Do you ever lift heavy weights when you exercise?
So many people who come to us for help have mainly focused on ‘cardiovascular exercise’ in the past such as running or biking. For those who have done strength training, it’s usually been with light weights.
Now, these types of exercise are great and have many benefits, but don’t be afraid to incorporate heavier weights into your workouts. With any strength training, form is key, and especially with heavier weights, be sure to listen to your body and know your limitations. Of course the term ‘heavy’ is relative, but choose a weight that you can perform correctly for 3 to 6 reps and incorporate no more than one heavy exercise per workout.
The following exercises are great movements to use heavier weights with. You’ll want to be experienced and confident with these exercises before attempting to go heavier. Always warm up properly before lifting a heavy weight.
Barbell Deadlift. To perform a deadlift, step up to a weighted barbell with shins nearly touching the bar and feet hip to shoulder width apart. Squat down toward the bar as you keep your heels firmly planted while maintaining a natural curve through your back. Grasp the bar about shoulder width and tense your body. As you lift the weight, push your feet into the floor while exhaling. Be sure to keep the bar close to the body as you lift. Maintain your posture throughout the lift, keeping tension through your shoulder blades and core as you rise to the top position. Control the weight back down to the floor and repeat.
Dumbbell Chest Press. With a dumbbell in each hand lie back on a bench. Begin with your arms fully extended above your chest and the dumbbells touching each other. Slowly bend your elbows and allow the weights to drop downward and outward until your elbows come to a 90 degree angle. Pause and then exhale as you push the weights back up to the starting point. It’s important to have a spotter on this exercise.
Barbell Squat. Begin with your feet between hip and shoulder width apart with a weighted barbell resting on your upper back. Slowly squat down as you inhale, ensuring that your heels stay heavy, while pushing your hips back and maintaining the natural curve in your low back. Drop down to a depth where you still feel stable in your stance. Exhale as you stand back to the top, but don’t lock your knees all the way out. Be sure to maintain a controlled speed and don’t let the weight push you around and never bounce out of the bottom part of the movement.
Add one of these exercises to you workout routine each week for the next 4-6 weeks to elicit changes not brought on by cardio or lighter weights.