We have made it you all! Day 5 of Fitness Week! The final thing I do, as a part of my fitness regiment is… I lift weights. I, like a lot of women, am afraid of lifting weights because I do not want to get bulky. I also am super intimidated by the free weight section of any gym ever. Sometimes huffing and puffing over a 10 lb weight at the gym does not seem impressive when the person next to you is curling a teenager. I also don’t ever know what to do in the free weight section of the gym. I used to kind of just walk around in there after my cardio… do a few things that I thought were helping my arms then bolted ASAP. Actually, the free weight section of the Rec Center at Mizzou is a literal cage… like metal, pumping with music I have never heard, dark… bubbling with testosterone… I am never going back there. It is terrifying!
Today I wanted to demystify the free weight workout and give you some of the workouts I do! I usually use 5 – 10 lb. weights depending on the exercise. Here are the three areas of my body I target when I am lifting weights and my fav exercises:
Arms: We all want Michelle Obama arms… even if you are not a woman. Every arm exercise I do is dynamic, meaning I am also working other muscle groups simultaneously.
60 Degree decline curls: Move the bench to an 60-degree angle lean over and do curls. It takes a lot of core and balance work to stay upright while your weights are pulling you down. I do two sets of 15 of these. (This requires you moving the little knobby thing at the bottom of the bench, which terrified me the first 7 times I did it).
Suspended Bench Press with a Knee Lift: In this bench press you can do one arm or both and lift your knee the whole time. Instead of laying on the bench, only put your shoulders on the bench and do a bridge with your back. This works your glutes, core and arms/chest. I do 15 of these on each side. (This will confuse every meathead in the fitness area, and if you are a man… they will begin to copy you)
One Arm Row with a lifted Leg: Same thing as a one-arm row where your hand and knee are on the bench but lift your bench leg working opposite arm and leg. This works your core, glutes, arms and back. I do two sets of 20 of these on each side.
Back/Shoulders: Having strong back muscles and shoulder muscles are the key to good posture. Not to mention, it is almost summer which means swimsuit/sundress season… the back needs to be looking good because you, for the most part, have no idea what is going on back there.
Pullover: This one is pretty simple you lay on the bench and hold the weight above your head. Lower it down above your head without bending your arms. Focus on feeling this crawl down your back muscles without lifting your lower back off the bench. I do two sets of 30 of these
Lat lifts to the front and the side: These look easy but they are hard as heck! I usually have to drop down in weight. The move is simple! Keeping your arms straight, lift them to the side without pulling your shoulders up. Lower them down. I try to do this for 60 seconds then switch to lifting them to the front for 60 seconds.
The Row Burpee: I love and hate Burpee’s! I have developed a muscle in front of my hip that has never existed before because of these things, but they suck. So, in this you hold weights in your hands, squat down place the weights down, shoot out into plank. Row your left arm then your right arm. Pull back up into an equal to stand and row standing with the weights. I do about 10 of these in a set and I try to do two sets.
Legs: As I mentioned, the key to a fast metabolism is in your legs. They are the largest muscle group and as we all know, most people skip leg day. Don’t skip leg day! This is where you can really confuse the meatheads at the gym!
Split Leg Squats: I am obsessed with these. You put your back leg on the bench and step as far away from the bench as you possibly can. You hold your weight in the same hand as the leg that is on the bench. When you squat down lower your body to almost touch your forward thigh. Then back up. I try to do 25 – 30 of these on each leg per set.
Step Up & Jump Overs: Holding a weight at your chest, step up onto the bench with your right leg then do a little skip over, replace it, with your left leg coming down on the other side into a squat. It is kind of like a squat on each side of the bench with one leg on the bench at all times. Try to keep your upper body straight up and down. I do this for 60 seconds. (Now at most gyms, there are not a whole lot of people putting their feet on the bench… Make sure when you finish you make a big show of cleaning the bench off for all of the people who are now afraid to sit on something you put your feet on).
Step Up & Step Behinds: Facing the bench this time you step up on to the bench with your right leg suspending your left leg. Drop your left leg behind your right at an angle, then step back up bringing it back to it’s original position. This is a little hard to see in the pictures but you kind of pretend there is a wall separating your legs you step over the wall to be on one side then back… if that makes sense! I do about 30 of these on each side.
Squat Press: This is a typical squat but a little more dynamic instead of only holding your weight in-between your legs you hold it at your shoulders on your way down then do a press up when your come up from your squat. I do about 20 of these twice.
Now I can say after some research and some time at a few gyms, I am a little more confident to walk into the free weights section of any gym. Regardless, when I took these photos today… the free weights section was full of Douche Canoes who cat-called me and were not even working out… just sitting there talking to each other. Good luck out there boo cakes! It can be exhausting.