Weight training can help build muscular fitness, which in turn will help you carry shopping bags or lift objects more easily. Further benefits include better body shape, increased confidence, and increased calorie burn even while resting.
The use of ‘free-weights’ rather than the weights machines in the gym will have the added bonus of making you use more muscles in each and every exercise. The results are better muscular fitness, faster!
If you find that the free weights area of gym is populated by guys who all seem to know what they're doing, don't be intimidated. These guys can be very serious about their training, but usually very supportive of anyone starting out using free weights and happy to offer advice and assistance if needed.
You may need to start with a low weight, but never be afraid of having a go – everyone needs to start somewhere and you’ll soon be lifting heavier items.
One point of caution: Ensure that your ‘form’ (the way you perform the exercise) is especially good when using free weights to gain the best impact from this trainingf and avoid injury.
Main types of free weight equipment
Barbells – Long bars designed to be held by two hands, onto each end you load metal plates. The shape of the bar depends on the exercise being performed.
Dumbbells – Designed to be held in one hand these weights are either a fixed weight (moulded or screwed together permanently) or again consist of a bar which weights can be added to.
Kettlebells/Sand bells – Looking like a bowling ball with a handle (kettle bell) or a flat round balloon (sand bell) these can be used to replicate a lot of everyday activities and have recently become very popular.
Safety: Seek advice from a medical professional before starting any exercise programme. Stop immediately if you feel pain. The first time you perform this exercise should be under the supervision of a qualified fitness professional.
By Michelle Day
Michelle is a Level 3 qualified Personal Trainer for Inspiring Fitness. She has a mobile and studio based PT business in Bristol. Her clients range from those who have never exercised before to Ironman triathletes.
Tags: barbells, beginners' guide, beginners' guide to exercise, dumbells, free weights, kettlebells, sandbells, strength, Strength Training, weight training