviews
XMark's Two Tier Heavy Duty Steel Dumbbell Rack with Angled Shelves...
  • A HOME GYM STAPLE: Forget the gimmicks of sissy infomercials and start training with intensity! This package...
  • CONTENTS: The XMark two tier dumbbell rack with titled shelves to ensure easy loading and unloading of...
  • VERSATILITY: The wide range of exercises you can do with dumbbells will ensure a full body workout. The XMark...
Why We Love It:

The old school XMark dumbbell rack is just like one you would see at a commercial gym. Depending on which package you purchase, you can get nearly every weight increment that you would need to get in a great workout. Also, since this set has several pairs of weights, you can work out with a friend, your spouse, or the entire family all at once.

Details:
  • Customizable based on how much weight is desired, how many pairs are desired and how many shelves will fit into your home
  • Knurled dumbbells for a good grip during use
  • Hexagonal dumbbell caps for stability (great for dumbbell pushups)
  • Number of dumbbell sets included ranges from 6 pairs to 10 pairs of weights
Things to Consider:

As you may imagine, this is a huge piece of equipment! While it can fit flush against the wall, you will need to set aside some space in your home fitness area. Also, this entire set and weight rack is not easily moveable, so make sure you know exactly where you want it when it arrives.

Customer Reviews:

If you’re looking for a product that can last for the long term (and maybe even be used as a hand-me-down to your kids), rest assured that many customers keep this weight rack and set for many years without issue. Lots of people enjoy the old school look and feel of this set.

In regards to the hefty price of this set, some customers complain that only getting 6 pairs of dumbbells is not worth the price. Also, having only 6 to 10 dumbbell pairs increases the interval weight between each set, making it quite the jump if you’re trying to get to the next weight set.

Who Should Purchase This Product:

While this large weight set may not fit in everyone’s home fitness space, consider making room for this product if you plan on having multiple people exercising at the same time. Whether you have a large family of active people or you and your partner like to exercise together, this is the hardcore set to have at home.

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BalanceForm Dumbell Set (Great for Endurance Exercise)

Sale
BalanceFrom BF-D358 Dumbbell Set with Stand, 32 lb
1,046 Reviews
BalanceFrom BF-D358 Dumbbell Set with Stand, 32 lb
  • 3 pairs of dumbbells in 3-pound, 5-pound, and 8-pound sizes. Ideal for resistance and other trainings
  • The durable, neoprene material coated cast iron is great for indoor and outdoor workouts
  • Neoprene coating on weights allow for a secure grip. The Hex shape of the dumbbells prevents them from rolling
Why We Love It:

Let’s face it. Not everyone is interested in maxing out and making major muscle gains. If you are more interested in low weight, high repetition training, the BalanceForm dumbbell set is a great (and perhaps best) option for you.

Details:
  • Comes in fun neon and pastel colors for a pop of color in your home fitness space
  • Includes 3 pairs of weights at 3 lbs, 5 lbs and 8 lbs per hand
  • Dumbbells are coated in durable neoprene coating for protection of the cast iron structure
  • Space-saving vertical weight stand available with purchase
Things to Consider:

If you’re looking for more weight than 8 lbs per hand, this is definitely not the set for you! While this product is not great for strength training and muscle building, it can provide adequate resistance for lower weight workouts. Depending on the person, this may be all the weight that is needed to see progress.

Customer Reviews:

Per positive customer reviews, the neoprene coating is great for long term hand comfort during a variety of prolonged exercises. Even when your hands get sweaty, customers claim that the dumbbells maintain a good grip.

Some customers state that the dumbbells have actually broken completely in half during use. Aside from the issues with the dumbbells themselves, one customer stated that the stand that came with the dumbbells was flimsy and did not withstand the weight of the dumbbell set.

Who Should Purchase This Product:

This set would pair well with low weight, high repetition endurance exercises. If you want to up the intensity of a cardio workout, use these small weights to get your heart pumping even more. You could also use these during Pilates, step and cycling workouts for added resistance and calorie burn for weight loss.

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Deciding on a Quality Home Weight Set: A Checklist

Now that you’ve got an idea of what a weight lifting set is and what options are available to you, it’s time to start thinking about which weight set fits your needs. This checklist will help you review the most important factors to consider before you spend your hard-earned cash.

#1: Budget 

Buying the wrong set of weights can put a hole through your wallet, so consider how much you’re willing to spend ahead of time. Dumbbell weight sets range anywhere from $200-$400, while barbells generally sit around $400-$500.

#2: Fitness Goals 

Are you a beginner who’s just starting out, or a seasoned weight-lifter who’s looking for the ultimate challenge? Remember, dumbbells are good for beginners, while barbell weight sets offer more versatility for a powerful workout—but both can be used for similar exercises.

#3: Size 

When you’re looking for a home weight set, it’s important to consider the size of the product. While barbell plates can be stored easily, clean-up can take a while and the long bar isn’t retractable. With the right storage rack, dumbbell weight sets can take up less room, but they might come at the sacrifice of a more versatile workout.

#4: Max Capacity 

It’s probably safe to assume you want to bulk up with your weight training, which means you’ll start needing heavier weights as your muscles grow. Be sure the barbell weight set you’re buying has the capacity to hold the amount of weight you want to lift, or that you’re buying the right-sized dumbbells for your needs.

#5: Safety

Always be sure that the products you buy are safe and reviewed by other lifters. If you have children or need some extra padding to protect your floors, look for rubber-coated weights.

Exercises to Do Using a Weight Lifting Set

The possibilities for exercising with any weight set are truly endless, which makes resistance training a fun and challenging addition to your workout routine. Here are a few exercises you can do with both barbells and dumbbells:

Squat: 

This exercise isn’t just for squat racks. Get ready to feel the burn in your thighs, abs, and shoulders while doing it. To perform this move, simply place the barbell across the back of your shoulders, behind your neck. If you’re using dumbbells, raise the weights until your elbows are parallel with your shoulders. As if you are sitting down in a chair, bend at the hips until your knees are parallel with the ground. Then, straighten until you are standing again. Never round your back during weight training exercises to avoid serious injury.

Lunge: 

Like the squat, the lunge requires some leg and core power. Place one foot in front of the other, leaving a few feet between them. Rest the weight(s) in the same position as described for the squat. Now, bend your rear knee toward the floor as far as you can go. Keep your front knee behind your toe as you raise back up.

Deadlift: 

This exercise is great for your legs, core, and upper body. Start with your dumbbells or barbell on the floor. Bend at the knees, keeping your knees behind your toes, and take hold of the weight(s). Again, remember to never round your back during weight lifting. Slowly straighten, pulling the weight(s) up to your mid-thigh before carefully returning it (them) to the ground.

The Bottom Line on Purchasing and Using a Home Weight Set

Buying a weight set is a long-term investment, one you’ll use for years. By combining free weights with your resistance training, you’ll be building muscle, burning fat, and working toward a better you in no time. (If you’re looking to gain more muscle with the help of the right supplements, then check out our post here.)

Spend wisely and keep yourself safe by evaluating your goals and needs before you make your purchase. Once you’ve got your perfect weight set, you’ll be amazed at how much of a difference it makes. Get ready for those washboard abs, ripped arms, and toned thighs.

Do you already have a home weight set you love? Know of a different set not included in this list? Let us know in the comments below.