Are you new to the world of lifting free weights? If so, it can be very intimidating and confusing. There are dozens of ways that you can use free weights to shape your body and improve your fitness level, but where do you begin? Here are 7 tips for beginner free weight lifters that can help get you off on the right foot.
Free weights refer to a variety of simple hand-held weights. They usually consist of a dumbbell, barbell, or weighted plate that you can use to do weight training.
Dumbbells are one of the most common types of free weights. A dumbbell is a short bar with weights on each end. Barbells are similar to dumbbells, but they can be longer and have hand grips for weightlifting exercises.
Plates are another popular type of free weight. They’re simply small, circular weights shaped like plates that usually fit inside a barbell or around the rim of a dumbbell handle.
What Exercises Can You Do With Free Weights?
Free weights can be used in a variety of exercises and workouts. The most common types include:
Uses the biceps and forearm to lift and lower the weight. This exercise is commonly done without any equipment, using your own body weight as resistance.
Uses the triceps and forearm to lift and lower the weight while keeping your elbow close to your body. If you’ve ever seen someone do push-ups using his or her feet, this is similar to that movement (but without your feet touching the ground).
Dumbbell Chest Press
This exercise is performed with two dumbbells and it targets the chest muscles. It’s a great exercise to get strong pecs and increase your overall upper body strength. This move also helps to strengthen the shoulders and arms, while toning your abs.
Seated Shoulder Press
This exercise needs the help of a weight bench. Lie on your back and hold one dumbbell in each hand. Bend your elbows and slowly bring the dumbbells to either side of your chest (imitating a barbell). Push the arms back up and repeat.
Single Arm Row
The single arm row is a great exercise for beginners. It’s easy to learn and simple to perform. Lean on the weight bench with one knee. Hold a dumbbell in your right hand with an underhand grip (palm facing away from your body). Keep knees slightly bent as you raise the dumbbell to hip level and return to the starting position.
Parts of the Upper Body improved by Free Weights
Triceps — Triceps are located on the back of your upper arm. Triceps push-ups, dips and extensions focus on extending the arm behind your body.
Chest — Chest exercises work your pectoralis major muscles located on the chest. Push-ups, bench presses, flyes and dumbbell flyes are all common chest exercises. The chest muscles help you lift, push and pull objects.
Shoulders — Dumbbell side laterals are effective exercises that work the lateral head of your deltoids muscle located on each shoulder. The lateral head helps rotate and raise the arms out to the sides of your body.
Biceps — Biceps curls build strength in your biceps muscles located in front of your upper arms. Biceps curls also help you bend at the elbow joint and flex your forearm muscles upward toward your shoulder joint.
Tips for Using Free Weights Properly
Free weights are any type of weight that can be lifted without a machine. They include barbells, dumbbells, sandbags and kettlebells. Free weights are better than machines because they engage more muscle groups, and they’re also much cheaper than machines because you don’t have to pay for them (beyond the cost of the equipment itself, but that’s another story).
However, free weights require more skill than machines. Free weights are an important part of a healthy workout regime. They provide variety and can help you tone and strengthen your muscles in ways that machines cannot. Yet, many people stay away from free weights because they don’t know how to use them properly. Here are a few tips to get the best results:
1. Use the Right Weight
This one is obvious but essential. Start with a weight that allows you to complete about eight repetitions, and increase the weight when you can do all 10 repetitions easily. When in doubt, start lighter rather than heavier.
2. Proper Form Is Crucial
You need to choose exercises that work not just your muscles but also your joints and connective tissues. You need to supplement free-weight movements with stretches and other activities that support your connective tissues. The right form reduces injury risk while providing a greater stimulus for muscle growth than poor form does.
Free weight exercises can be more difficult than their machine-based counterparts. Because of this, you might need to start with lighter weights until your muscles become accustomed to the exercise. Start with one or two pounds and work your way up as you get stronger.
4.Start with light weights
When using free weights for the first time, it’s best to begin with light weights. This gives your muscles time to get used to the new exercises. Start with one or two pound dumbbells and work your way up from there.
5. Alternate between arms and legs
If you want to avoid imbalances — when one side of your body is stronger than the other — alternate between working your arms and working your legs with each set of free weights. This will ensure that both sides of your body are getting a strenuous workout.
Free weights allow you to perform so many different exercises that target specific muscle groups, so don’t feel like you have to do the same workout routine over and over again! Mix things up, try new movements and find what keeps you motivated.
7.Go easy on the knees, back, and wrists
One big problem with using free weights is that they can put a lot of strain on your knees. A lot of people have knee problems, particularly as they get older, and using free weights can make it worse. To prevent this from happening, try to keep your knees as straight as possible when lifting weights. This will reduce the stress on them and will help you avoid injury.
Keep these tips in mind to avoid common mistakes that first-time weightlifters make, and you’ll be well on your way to getting the best workout possible. The most important takeaway from this article is that for optimal results, you should always use a spotter when using free weights. Although it’s not always possible, having someone there to assist if you need it is better than taking chances with your safety while lifting heavy weights. Now get out there and have fun!