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Free Weights | Exercises to smash your goals

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When your new to the gym, training in the free weights area can be off-put for a number of reasons. The main reasons being a perception of the area being intimidating and not knowing how to train. Seeing more experienced gym goers lifting heavy weights can leave you feeling conscious about what you might be able to lift and whether you are doing it correctly. In addition to this when you try to read up on it there are various conflicting articles on how to train to reach different goals, leaving you with a daunting task of working out whats best for you.

Well this blog breaks down some fundamental exercises that are great to include in any routine no matter what your goal might be so you can enter the free weights are with confidence.

Watch the video below so you can go into the free weights area knowing you are doing it right!

Smith Machine Squat

Main muscle worked: Quads

How to: 

  1. Set the bar to a height you can comfortable reach on your back and load with an appropriate weight. It's best to start of lighter and add more if needed. 
  2. Step under the bar and place it across your shoulders, just below the neck. Your feet should be shoulder width apart and your toes pointing outwards slightly. 
  3. Keeping your head up and back straight, lower the bar by bending at the knee until your upper leg is slightly below 90 degree with you calf. (Try to make sure your knee don't go over your toes)
  4. Raise the bar back up until in the original starting position, pushing your heels into the ground. 

Top Tip: Inhale and brace your core on the way down, exhale on the way back up.

Rear Lateral Pulldown

Main muscle worked: Lats

How to: 

  1. Sit on the seat with your feet flat on the ground and pad tight to your quads and grab with bar with a wide overhand grip.
  2. Pull the bar behind your neck until it almost touches the top of your back by bending at the elbow. 
  3. Slowly lower the bar to the start position and repeat.

Top Tip: Keep your head in a neutral position

Front Lateral Pulldown

Main muscle worked: Biceps

How to: 

  1. Sit on the seat with your feet flat on the ground and pad tight to your quads and grab with bar with a narrow underhand grip.
  2. Pull the bar down until it's level with your chin, keeping your upper body as stable as possible. 
  3. Squeeze the shoulder blades together, then slowly return the bar to the starting position.

Top Tip: A wide grip will target the back more, whereas a narrower grip with work the biceps and forearms

Tricep Pushdown

Main muscle worked: Triceps

How to: 

  1. Stand upright with your core tight and elbow tucked into your sides. Grasp the bar with your palms facing down.
  2. Activating the triceps, bring the bar down until it touches your leg and your arms are fully extended.
  3. Hold for 1 count at the bottom and slowly bring the bar back to the starting position.

Top Tip: Exhale as you push the bar down and inhale on the way back up.

For more exercise tips head over to our exercise guide and use the exercises in this section to plan your workout. Stuck for ideas? No problem, check out our free workouts page.

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