Getting started with free-weights!

2014February05_StrengthTraining_BAt Kaia we incorporate strength training in our BRIK and Core programs, as we understand how important this is to get in shape and to lose weight. Cardio alone won’t cut it and women need the might of strength training not to build up bulk but to create greater fat burn. Not only that, but Kaia Girls can really build up stamina levels and muscle power by using free-weights such as kettlebells rather than weight lifting equipment.

Because of so many fitness stereotypes and myths, there’s a real fear, especially amongst exercise beginners, about using weights and strength training. A well devised  cross-training program or fitness plan will no doubt include strength exercises because of the overall benefits this can bring. But if you’re just starting out and want to make the most out of using free-weights some tips might lift away any reservations you might have had.

  • Add reps to tone rather than weight – Strength training is about building muscle not necessarily about bulging biceps. If you don’t want to create a bulky body then progress with reps rather than piling on greater loads.

  • Concentrate on the core – You might be using your arms in strength training with free-weights but that’s not all. You don’t want to create muscle imbalance by concentrating on your arms and shoulders. A good fitness plan is all about the core. Getting into a varied routine on a regular basis means you are more likely to work the muscles of the whole body.

  • Don’t go it alone – The reason trainers exist is to guide you when using equipment such as weights. Ask yourself if you know what you’re doing and how to do it. What are you trying to achieve? With free-weights that are fairly light and designed to add some resistance you might not need a spotter for safety but working out in a group environment might be advisable.

  • Use kettlebells – While free-weights are designed to focus on strength, kettlebell exercises involve a greater range of motion. These functional routines combine strength training with cardio as a result, which packs a powerful workout punch.

  • Be aware of others – The whole time you are using free-weights, especially when you are swinging kettlebells, make sure you have the space to move. Put free-weights back to where they came from after use and follow exercise etiquette rules. You don’t want others tripping over your kit or not being able to create a safe space of their own because of you. Be tidy and keep others in mind even when you are focused.

  • Change the kettlebell grip to add extra challenge – If you are using kettlebells then you can really benefit from the versatility these strength training free-weights offer. By changing where you grip you can increase or decrease the resistance and the challenge.

  • Use correct form – When lifting free-weights you should lift using the power of the legs, with bent knees and a straight back. With kettlebells, make sure that you’re not swinging too far away from the body where the momentum is pulling at your wrist  or only your arm rather than your core.

  • Be safe – Always make sure you wear the right type of gear and footwear for the area you are working in for your own safety and comfort. Also, make sure that you are lifting correctly. With kettlebells you need to protect against back issues by making sure you  grip and lift properly before you swing.

  • Breathe – Don’t hold your breath during strength training exercises as it could result in an increase in your blood pressure. Breathe out when you lift and also breathe in when you lower the resistance.

  • Don’t overburden – If a weight feels too heavy then that means it is. You should feel challenged but not in pain and shaking to keep balanced and in control. The important aspect of any strength training exercise is that you are following proper form not that you are struggling with the weight or the number of reps.

Have you used free-weights in your workout? Learn to strength train in a safe, effective and dynamic way. Drop us a line today!

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