The weights section is an intimidating place when you don’t know what you’re doing. All those bros, sweating and grunting. All that heavy metal. So much competition for equipment. But also, so many amazing gains to get.
Lifting weights comes with a long list of benefits: It strengthens not just your muscles, but also your bones, helping to stave off osteoporosis later in life. It can reshape your body – want to turn a flat ass into a firm, curvy peach? Weights can make it happen.
Plus, by increasing your muscle mass, it increases your metabolism, so you burn more fat. Sold yet?
Eight beginners’ weights moves
These moves, from Joburg-based personal trainer and WH Next Fitness Star Inge Bezuidenhout, are simple to do and will work your whole body. What’s more, the only equipment you’ll need is a pair of dumbbells.
So once you have them, you can find your spot and stay there – no need to arm-wrestle anyone for that elusive free bench.
If you’re worried about looking silly and attracting attention, practise your form in front of the mirror at home using identical cans or water bottles instead of dumbbells.
1. Arm curls
Start standing, shoulders back, holding dumbbells with palms facing forward. Keeping your elbows next to your body (don’t rest them on your hips!) curl the weights up to shoulder height. Be sure to extend your arms slowly all the way down and curl slowly up. Control the movement – don’t use momentum to lift the weight up – rather go lighter and use correct form.
2. Romanian deadlift
Stand with feet about hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, dumbbells in your hands, arms in front of your body and palms facing your thighs. Keep your back straight by pushing your bum out (this will stretch your hamstrings). With your weight in your heels, lower the weights down as far as you can while maintaining good form, keeping the weights close to your body. Now squeeze your bum and push through your legs to return to start.
3. Side raises
Begin, standing, with feet shoulder-width apart, tummy tight, shoulders back and dumbbells at your sides. Lift the dumbbells out sideways to shoulder height, maintaining a slight bend in your elbows. Lower back to start. Control the movement – don’t swing the weights.
4. Alternating lunges
Start standing with feet shoulder-width apart, tummy tight, shoulders back and dumbbells at your sides. Step one foot forward and lower your body until your legs form 90-degree angles. Make sure your front knee doesn’t go beyond your toes. Push through your front foot back to start, then repeat on the other side. Continue alternating.
Begin with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, tummy tight, shoulders back and holding a single dumbbell at your chest. Push your bum out and sit back like you’re sitting in a chair. Squeeze your bum the whole way down and keep your weight in your heels. When your thighs are parallel to the ground, push back up to start.
6. Lying chest press
Lie on your back, a dumbbell in each hand, elbows wide. Push the dumbbells up over your face, then lower back down until your elbows touch the floor. Keep the movement slow and controlled. Breathe out as you push the weights up.
7. Russian twist
Sit on the floor, feet flat, knees bent, holding a single dumbbell in both hands. Keeping your shoulders back and your back straight, lean back until you feel your abs pull tight. Holding that position, twist your upper body to the right, then the left, and keep alternating. Twist as far to each side as you can without losing form. Too easy? Lift your feet off the ground.
8. Lying triceps extension
Lie on your back, feet flat, knees bent, a dumbbell in each hand, arms straight up, palms facing each other. Bend your elbows and lower the weights, keeping your upper arms still. Extend the weights back to start. Too hard? Try it with one dumbbell held in both hands.
Make it a workout
Perform the moves as two supersets, suggests Bezuidenhout. Do all reps of each exercise in set 1, moving from one exercise to the next without rest. Once you’ve done all exercises, rest for a minute or two, then do the same with set 2. That’s one round. Do three or four rounds in total.
15 x arm curls
15 x Romanian deadlift
15 x side raises
15 per leg x alternating lunges
15 x squat
15 x lying chest press
15 per side x Russian twist
15 x lying triceps extension
This article was originally published on www.womenshealthsa.co.za
Image credits: iStock, supplied