When I start working with Clients and discuss their past fitness experiences, many of them are quite apprehensive of the free-weights section in a typical gym. What exercises are best, what weight to pick, am I performing the exercise correctly, are these the right muscles to work? But that’s what your PT is there for – to help you grow in confidence just as much as grow your muscles ;) Below are my fave exercises using the free-weights – enjoy!!
1. Goblet squat (kettle bell)
A very simple exercise but if performed correctly is extremely effective for your quads. The move involves grasping the kettle bell close to your chest and squatting straight down, as opposed to really hinging your hips back like you would do for a back squat. Its really important to keep your chest upright and your abs tight to ensure you don’t fall forward due to the weight. Which weight to choose will be up to your quad strength but my suggestion would be to start with a low weight and try a few squats to see how you feel before increasing the weight. Try 3 x sets of 10 reps and you should be feeling a good quad burn by the end of each set, then you know you have the correct weight.
2. Single arm bent over row (dumbbell)
This is a great exercisefor your upper back and biceps and a good one to do after working your chest and triceps, to balance out your muscles. Place one hand and knee on a bench, flatten your back and bend over. Choose a dumbbell that feels fairly heavy but not impossible to lift with one arm, and with the arm that is not on the bench, keep your elbow close to your body when lifting the weight up and controlling it down. Ensure you keep your core engaged so you are not twisting your shoulders you move the weight up and down.
3. Lateral raises (low weighted dumbbell)
This is a corker for really giving your arms a good burn and lovely definition. You can do this exercise standing or sitting. To make this as efficient as possible, start with your arms out to the side of you, holding the light dumbbells in your hands. Start with your arms at a 45 degree angle from your body and raise your arms up to 90 degrees. Repeat this movement 15 times for 3 sets and you will certainly feel your muscles working.
4. Turkish get-up (low weighted kettle bell or dumbbell)
This is not really an exercise for the beginner, but it works all of the muscles groups in one go and gets your heart pumping as well. Not that easy to explain in writing but basically you start on your back on the floor and hold the weight in one hand above your head. Keep the weight high and sit up, swing your leg under your body to arrive on one knee. Stand up continuing to keep the weight up high, then reverse the movements to arrive back on the floor but still keeping the weight above you. Take your time with this exercise – try 10 on each side to really work those muscles.
5. Weighted sit ups (dumbbell or weight plate)
Another very simple move but a fab one to warm up your abs before commencing a full core session. Start sitting up and hold the weight in your hands. The nearer you hold it to your chest, the harder the sit up becomes. This is also a good way to teach sit up confidence – if you hold the weight away from you when you sit up, this aids you to get up. Keep each movement slow and steady – the slower and more controlled you are with this exercise, the more your abs have to work.