Most people are apprehensive when it comes to using weights for the first time, especially as the word ‘weightlifting’ conjures up images of hugely muscular men lifting five times their body size. However, they could not be less intimidating! Using small weights is a great way to break into the extremely beneficial world of lifting, as it helps to tone your arms and make them firmer. It also helps to improve balance, which is a key element of improving your inner core overall. Any exercise in general also works to release endorphins, making you feel good within yourself.
So, weights can be bought from virtually anywhere- from JD Sports, to Ebay, to Amazon. It is always best to start off small, as diving straight into larger ones may lead to discomfort or even injury. John Lewis offers a set of five weights, ranging from 3KG to 8KG, for only £3.00, which would mean that a beginner could start off small and work their way up to lifting something heavier. Of course, you can always come into our gym and use a free day pass, and workout using our weights!
To start off, the easiest way to lift would probably be lying or sitting down. While most people seem to lift their weights away from them horizontally, while only utilising the bicep, the most beneficial way to lift is actually above your head. This will mean that your muscles are working even harder, and will also work to improve your posture, as you will be forcing your back to be totally straight. If you have opted to lie on your back, you could take full advantage of the position and lift and stretch your legs at the same time, in order to give the whole of your body a workout. If you have decided to stand, a challenging yet worthwhile technique is to hold out your arms to your sides, like a scarecrow, and try and hold this position for as long as possible. This will help you to build stamina within your core, as well as your arm muscles. Once you have got used to this, if you feel that you can, begin to make small circular motions with your arms, still holding the weights out to your side. Make the circles bigger and bigger as you begin to feel comfortable in this stance.
Overall, weights may seem daunting at first, but can actually lead to challenging yourself and pushing your body to achieve things you were not aware that it could. Small weights are a cheap, fun and easy way of easing yourself into regular exercise, especially as they can be used pretty much anywhere.
- Bench press with hand weights: lying on your back or a workout bench, with your feet planted firmly on the floor, lift your small dumbbells above your head at chest level. Your palms should be facing the lower end of your body. Repeat this exercise as many times as you feel comfortable. Please view our video of one of our trainers showing you how to correctly do this workout:
- The lying fly exercise: similar to the previous exercise, you will need to lie on your back or a workout bench. Holding your arms out to the side this time, lift the weights up to the ceiling and then back down again.
- The arm pullover: this can be done on a stool or the end of a workout bench, with your feet planted firmly on the ground. Lie so your head is dangling off the edge of your surface slightly, and lift your weights up and over your head, so that you end up in the pike position.
- The bent over row: with one leg and arm on the seat, place the opposite leg firmly on the floor and let your other arm rest with the weight, slowly bring the weight up past your knees and then back down to the starting position, as though you are doing a vertical row:
- The deadlift: for this exercise, holding your weights tightly, simply bend over repeatedly, trying to get your weights as close to the floor as is comfortable in this position.
- The shoulder exercise: this one is easy: all you do is stand up straight, and lift your dumbbells above your head, feeling a stretch in your shoulders. Your palms should be facing inward.
- The seated shoulder press: very similar to the previous shoulder exercise: while sitting in a chair, lift your dumbbells above your head with your palms facing away from you. Here’s how to do it using a machine, just replicate using the actions with the free weights.
- The lateral raise: again, sitting on a chair, lift your weights up with your arms outstretched to the side, occasionally holding them out to the side to attempt to build up stamina.
- The classic bicep curl: we all know this one! Sitting down or standing up (whichever is more comfortable) curl your dumbbells towards you and away from you repeatedly, in order to build more arm muscle.
- Tricep Extension: Standing up, this one will help build your triceps muscle in all the right places, and will also help to tone. Beginning with the dumbbell behind your head, raise upwards, repeatedly raise them towards your head in a curling motion. Use your other hand to support your elbow.
Most of these exercises can be done together, or in an order of your choosing, but always make sure that they are practised in a safe way and in a safe environment. Try to push yourself while also being aware of your limits, as trying to achieve something such as muscle tone takes time and cannot be rushed.
Since you’re super motivated to workout now, we’re only going to hold our £19.99pm – No Joining Fee offer for you until 16/07/17! You can JOIN ONLINE TODAY! Still not sure? Download a FREE DAY PASS: https://www.listershealth.co.uk/free-one-day-pass