When it comes to free-weight exercises, we do not mean a bunch of spare barbells, but special training sessions using equipment that everyone is familiar with: dumbbells, kettlebells, medballs, barbells and sand pears.
And if you have the ability to use all of this, maybe it’s time to learn how to do it right. Especially since planning a workout can seem like a daunting task. How many reps or sets are best? How heavy should the weight be? What is a triceps build-up and how to fit it into your training plan?
Don’t worry, future free-weight exercise enthusiasts. We talked to experts who compiled the exercises and answered the most important questions. Ready?” Then we’ll continue.
What are the benefits of strength training?
Strength training is a great way to:
Make the muscles more prominent
Increase the bone density
Strengthen hormonal health
Lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels in the blood
Stabilize blood sugar levels
What is the difference between weight training and free weight exercises?
Weight training exercises involve uniform movements in the same plane. Dumbbells, kettlebells and all that relates to free weight can be used in different exercises, to work out a variety of muscles.
However, the choice most often comes down to what you have at home. And this is one of the advantages of free-weight exercises: the equipment is compact and does not take up much space, whether it is dumbbells, kettlebells or barbells. All this can be stored at home without any problems.
How to warm up before training with a free weight?
Proper warm-up is the key to a successful workout, as it avoids injury and prepares your muscles for stress. Proper training, by the way – is not the case when you spend 5 minutes in a kneeling lunge scrolling through missed posts on social networks on your smartphone.
Stretching is best done after a workout, as it can potentially destabilize cold muscles before a workout.
A good warm-up is to do the exercises that you are going to do in strength training, but with minimal or no weight at all.
Squat with a barbell
For example, let’s say you’re going to squat with a barbell during a workout. In this case, during the warm-up, work out squats without weight.
How heavy should the free weight be?
How heavy the weight should be depends entirely on how strong you are, as well as your training history, the number of reps you plan, and the purpose of the exercise.
However, to choose the right weight for your workout, ask yourself the following questions:
Will I get enough load with this weight?
Will I be able to complete the entire workout according to the planned exercise list?
Will I be able to do all the reps correctly with this weight?
Will I be able to complete all the exercises with this weight?
Do I feel like training is a challenge for me?
The ability to understand how and how much you can raise is another key to success.
“As soon as the exercise becomes easy, change it,” says renowned trainer Dalton Wong (PT Dalton Wong). – You can increase the weight, do more repetitions, increase the pace, or otherwise perform the exercise. Your body likes the path of least resistance, so once it gets used to the load, it’s time to change the training conditions.”
10 best free weight exercises
Well-known trainer Sarah Lindsay (PT Sarah Lindsay), offers a set of exercises with free weight that will help you build a strong body.
1. One-handed traction
What muscles: back, biceps
How to do: 2 sets of 8-10 reps for the right hand. Then a 90-second rest and the same exercise for the left hand
(A) Place your left knee on the power bench and rest your left hand on it. The right leg is firmly on the floor and slightly bent at the knee, and the dumbbell in the right hand hangs down.
(B) Keep your back straight and your elbow up.
2. Dumbbell press from the chest
What muscles: chest, triceps
How to do: 3 sets of 13-15 reps
Dumbbell press from the chest
A) Lie back on the bench, hold the dumbbells, stretching your arms directly over your chest. Slowly bend your arms at the elbows, lowering the dumbbells in a straight line on either side of your chest.
B) Without pausing, start raising your hands up.
3. Split squat
What muscles: quadriceps, glutes, intra-femoral muscles (adductors)
How to do: 3 sets of 10-12 reps on each leg. Start with a weaker leg
A) The feet and thighs are pointed forward, start with one foot on a raised platform and the other one a step behind.
B) While holding the dumbbells, slowly lunge forward so that the knee is in line with the toe. Without stopping at the bottom point, return to the starting position. Now repeat the same for the other leg.
4. Shoulder bench press
What muscles: Shoulders
How to do: 3 sets of 13-15 reps. If you only get to 11, use a lighter weight. If you can do 15 reps, use a heavier weight.
Shoulder bench press
A) Sit on a bench, keep your back straight. Lift the dumbbells directly over your head. Slowly bend your elbows and lower the dumbbells until they are in line with your shoulders.
B) Without stopping, raise your hands with dumbbells to the starting position.
5. Hip traction
What muscles: Glutes
How to do: 3 sets of 15-20 reps. Use a 20 kg barbell (weights with a weight of 5 kg on each side).)
A) Sit on the floor with your back against the power bench. Roll the barbell onto the front of your thighs. Knees bent, shoulders on the bench. Lift your hips off the floor until your back is parallel to the floor.
B) Slowly lower your hips down, then rise again.
What muscles: back, hamstrings, glutes
How to do: 3 sets of 10-12 reps
A) Place the Olympic barbell (without weights) on the floor. In the sitting position, grasp the neck with your hands. The legs are shoulder-width apart, the grip of the arms is slightly wider than the position of the legs. Keep your lower body low, and keep your chest and back straight.
(B) When lifting, use only your legs, pull your shoulders back, and lower your arms down. Hold the bar close to your body and lower it to the floor, keeping your back straight.
Deadlift can be performed with kettlebells or dumbbells.
7. Step up
What muscles: legs, buttocks
How to do: 3 sets of 10-12 reps on each leg
A) Pick up the dumbbells. Stand up straight, take a step with one foot on the dais, and then climb all the way up. Start with a weaker leg.
(B) Without stopping at the top, return to the starting position. Repeat the movement again, starting with the same leg. After you have completed 10-12 reps, change your leg.
8. Extending the arms in a sitting position
What muscles: biceps
How to do: 3 sets of 10 repetitions
Extension of the arms in the sitting position
A) Sit up straight with your arms at your sides. Hold the dumbbells so that your palms are facing forward. Bend your arms at the elbows, your shoulders should remain still until the dumbbells almost reach them.
(B) Slowly (3-4 seconds) lower the dumbbells back to the starting position. Avoid fixing the elbow in the lower part.
9. Working out the triceps in the prone position
What muscles: Triceps
How to do: 3 sets of 10 repetitions
Working out the triceps in the prone position
A) Lie on your back with dumbbells in your hands. Hold the dumbbells at arm’s length in front of you, palms facing you. Keeping your shoulders still, slowly bend your arms at the elbows, lowering the dumbbells down until they are close to your ears.
B) Without stopping at the bottom point, straighten your arms to the starting position. Repeat the movement.
10. Leaning while sitting on the ball
What muscles: abdominal and back muscles
How to do: 3 sets of 15-20 reps
Bends while sitting on the ball
A) Sitting on a Swiss ball, press 1 dumbbell to your chest. Slowly bend back until your back is parallel to the floor.
(B) Bend to a sitting position, exhaling and squeezing your abs until you reach the top.