Examples of Exercises Using Free Weights

Doctors at the Mayo Clinic report that free weights provide an effective workout because they simulate normal body movements and promote stabilization of the whole body. Free weights, or dumbbells, are inexpensive and easy to store. Weight training of any kind promotes strength, tones muscles and helps reduce fat. Before lifting weights, warm up for five to 10 minutes with light aerobics or stretching. Doctors at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases recommend strength training for 30 minutes three times per week with one day off in between to allow muscles to recover.

Chest Presses

In addition to toning the arms, chest presses work the muscles in the pectorals and the abdominal muscles. The chest press is performed by lying flat on the floor or on a bench, holding a free weight in each hand. Knees should be bent with feet flat on the floor and abs tightened. Elbows should be bent so that upper arms are perpendicular to the body and the weights held up with palms facing the feet. Begin each movement by slowly pressing the weights straight up in the air so that the arms are nearly straight. Elbows should remain slightly bent. Hold for a count of 10 and slowly return to starting position. Repeat 20 times.

Triceps Curls

Triceps are the muscles on the backs of the upper arms that tend to get flabby without focused workouts. Free weights provide effective resistance for triceps toning from a prone or standing position. Lying down, the knees should be bent so feet are flat on the floor. Holding a weight in each hand, extend the arms toward the ceiling, keeping palms facing each other. Bend the arms at the elbows at a 90-degree angle toward the back of your head. Hold for a count of five and straighten your arms again. While standing, hold your arms straight up and bend your elbows back 90 degrees in the same manner. Triceps curls can be performed on both arms at the same time with a free weight in each hand or by bending one arm at a time with equal effectiveness.

Biceps Curls

Biceps curls are ideally performed with dumbbells from a standing or sitting position. The exercise works the muscles in the lower arms and the muscle groups in the front of the upper arms. While standing, hold a dumbbell in each hand, with your palms facing forward. Keep your feet about shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent to prevent back strain. Slowly bend your elbows and raise the free weights until they almost touch the front of your shoulders. Do both arms simultaneously or one at a time. From a sitting position, place the free weight in your hand with the palm facing up and the arm straight down between your knees. Bend your arm in the same form as doing the curl while standing. Tighten your abs while lifting for bicep development and keep your back straight and uninvolved in the lifting.

About this Author

Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist who’s spent more than 20 years doing in-depth research and reporting on trends in health care and fitness for newspapers and magazines, including the “Greenville News,” “Success,” “Verve,” and “American City Business Journals.” In addition to sports and alternative therapies, Ray has extensive experience covering banking, commercial development and people. Ray has a bachelor’s degree in journalism.