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Best Weight Lifting Exercises – Free Weights

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Best Weight Lifting Exercises – Free Weights

 

Best Weight Lifting Exercises – Free Weights

One of (if not THE) most important parts of an effective workout routine are the weight lifting exercises it is comprised of.

There are literally hundreds of different exercises out there for you to choose from, so it can definitely be confusing trying to figure out which are best for your workout routine, your body and of course your exact goal.

Free Weight Exercises

A free weight exercise is any exercise where the resistance is provided by a barbell, dumbbells, or any other free moving object. Some common examples include any type of barbell or dumbbell press, row, curl, extension, or deadlift.

Basically, if you’re moving some sort of weight (like a barbell or dumbbell) from point A to point B, and that weight isn’t supported by or attached to anything other than you, it’s most likely a free weight exercise.

Techniques Commonly Used

Since dumbbell exercises generally do not isolate muscles, “cheating” can be very tempting. Cheating involves using body movements that help you perform a dumbbell exercise more easily.

An example of cheating would be to sway your upper body forward and back when doing biceps curl. Although the dumbbell exercise will be easier to perform that way, you are effectively cheating yourself out of gains in your target muscle groups.

It is therefore recommended to use and maintain good posture when performing dumbbell exercises. In the biceps curl example, try to keep your upper body very still when doing the exercise to minimize cheating.

 

A body weight exercise is any exercise where the resistance is provided by your own body weight.

Instead of moving a barbell or dumbbell from point A to point B like you would with a free weight exercise, a body weight exercise requires moving your own body from point A to point B. Some common examples include push-ups, pull-ups, chin-ups, and dips.

PROS

  • Completely natural movement. Allows you to move through a range of motion that is completely natural for your specific body. Nothing is restricted or put into any sort of fixed position that may not be perfect for you body.
  • Uses additional muscles. Since you are in full control of of the weight (which is your body) and stabilizing the entire movement itself, you are therefore recruiting the use of various stabilizer muscles that tend to go unused with machines.
  • Extremely functional. Body weight exercises allow you to mimic actual movements that you actually do in real life, and in the exact manner you’d actually do them.

CONS

  • Sometimes too hard/impossible. For certain people (especially beginners and people who are overweight), body weight exercises like pull-ups and dips are extremely hard and in some cases just impossible to do. With free weights or machines, if it’s too heavy, you can just use less weight. With a body weight exercise, you’re kinda stuck with your own body weight. (I will mention however that there are ways around this issue to some degree, but that’s a topic for another time.)

Chest Dumbbell Exercises

 

Flat Chest Presses

  1. Lying flat on bench, hold the dumbbells directly above chest, arms extended.
  2. Lower dumbbells to chest in a controlled manner.
  3. Press dumbbells back to starting position and repeat.
  4. Avoid locking elbows

Incline Chest Presses

  1. Adjust bench to an incline of 30 to 45 degrees.
  2. Repeat as above.

Flat Chest Flies

  1. Lying flat on bench, hold dumbbells directly above chest.
  2. Bend elbows slightly and maintain throughout the exercise.
  3. Open arms to sides. Elbows should remain ‘locked’ in a slightly flexed position.
  4. When upper arms are parallel to floor, return the weights to the starting position and repeat.

Incline Chest Flies

  1. Adjust bench to an incline of 30 to 45 degrees.
  2. Repeat as above.