Feeling Free! Strength Training with Free Weights
If someone were to tell you that one type of exercise could benefit your heart, improve your balance, strengthen your bones, build muscle, and help you lose weight, wouldn’t you want to get started immediately? Of course you would! The exercise we are talking about of course is strength training. According to the American Heart Association, strength training (or resistance training) is designed to improve muscular strength by exercising a specific muscle or muscle group against external resistance, like with free weights.
Free weights are the use of barbells, kettlebells, dumbbells, and medicine balls. Resistance training with the assistance of these free weights will help increase muscle mass and improve bone density—both incredibly important as we age. Let’s get started!
Squat it Out
When you add a kettlebell or medicine ball to a squat routine, you increase resistance your body has to work against to stand back up, which gives your muscles more of a challenging workout. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, grip the sides of the kettlebell handle with both hands at chest height, and then bend at your knees into a big squat. Drop the bell all the way down to your hells and then return back to a standing position.
Lunge with Weights
Another standard exercise you are most likely already familiar with is the lunge. Once again, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, keeping your arms by your side and holding a weight in each hand. Take a large step forward. Lower your body, bending both knees to 90 degrees, and push through your heels keeping the weight on your back foot. Then return to the original position and alternate legs.