Skip to content

Free weights should be the cornerstone to your fitness









Free weights are a great way to build muscle and burn fat. Dumbbells, kettlebells and the barbell are three pieces of kit that, used correctly, can become the cornerstone to your fitness routine.

Good technique is also the cornerstone to your fitness!

It is essential to use free weights correctly. It is best to start with light weights, or even no weight at all, in order to get the technique right. Poor technique usually leads to injury.

A good free weights workout will combine foundational compound exercises, which work several muscle groups at once, with specific exercises, which target certain muscles. By adding two free weights sessions into your weekly fitness routine, you will be building strong muscles, burning fat and challenging your body in new and varied ways. That level of motivation is yet another cornerstone to your fitness.

Examples of compound exercises include squats, lunges and deadlifts. Specific exercises could include bicep curls or tri-cep kickbacks.

When following a free-weights exercise programme it is a good idea to monitor your workouts. Make a note of how much you lifted, so you can track your progress. This is a great way to stay motivated and on track.

Here are some compound workout ideas using free weights.







Dumbbell bench press

Using dumbbells is a good way to start a weights session as they make you work harder to stabilise joints than a bar does . Use slightly lighter weights in your opening few reps to warm your muscles.

How to do it?

Lie on the bench with your feet flat on the floor, directly under your knees. Hold the dumbbells above your chest. Lower with control to your chest, then drive your feet into the floor as you push the dumbbells back to the starting position. This should be a dynamic push upwards. 

Do 3 x 10 reps with a 60 second rest between sets.

Incline bench press

The inclined bench works your shoulder muscles in a slightly different way to the flat version of this exercise. It is also slightly tougher, so you might find you have to use a lighter weight.

How to do it?

Lie on a bench set at a 45 degree angle. Hold the bar over your chest with your hands slightly wider than shoulder distance apart. Lower the bar until it just touches your chest, then power it back up.

4 x 6 reps with a 60 second rest between sets

Back squat

This compound move works the entire lower body and can also call on the muscles of the upper torso as you raise the weights you are lifting. It is an exercise that should make the cornerstone of your weights routine.

How to do it?

Rest the bar on your back with your feet shoulder distance apart and toes posting slightly outwards. Look at the floor about two metres ahead of you – this helps keep your spine aligned. Sit back and down as if you were lowering yourself into a chair. Lower until your hip crease is below your knee height. Now drive back upwards, keeping your weight over your heels.

5 x 5 reps with 60 second rest between sets.

Snatch-grip deadlift

The previous three exercises have all involved ‘pushing’. This exercise is a ‘pulling’ movement.

Another full body exercise . The snatch-grip deadlift focuses on the muscles in the back of your body.

How to do it?

In a squatting position, take hold of the barbell with your hands wide, near the actual weights themselves. Push through your heels and keep your chest forwards as you drive upwards, lifting the weight until it is at hip height and you are standing tall. 

3 x 10 with 60 second rest.

And now for a focused exercise

Intensive Sculpt & Tone fitness class









Bicep curls

This is a specific exercise that will help build well-toned bi-ceps. Don’t be tempted to go too heavy, pick a weight that you can lower slowly. 

How to do it?

Stand tall with your shoulders back and feet at hip distance apart. Hold a pair of dumbbells with palms facing forwards and hands just outside your hips. Keep your elbows tucked into your sides. Curl the dumbbells up towards your chest, stopping just before your forearms reach vertical. Lower slowly with control.

3 x 10 with 60 second rest between sets.

These are just a  few of the hundreds of free weight exercises you can do. At Kelsey Kerridge you can do your free weights session in the Outlooks Gym or in the Free Weights Gym. Ask a member of staff in either facility for any help or guidance.