If you've become bored of your usual cardio workouts or feel like you've plateaued when it comes to getting results, incorporating weights into your exercise regime could help. Contrary to popular belief, weight training won't make you look like a full-time bodybuilder, but it will help to give you more muscle definition, which is ideal if your aim is to look more toned.
However, to get the results you're looking for and avoid injury, there are some things you need to consider when introducing weights to your workout. Read on to learn more.
Use dumbbells before graduating to more advanced weights
When you visit the weights floor of your local gym, you'll find that there's a huge array of equipment at your disposal: there are weight machines, kettlebells, and barbells galore. But, when you're starting out and taking your first steps into using weights to workout, it's best to start with some simple dumbbells.
There are several benefits to working with dumbbells. Firstly, they're great for when you only want to add a small amount of weight to a movement, which is what you should be focusing on when you're starting out.Dumbbells are also far easier to handle than kettlebells and barbells, so they're perfect for beginners.
Plus, if you don't enjoy working out in the gym, it's very easy to pick up a set of dumbbells to keep at home. Powerhouse Fitness is a one-stop shop for all of your workout essentials, and they stock a wide range of dumbbells and sets, which includes small beginner sets, adjustable dumbbells, and gym-standard equipment. So, you should have no trouble finding something that will suit you perfectly.
Work out how heavy your weights should be
If the weights you're using are too light, you won't get the results you want, and using weights that are too heavy is likely to cause you strain and injury. So, it's incredibly important that you ensure you're exercising using the most suitable weights.
Daily Burn recommends doing the dumbbell test whenever you decide to move on to a heavier weight. They advise that you hold a weight in each of your hands and stand with your back against a wall, hands down near your hips, palms forward. Without moving your upper arms, you should curl the weights up until they're at shoulder level, and then lower them back to the starting position. You should aim for 14–22 reps with good form. If your muscles can't cope, or you can't maintain your form before you get to 14 reps, pick weights that are 2kg lighter. If you can reach 22 reps and feel like you could go further, choose weights that are 2kg heavier.
Start slow and build up your routine
Whenever you decide to incorporate something new into your workout routine, you should do this gradually. And, this especially applies to when you're thinking about using weights to make your exercises more advanced.
When starting out, you should always leave at least one rest day between your weight training sessions, as this will help your muscles to recover properly. It's also important to remember that, even though you've decided to start using weights, you don't have to use them for every move, or every time you go to the gym. Introducing them into your routine little by little will ensure that you can get your form right, avoid injury, and get the results you're looking for.
We've already outlined how you can find out what kind of weight you should be lifting, but it's important that you don't lift anything heavier until you're ready. Otherwise, you'll be putting your muscles under unnecessary strain.
Adding weights to your workout routine is a great idea. It can help to make you stronger, leaner, and more toned. Plus, it can open up a whole range of new exercises to try. So, if you're getting bored of your usual gym sessions, or aren't getting the results you want from just doing cardio, grab some dumbbells and get started — just make sure you take all of our advice on board.