6 exercises to start weight training

By building muscle mass, weight training is the best long-term strategy for burning more calories and reducing body fat. The isometric exercises below require a few inexpensive items: dumbbells, a stability ball and an exercise mat.

6 exercises to start weight training

1. Back fly

  • Sit on the edge of a stability ball or chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Keeping your back flat, bend forward at the waist and lower your chest to about seven to 10 cm (three to four in) above your knees, letting your arms hang down on either side of your legs with your hands by your feet.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades and raise the weights out to the side until your arms are outstretched parallel with the floor.
  • Pause, then slowly return to the starting position..

2. Bent-over row

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, your back straight and your knees slightly bent for support.
  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Keeping your back straight, bend 90 degrees from the waist and let your arms hang toward the floor, palms facing your legs.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together and bend your elbows, raising the dumbbells on either side of your body, as if rowing.
  • Pause, then slowly return to the starting position.

3. Stability-ball push-up

  • Place a stability ball against a wall, then kneel in front of it so that it is between you and the wall.
  • Place your hands on the ball so they are directly below your shoulders.
  • Walk back on your knees until your body forms a straight line from your head to your knees. You should be leaning forward into the ball.
  • Keeping your torso straight and your abdominal muscles contracted (concentrate on pulling your belly button toward your spine), bend your elbows and lower your chest toward the ball.
  • Stop when your elbows are in line with your shoulders.
  • Pause, then return to the starting position.

4. Triceps pushback

  • Sit on a stability ball with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  • Hold the dumbbells in front of you with your arms bent at a 90-degree angle and your elbows at your sides.
  • Keeping your back straight, bend slightly from the hips.
  • Straighten your arms and extend the weights behind your back, turning your palms toward the ceiling once your arms are fully extended.
  • Pause, then return to the starting position.

5. Slide plank

  • Lie on your left side with your knees bent.
  • Bend your left arm so your forearm is extended in front of you perpendicular to your body, then lift your torso off the floor. Your upper body should form a straight line from your hips to your shoulders.
  • Place your right hand on your hip and hold for five to 15 seconds.
  • Return to the starting position, then repeat on other side. Work up to holding on each side for 30 to 60 seconds.

6. Hover

  • Lie facing the floor with your upper body propped on your forearms. Your elbows should be directly beneath your shoulders and your palms flat on the floor.
  • Raise your body so that your torso, hips and legs are off the floor and your body is in a straight line, supported on your forearms and toes.
  • Don't let your back arch or droop, and hold for 10 to 20 seconds.

7. Be strong, live long

  • Building up muscle power can increase a man's life span. That's the conclusion of a study in Sweden in which researchers tested the strength and fitness levels of 8,762 men aged between 20 and 80 and followed them for almost 20 years.
  • They found that men with greater muscular strength at the outset had lower rates of death from all causes, including cancer.
  • The strongest group of men was 23 per cent less likely to have died at the end of the follow-up period than the weakest group — and it had 29 per cent fewer deaths from cardiovascular disease.
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