According to the American Heart Association, strength training is physical activity designed to improve muscular fitness by exercising a specific muscle or muscle group against external resistance, including free weights, weight machines, or your own body weight. (1)
There are many benefits of strength training, including the preservation of muscle mass, weight control, reducing risk of injury, improving strength and fitness, & also improving your mood.
If you’re wondering what the best free weight exercises are for women, read on!
SINGLE ARM ROW
Targets: Back, biceps
Do: 2 sets of 8-10 reps on left side with a 90 sec rest. Change sides.
(a) Begin with your right hand and right knee on a bench, your left foot stepped out wide and a dumbbell in your left hand, hanging down.
(b) With your back in a neutral position, and left knee soft, drive left elbow up, lifting the dumbbell to your torso. Lower back to start.
DUMBBELL CHEST PRESS
Targets: Chest, triceps
Do: 3 sets of 13-15 reps
(a) Lie on your back on a bench holding dumbbells with your arms straight above your chest. Bent the elbows slowly, bringing the dumbbells in a straight line down to either side of your chest.
(b) Without pausing, drive your arms back up. Repeat.
Targets: Quads, glutes, adductors
Do: 3 sets of 10-12 reps on each leg. Start with your weaker leg.
(a) With feet and hips facing forwards, start with one foot raised on a step and your other leg a stride behind you.
(b) Holding dumbbells, slowly lunge forwards, keeping the knee in line with the toe. Without stopping at the bottom, push back up to the start position. Now swap legs.
SEATED SHOULDER PRESS
Do: 3 sets of 13-15 reps.
(a) Sitting upright on a bench, start with dumbbells held straight above your head. Slowly bend your elbows and lower dumbbells until they are in line with your shoulders.
(b) Without stopping, drive straight back up to the start position.
Do: 3 sets of 15-20 reps. Use a 20kg barbell and 5kg weights on each side.
(a) Sit on the floor, back against a bench. Roll the barbell onto the front of your hips. With knees bent, drive hips off the floor until your back is parallel.
(b) Slowly lower your hips downwards, then drive back up again. And repeat.
Targets: Back, hamstrings, glutes
Do: 3 sets or 10-12 reps
(a) Place an Olympic bar (with or without added weight, depending on your strength level) on the floor and stand feet hip-width apart. Grip hands a little wider than your feet. Keep your bottom low, chest up and back flat.
(b) Driving with legs, stand up straight, shoulders back, arms straight down. Keep bar close to your body and return to the floor; maintain a flat back.
Targets: Legs, glutes
Do: 3 sets of 10-12 reps on each leg
(a) Start with your weaker leg on a step or box and, with or without dumbbells in your hands, step onto it.
(b) Without pausing at the top, lower back to the start position, leaving your start foot on the box and then stepping straight back up on the same leg. Once you have completed 10-12 reps, switch legs.
SEATED BICEP CURLS
Do: 3 sets of 10 reps
(a) Sit upright on a bench holding dumbbells, arms down by your sides, palms facing forwards. Bend arms at the elbow, keeping shoulders still until the dumbbells reach them.
(b) Slowly lower (3-4 seconds) the dumbbell back down to the start position. Avoid ‘locking’ the elbow at the bottom.
LYING TRICEP EXTENSION
Do: 3 sets of 10 reps
(a) Lie flat on your back on a bench with dumbbells in hands and arms 90 degrees to your body, above chest. Keeping your shoulders still, slowly bend from the elbows, lowering the dumbbells down until they are next to your ears.
(b) Without pausing a the bottom, straighten your arms back to the start position. Repeat.
CRUNCH WITH DUMBBELL
Do: 3 sets or 10 reps
(a) Lying on the floor, hold a dumbbell straight above your chest.
(b) Curl all the way up to a seated position, exhaling and squeezing your abs as your reach the top.
IMPROVE YOUR FITNESS PLAN AT CRUNCH FITNESS
Here at Crunch, we’ve got tons of weights, rows of cardio & loads of equipment available from treadmills to cross-trainers and rowers for you to check out! Download your Free Pass to trial our gym for FREE! No matter where you are with your health & fitness plan, we can provide the advice you need to move forward to reach your goals. Our certified world-class personal trainers are here to help you and make you feel confident with your fitness journey!
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