The gym can be daunting but it doesn’t have to be.
I’ve put this little guide together to help you be more confident with weights and stretch downs.
I’m just tackling three weights in this post; the medicine ball, dumbbells and kettlebells. Nice and simple!
This is great for your CORE STRENGTH.
Sit up like you would do in a ‘sit-up,’ feet on the ground but flexed with just the heel touches the ground. Make sure your back is around a 45 degree angle to the floor.
Pass the ball from side to side trying not to move your body with it.
I like to do somewhere between 8-12 reps, x 3.
Sit in a ‘sit up position’ feet flat on the floor, holding the ball with arms extended overhead.
Curl head and shoulders off the floor, squeezing abs in as you raise the ball overhead and in front of you as you sit up.
As you lower down to starting position, let the ball to gently fall overhead.
Again I like to do somewhere between 8-12 reps, x 3.
There are lots of ways to use these weights.
Two easy ways I like to use them are bicep curls, and weighted lunges.
You can do weightless lunges, or weighted lunges using dumbbells. Both are a great, easy exercise for your thighs. If you struggle with balance try using your own body weight first.
Stand with your torso upright holding two dumbbells in your hands by your sides.
Step forward with your right leg around 2 feet or so from the foot being left stationary behind and lower your upper body down, while keeping the torso upright and maintaining balance. Inhale as you go down.
As with the other exercises, do not allow your knee to go forward beyond your toes as you come down.
Using mainly the heel of your foot, push up and go back to the starting position as you exhale.
Repeat the movement for the number of repetitions you wish to do (I usually do 8 on each leg x 3) and then repeat with the left leg.
Bicep Curls with overhead extension:
Hold a pair of dumbbells in your hands and allow your arms to hang down by your sides with your palms facing forward. Keep your elbows close to your torso and bend them to bring the dumbbells up to your shoulders. Rotate your wrists so that your palms face forward. Push the weights up over your head, finishing with your arms fully extended. Lower the weights down to your shoulders, then rotate your wrists again so palms face inward. Extend your elbows to lower the weights back down to your thighs.
I usually do this 8 times and repeat that 3 times.
I use Kettlebells mostly when squatting.
You can do normal squats where you just hold the kettlebell in the centre of your legs as you lower down and up.
You can then pass it straight above your head as you stand for an added extension.
Or you can do swinging squats. Make sure your core is strong so you don’t hurt your back and don’t use a very heavy kettlebell for these. Hold the kettlebell with stretched out arms, parallel to the floor. Then as you squat down send it under your butt, then back up to the sky as you stand back up. Repeat this for 8-12 reps.
Your back should be flat for all of these squats and don’t try to use a very heavy kettlebell.
It’s really important to stretch out your muscles after any kind of workout.
It also helps to cool you down, you shouldn’t leave the gym sweaty as you could catch a cold.
Some good stretches to try:
Deep Lunge with rotation.
Step your left foot forward and bend your left knee to lower into a forward lunge, then bend your torso forward and place your hands on the floor on each side of your left foot. Keeping your right leg nearly straight, rotate your torso to the left and raise your left arm toward the ceiling and hold it there for 30 seconds. Then slowly reverse the movement to return to start. Stand back up and switch sides. Repeat 5 times on each side.
Crossbody shoulder stretch.
Simply press while pulling your opposite elbow towards your opposite shoulder.
Overhead reach, side bend stretch.
Stand comfortably with your feet shoulder-width apart.
Lift both arms above your head, lightly clasping your hands. Gently pull your shoulders back and stretch tall.
Hold 30 seconds, then, lean to the right and hold. Repeat to the left.
I hope this guide to these three basic weights and simple stretch downs has been useful.
Check back for my next gym post soon.
Thanks to Virgin Active for not only having the best gyms to use but also allowing me to shoot this content in their Kensington gym. (Gifted use of gym).