The following is a guest post by Valerie Emich, of HustleForMuscleMom.com
Lifting weights is not just an exercise for men anymore. Fitness experts say that lifting weights is one of the most important parts of fitness and weight loss. I firmly believe in this concept. I first started out using resistance bands for my exercises. Soon after that I wanted to quickly transition between moves so I decided to try free weights and then adjustable free weights. I am currently doing a Turbofire/ChaLean Extreme hybrid program. Chalean Extreme uses some weight lifting with some cardio and ab routines to burn fat and build lean muscle in its place. I have had great results with this program so far so I would like to share with you five free weight exercises that I have used to lose weight and build lean muscle.
NOTE: In order to prevent back or shoulder injuries you should always pick up and put down weights by bending your knees! This places less stress on both your knees and back.
Reverse Shoulder Fly– This exercise is great for developing sleek, sexy shoulder muscles. I would warn you that you should use a lighter weight than you would think if you are first starting to lift weights.
I typically use 10 lb. weights but I have also been lifting for months so be careful and go lighter than you think!
There are a variety of different ways to do shoulder fly exercises from either a standing or sitting position. I prefer to stand and bend over from the waist to about a 45 degree angle forward. It is important that you keep your back flat during this exercise as this helps isolate the use of the shoulder muscle. Once you are at 45 degrees bend your elbows slightly and pull the weights up and out away from your hips.
Make sure your shoulders are relaxed during this exercise. A way to check this is to make sure you are not shrugging your shoulders.
Ten to twelve repetitions of this exercise will help build lean, strong shoulder muscles.
Bicep Curls– I love the bicep curl! This exercise is what gets you those guns ladies. I would suggest using a weight that is difficult to give you a workout, but not so heavy that you have to lean forward to lift it up.
You will want to go to failure as you get to your 12th repetition. By failure I mean that you could not lift the weight one more time without have to drop it again. If you reach failure before your tenth repetition you will need to make sure you use lighter weights during your next try at this exercise. I typically use 20 lb. weights for this exercise.
Stand up straight holding the weights in each hand with your knees slightly bent. Put your elbows out in front of your hips slightly. Now pull the weights up to about 4 inches from your shoulder and slowly bring them back down. For great concentrated results try counting from one to four slowly as you bring the weights up and again when you bring your weights down.
I will give you one exercise that I have found to be the most effective in toning the glutes and hamstrings. I typically use 30 lb. weights for any leg exercises. You can lift heavy for a lower body exercises as these are the stronger muscles in your body. You will probably be surprised at the amount of weight you can lift here.
You will take that same stance with your legs slightly bent as you had done previously with the bicep curls. You will then bend down as far as you can go and stand back up slowly.
The key to this exercise is to make sure you push up slowly using the same four counts I explained in the bicep curls. When pushing up make sure all your weight is placed on the back of your heels.
Another important tip to prevent back injury is to always make sure your knees to do not go over your feet when squatting. You can check this by looking down and making sure you can see your shoes as you squat. If you can’t then push your hips and butt back as you bend down. You should do ten to twelve repetitions of this exercise.
Tricep Extension – Tricep muscles look so sexy on women! This is nothing better than lifting up your arm and seeing no flab hanging down from it!
If this is a problem then pay close attention on how to master this drill. You will only need one weight for this particular exercise but make sure it is heavy enough.
You will be working out both tricep muscles at the same time. Take the same standing position with knees slightly bent. Then carefully pick up your weight with both hands and hold it over your head. Make sure both hands are equally around the upper end of the weight so you get an equal workout in both of your triceps.
Once you have the weight up over your head, slowly lower the weight behind your head and up again. The key here is to make sure you can see your elbows in your peripheral vision. If you can’t you will need to re-adjust them in order to get the best results. I typically use 20 lb. weights and you should be doing ten to twelve repetitions of this exercise.
Pushups– A great way to strengthen your abs, back and chest is to do push-ups. You can either do them the standard way or on your knees.
A mat is also a great tool to have when doing pushups. I am not going to bore you with how to get into a standard push up position here. If you do not know how to do one a picture is offered for additional help at the bottom.
Once you are in the standard pushup position I want you to flex your ab muscles and keep your hips in line with your legs. This will help to control your lower body from sagging down when doing push-ups.
Make sure your arms and head are in line with your shoulders. Some people tend to lower their head down before the rest of their bodies when doing this exercise which makes the push-ups harder and adds stress on the neck.
Bend at the elbows and use the four counts I explained in earlier exercises. Go down until your chest almost reaches the ground and pushup through your hands using the four count method again.
Ten to twelve repetitions is also recommended for these exercises. There are several variations to a pushup which help target several different muscles. If you would like to work more on your triceps try tucking your elbows into your sides and doing them. This is difficult but very effective.
Lifting weights is an easy, inexpensive and effective way to lose weight. Women can get very good results with these exercises by doing the exercises using the correct form. Weight lifting for women helps burn fat as well as replaces it with sexy, lean muscle for the look you want. Women do not have as much testosterone as men so lifting heavy weights will not make you bulk up. Try starting out with light weights and high repetitions to begin with and then move up to heavier weights. As your weights get heavier you can adjust your repetitions to reach failure in eight to ten, rather than ten to twelve. A healthy diet is also recommended to achieve the best results quickly.
If you are interested in learning more about free weight exercises or about my fitness team, Team Hustle come visit http://www.hustleformusclemom.com. You can shop products, read my articles on diets and fitness, and subscribe to my blog. You will also receive three free weight loss tips for joining. Also visit the Team and I at our Facebook Fan page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Team- Hustle/482404955106349?ref=hl