Gloves, Mats, Benches, Racks and Locks.
I like to keep my approach to fitness simple and my outlook on fitness equipment even simpler. Your body is the most effective and efficient exercise equipment you can find. After that the simple equipment like dumbbells, speed jump ropes and kettlebells work wonders.
You get more out of how you use your exercise tools and how often than the type of equipment you have and the accessories. Having said that, there are times that would be nice to have a few of those accessories handy.
Chalk – You may not think of chalk of an accessory until you try it. It keeps your hands dry, improves your grip and protects your hands. It is messy though. I have used liquid chalk and really didn’t like the way it stuck to everything and interfered with my lift.
Gloves – I have held dumbbells in freezing temperatures to build character, I guess. And I have lifted heavy dumbbells that blistered my palm. Blisters and calluses are part of training. It may be an unnecessary part of the training. It would have been more effective for me to have a pair of weight lifting gloves so that I don’t freeze my hands off and could focus better on getting a pump.
I like genuine soft leather with durable stitching that lasts a long time. A little patting for comfort and a texture to improve my grip helps too. Remember that working out with dumbbells is to build muscles and get fit. It is not a contest of building calluses.
Floor Mat – This is to protect your floors especially if they are made of tiles or wood. Carpeting isn’t so bad but you can still damage the floor if your are not careful. Weight lifting mats are not Persian carpets or yoga mats. They are heavy duty and can hold up under the free weight impacts. A six foot mat is enough in most cases.
Bench – There are many motions like a dumbbell fly that require a bench. There are other motions that could use a bench to make the exercise more efficient. Single handed row is an example. A heavy duty workout bench with adjustable back could really help you to do flat work, inclined work and declined work. Just make sure to choose a bench that fits you. You don’t want a bench that is too high to prevent your feet to reach the ground as you lie back.