There is a huge range of weight lifting exercises you can do, and all of them have their pros and cons. The hard part is knowing which exercises are best for you.
Here are 5 top tips to help you decide:
There are machine weights, which as the name suggests are machines that create a resistance for you to work against.
There are free weights, which are things like dumbbells where there is no set path for the weight to travel.
Lastly, there are body weight exercises - these involve exercises where your body is the resistance, such as pull-ups or press-ups.
Weight lifting exercises can be broken down into compound and isolation exercises.
Isolation exercises focus on just one area off the body, for example the leg extension machine works the quadriceps muscle.
Compound exercises work a range of muscles in one movement: for example, a squat incorporates the legs as a whole as well as abdominal muscles and the upper body.
If you want to really focus on a particular area, machines are great. They can also be a good way to come back from injury or serve as an induction to resistance training.
However they do some of the work for you and don’t stimulate as many of the little stabiliser muscles as other free weight lifting techniques do.
If you are pressed for time in your workouts, it would be best to use compound exercises as they can work the whole body.
Doing a few compound exercises such as bench press, squats and deadlifts with some abdominal exercises and cardio a few times a week will benefit your body greatly.
Not only will it promote lean muscle mass but it will also increase your strength in other areas without even trying.
Body weight exercises are great in circuits or if you don’t have a gym. Doing a few exercises in the park such as some press-ups and lunges as a half way point on a run or bike ride will increase your body’s fat burning ability whilst helping to tone up those troublesome areas.
Of course you can always overlap and use a mixture of lifting varieties together to create the ultimate workout.
Fitness instructors are a great place to start when embarking on your weightlifting journey or to help you out if you have reached a plateau.
As always it is important to be safe when doing your workouts to prevent injury. Make sure you do the exercises with the correct form. YouTube holds a wealth of information if you find yourself with nobody to ask.
Bodyweight exercises rule! Saying that, I do enjoy the novelty of using machines.
"they do some of the work for you and don’t stimulate as many of the little stabiliser muscles as other free weight lifting techniques do" Exactly!! This is is precisely why I use free weights now.
The best move I ever made was stepping away from the machines. Like you say they do have their uses but there are better ways of getting in shape and pushing your muscles to the max.