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As reported on TODAY Monday, a recent study lead by researchers at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, showed that men and women who regularly incorporated resistance exercise into their routines were less likely to be overweight than those who didn't.
"It's so important to do weight strength training because we need to add muscles to our bodies," TODAY fitness expert Stephanie Mansour said on the show. "Adding muscle mass helps us to burn calories, speed up the metabolism, it helps with joint flexibility [and] it helps to energize our bodies."
With a pair of weights, you can do an unlimited variety of workouts, exercising everything from your legs, butt and thighs, to your arms and abs. Since space is often an issue for at-home workouts (large workout machines don’t always fit!), free weights are a great option.
If you're a beginner, Mansour recommended starting with two- to three-pound dumbbells. But you can choose lighter or heavier weights depending on your fitness level. We’ve combed through hundreds of customer reviews and scoured market trends to find the best options currently available. Grab a set, then get started on your strength-training routine with this one-month plan for beginners.
The best weight sets for beginners
A good option for beginners, this tiered weight set comes with three pairs in either three, five or eight pounds. The neoprene coating gives the weights a sturdier grip, making this a good option for those who aren’t used to using weights during their workouts.
With over 17,000 five-star ratings on Amazon, this well-loved option has been known to sell out — and we can understand why. This option is budget-friendly and utilizes hexagon-shaped, rubber-encased ends to ensure the weight doesn’t roll during rest. One thing to note: these weights are sold individually, so you’ll need to purchase two.
For those living in a confined space, an adjustable weight set is your best bet. Skip buying multiple dumbbells and simply use this option to lift various weights in five-pound increments from five to 25 pounds. When you’re done, simply store the weight in the tray and set it aside.
Kickstart your fitness journey with this affordable choice. The no-slip vinyl cover feels comfortable and sturdy in your hands during your workouts. The best part? The dumbbells are available in every weight increment from one pound to 20 pounds, making them perfect for every fitness level.
"Shark Tank" fans may already be familiar with Bala Bangles, but the brand also makes other fitness gear! This three-pound weight set, for example, is made to incorporate strength training into almost any home workout. They also have an ergonomic design for easier usability.
The best weight sets for heavy lifters
For professional-level dumbbells, try this impressive set. It includes pairs of dumbbells ranging from five to 25 pounds and comes with an upright standing rack to keep your home gym looking organized.
Made of 100% cast-iron, this option isn’t for the faint of heart. The dumbbells start at 40 pounds and go all the way up to 200 pounds, making them the perfect option for heavy lifters looking to do some serious workouts in the comfort of their home.
This all-in-one dumbbell set doubles as a barbell for a more versatile workout. Simply use the included connecting bar to attach the adjustable dumbbells together to create a barbell. The connector bar is encased in foam to ensure extra comfort during your workout.
These weights are certainly the most expensive option on this list, but for good reason. You can connect these to the BowFlex SelectTech app via Bluetooth to keep a record of all your reps. Plus, each dumbbell adjusts from 10 to 90 pounds, making them great for a range of different workouts.
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