How to Work Out with Hand Weights

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Published: 02nd May 2013
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Whether at home or at the gym, exercising with hand weights is an excellent way to build muscle and tone your arms, chest, back, and legs. When supplemented with cardio, hand weights add the perfect balance of strength training to your fitness routine and produce stunning results that help you lose weight, stay strong, and fit into your clothes like never before. However, you will not see benefits unless you perform the exercises properly.

The following exercises will help you get into amazing shape using hand weights as your primary tool. Keep in mind that 10-15 reps for each exercise, except push ups and crunches (these have their own recommended reps), will give you a workout without straining your muscles. Always stop and take a break if you experience pain.

Squats: Start with one weight in each hand, with your feet set slightly wider apart than the width of your shoulders. Keep your core tight and your knees gently bent. Slowly squat down, making your thighs parallel to the ground. Hold for one count and exhale as you return to your starting position. Focus your mind on the muscles being worked which include your legs, hamstrings, calves, and glutes.

Push Ups: Begin by laying on your belly, supporting your body with both your arms and feet, arms slightly wider than shoulder width apart. If you are new to push ups, put your knees on the floor to modify the exercise. Keep your core muscle tight and strong, and relax any tension in your neck and shoulders. Hold one weight in each hand to ground the exercise. Lower your body down slowly, bending at the elbows. Your chest should almost touch the floor before you push back to your starting position. Expert tip: a close grip hand position works your triceps, while wider palms help you focus on your chest muscles. Perform as many as you can complete without strain.

Bent Over Rows: Holding one weight in each hand, place your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Keep your core tight, retract your shoulder blades and bend over until your back is flat, parallel to the floor beneath you. Allow your knees to gently bend and let your arms hang down under your shoulders. Slowly lift the weights upward with your elbows tight at your sides. Exhale with each exertion and keep palms facing forward as you pull back to starting position. You should feel your back and lateral muscles contracting with each hold before returning to start. Expert tip: Make sure your back, and not your trapezoid area, is doing the work.

Standing Bicep Curls: Holding one weight in each hand, allow your arms to hang at your sides. Keep your feet slightly wider apart than the width of your shoulders. With your elbows pushed tight into your body, curl up one weight, and exhale as you return to your starting position. Repeat on the other side.

Crunches: Begin lying flat on the floor with your knees bent and your feet up on a chair. Pushing the small of your back into the floor, raise your head and upper back off the floor and look up at the ceiling with your arms crossed comfortably over your chest, holding one or both hand weights. Lift your upper body higher than the flood by contracting your abdominal muscles to their fullest extent. Hold for one count and return to your starting position on the floor. Perform 5-10 reps in the beginning and work up to 25, using excellent form and incorporating the weights as an extra toning tool. Expert tip: Keep your head and upper back off the floor when performing crunches for the best possible outcome.

Hand weights are excellent instruments for keeping you in your best shape. Whether you are working to lose weight, tone up, or increase strength for your day to day life, these exercises can help you reach your goals.

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