A good weight training routine varies depending upon your general health, stamina and the availability of equipment for training. You can use a combination of:
- Weight machines (pulleys and stacks)
- Free weights (dumbbells, barbells and kettlebells)
- Your body weight (pushups, chin-ups and resistance bands)
Weight training is based on the specific exercise you do, number of times you perform it (reps) and number of cycles of reps you complete (sets).
What are different weight training options?
- Weight machines: Machines are a great way to start your routine because they guide your movements and reduce your risk of injury. If you’re a beginner, you should start with light weights to avoid overworking your muscles. Gradually increase the weight by 5%-10% each week.
- Free weights: Using free weights adds complexity to your strength training routine, engaging more muscles and producing a more efficient workout. Besides focusing on the desired movement, you should keep your whole body stabilized.
- Resistance bands: These are portable, multicolored, oversized rubber bands found in gyms and are mainly used to supplement training with a weight machine and free weights.
- Medicine balls: Doing sit-ups with your arms extended straight above your head holding a medicine ball helps engage various muscle groups around your waist and arms, helping you achieve a fitter and more toned body.
- Stability balls: Stability balls are a great way to add resistance to your training. It helps target more muscles, and ones that are usually not as engaged. You can balance your lower back on the ball by keeping your feet steady on the floor, then do sit-ups or upper-body free weight exercises.
- Calisthenics: Calisthenics involves exercises that use your own body weight and nothing else. Calisthenics includes:
What are examples of exercises you can include in your weight training routine?
- Dumbbell single-arm row: Place one hand and one knee on a bench. Hold the dumbbell in the other hand and place the other leg on the floor. Keep your back straight and head in a neutral position. Next, lift the dumbbell to your chest and slowly bring it down. Repeat this action for the desired number of reps.
- Dumbbell shoulder press: Hold two lightweight dumbbells in both of your hands. Lift the dumbbells to the side of your head with the elbows bent at roughly 90 degrees (initial position). Slowly lift the dumbbells further above your head till your arms are straight. Hold for a second and gradually come down to the initial position. Repeat your first set of 10-15 repetitions.
- Stability ball squat: This is a squat variation that uses a stability ball. Take a stability ball and place it against a wall. Lean on the ball with your lower back pressing on it. Keep distance between your feet to support the ball properly. Place your hands on your knees and perform a squat. Press your heels to come back to the original position. Make sure the ball remains fixed in that position. You can also perform crunches using a stability ball.
- Dumbbell chest press: Hold a dumbbell in each hand and sit on a flat bench. Slowly lie down by supporting your head at the end of the bench. Bring the dumbbell close to your chest by resting your elbows on the bench (initial position). Next, slowly lift the dumbbell until your arms are straight. Pause for a second, then lower your arms back to the original position.
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