I mentioned before that I’m a big fan of weight training and that it’s hugely beneficial for women. Most of the feedback I got back was that people find the weights area in gyms intimidating or that there are no benches and weights available during busy periods.
Most of us new to weights will walk into the weights area at the gym and feel immediately overwhelmed and maybe even a bit self-conscious. Don’t be! Here’s a simple, full-body weight programme that’s really effective! This can be done 2 - 4 times a week in your gym, provided they have these standard weights and whether they are free when you go in to train. The techniques are shown here in gifs so you can see the full movement. My vest and (squat proof!) leggings are from H&M in case you are wondering.
Remember if you are in doubt of any of these exercise techniques ask a professional for help. Start your workout with a 10 minute warm-up, I usually pop on the rower, stepper or treadmill at a brisk pace, then do some walking lunges and body weight squats.
First Three Exercises
- Bench Press: 15, 12, 10 reps
- Goblet Squat: 15, 12, 10 reps
- Lateral Pulldown: 15, 12, 10 reps
Perform the first three exercises one after the other with minimum rest. After completing one round, rest for 1 - 2 minutes. Complete a total of three rounds. Decrease the reps with each round, 15 reps first round, second 12 and final set 10 reps.
Then move onto the next three exercises and perform in the same fashion.
Second Three Exercises
- Incline Dumbbell Flys: 15, 12, 10 reps
- Backward Lunge: 15, 12, 10 reps
- Dumbbell Row: 15, 12, 10 reps
I’m using an Olympic bar here which is 20 kg. If this is to heavy use a fixed 10 kg or 15 kg bar.
- Lie on the bench with your feet firmly planted on the floor and back pressed against the bench.
- Take a tight overhand grip of the barbell. Make sure that your grip is balanced between both sides of your body. Once your grip is set, press your shoulders down and back into the bench.
- Lift the bar from the rack.
- Take the barbell from the rack and lock your elbows at the top position. Lower the barbell to the nipple area of the chest, slowly and under control, keeping your elbows away and outward from the trunk of your body.
- As the weight lowers, do not bounce the weight from the chest. Lightly touch the chest and push the weight back up in a controlled fashion.
- Hold a dumbbell vertically against your chest, I am using 8 kg.
- Position your feet so your stance is a tiny bit outside shoulder-width, with your toes pointed slightly out.
- Sit back between your knees, keeping your chest up the whole time, drop it like it’s hot! Make sure you are not rounding your back or falling forward too much.
- I sometimes put a 2.5kg disk under each heel. This helps me get lower into my squat. If your hips, hamstrings or calves are tight this can help you get lower into the squat and increase the benefit.
- Your elbows will almost brush off the inside of your legs and remember your knees should track your toes so keep the knees out!
- Fire back up and stand tall at the top.
- Grasp the bar with an underhand grip, with your hands around 10-12 inches apart. I have the weight set to 60kg.
- Sit down on the machine with your arms fully outstretched. This is the starting position.
- Keeping your back and body straight, slowly pull the weight down to your upper chest.
- Pause, and then slowly lower the weight back to the start position. Do not let the stack drop.
Incline Dumbbell Flys 3 x 12 - 15 reps
- Set an incline bench to an angle of around 45 degrees.
- Sit on the end of the incline bench with the dumbbells resting on your thighs. I’m using 6 kg weights for this exercise.
- Lie back on the bench and extend your arms up, holding the dumbbells with your palms facing each other. The dumbbells should not touch.
- Keep your feet planted on the floor for balance. Bend your arms slightly. This is the starting position for the exercise.
- Slowly lower the dumbbells out to your sides in a semi-circle. Rotate at the shoulders only; keep your arms slightly bent.
- Once the dumbbells are about level with your chest, squeeze the chest muscles and raise the dumbbells back up using the same path of motion (semi-circle) as you did on the way down.
- Without letting the dumbbells touch, slowly lower them back again.
Backward Lunge 3 x 12 - 15 reps
- Stand up straight with a slight bend in your knees.
- Hold the dumbbells down at your sides; I have 8kg in each hand. You are now in the starting position.
- Step behind you with your left leg while maintaining your balance and squat down through your hips.
- Keep your torso straight and head up. Don't allow your front knee to track out over your toes.
- Push yourself back to the starting position by using your heal to drive you.
- Repeat this movement with your right leg and then repeat for desired reps
- Set up for the one arm dumbbell row by grabbing a flat bench and sitting a dumbbell on the left hand side at one end. I’m using an 8kg weight here.
- Position yourself on the left side of the bench with your right knee and right hand resting on the bench.
- Using a neutral grip, pick up the dumbbell with your left hand. Pull your shoulder blade back while keeping your arm straight. This is the starting position for the exercise.
- Slowly pull the dumbbell up as far as possible.
- Pause and squeeze your shoulder blades together, and then slowly lower the dumbbell back to the starting position.
- Repeat for desired reps and then repeat for your other side.
Finish your workout by holding the plank position for 30 - 60 seconds, repeat 3 times. Don’t forget to stretch after your session; this will help the recovery process. If you are new to this kind of training you may be sore for a day or two afterwards, this is normal. Give this session a try and let me know how you get on!
Until next week,
Metabolic Fitness Trainer