Most beginners to weight training will often ask what are the best training methods to help them transition from weight machines to using free weights. Individuals who have never before used free weights during their gym workout or have not been using them for some time routinely find themselves reverting to a number of basic free weight exercises to ease their muscles by gradually strengthening them.
Although weight machines are an excellent method of training beginners in strength training exercises, after training for several weeks you’ll need to train your muscles with more variety within your muscle movement to avoid becoming bored with the same old daily routine. Free weight exercises are generally referred to as functional exercises as they tend to offer the exerciser with a range of movements relative to our daily lifestyle allowing us to naturally increase our flexibility and strength.
One of the best known upper body exercises performed with the assistance of free weights, is the bench press to target the pectoral muscles in the chest in addition to the other supporting muscles including the triceps and the aneroid deltoids.
How to perform the bench press:
▪ Begin the exercise by laying on an incline bench or bench press station.
▪ Grasp the bar using a shoulder-width grip and slowly lower it towards your upper chest.
▪ Now push the bar upwards to the full extension of your arms.
▪ Now you’ve completed one rep of the exercise.
Another exercise used by professional bodybuilders to target the deltoid muscles within the shoulders as well as the triceps in the upper arms is the military press.
How to perform the military press:
▪ The military press can be performed by either in a standing or sitting position.
▪ Hold either a pair of dumbbells or a weighted barbell at shoulder height on your anterior deltoids.
▪ Raise the weight overhead to the full extension of your arms by pressing your palms of your hands against the lower surface of the bar or weight.
▪ Lower the weight back down to the starting position to complete one rep of the exercise.
The barbell row used in weight training has been frequently used by professional powerlifters and bodybuilders in a number of strength training workouts to target a variety of back muscles. An excellent exercise for increasing strength and muscle build the barbell row is often performed in several variations such as the two arm bent-over-row, the one arm dumbbell bent-over-row, the Chinese dumbbell row and the Kroc row. The traditional form of the barbell row is perform by:
▪ Standing with your feet slightly wider than your shoulder width in front of the weighted barbell.
▪ Slightly bend your knees and grasp the barbell with an overhand grip keeping your arms close to the outside of each leg.
▪ Align for back by tucking your buttocks and your chest outward and begin to pull the barbell towards your waist.
▪ Then lower the weight to complete one rep.
Deadlifts are often referred to as King of the lifts, of the big gun on the block. Highly respected by professional powerlifters, the deadlift is one of three recognized powerlifting exercises including the squat and bench press using a compound movement to target grip strength and lower back, hamstrings, and gluteus to work the hip joint, quads to extend your knee joint and the adductor magnus for leg stability.
How to perform the deadlift:
▪ Stand in an upright position centering the barbell at your feet. Your posture should be slightly narrower than your shoulder-width to allow rooms for your arms.
▪ Using an overhand grip grasp the barbell so both your arms are plumb to the floor.
▪ Lower your body by bending your knees until the bar touches your shins.
▪ Without tightening your shoulder-blades lift your chest similar as if you’re performing the squat.
▪ Lower your shoulders backwards and down keeping your head aligned with your spine.
▪ Lift the weight by pulling the bar close to your body rolling it over your knees and thighs until both your knees and your hips become locked.
▪ Lower the barbell to the ground by pushing your hips backwards and then bend your knees to complete the exercise.