Life

The 6 best beginner free weights exercises for women

Improve your fitness at home with these easy-to-do free weight work outs for women. 

If you’ve previously been a cardio-only exerciser you might not have caught on to the wondrous benefits of weight training yet.

Once upon a time, weight-led exercising was avoided by female fitness enthusiasts because of the common misconception that the only outcome of using weights is to become ‘bulky’ or ‘manly’.

But as weight training continues to feature at the forefront of the fitness movement, we now know that building muscle is not to be feared, but to be embraced. Building muscle raises your metabolic rate, which means the effects of your work out lasts for much longer after you’ve finished training, and you’ll continue to burn energy even when you’re at your desk. 

Weight training also builds strength, which is a crucial part of having a healthy, happy body that will continue to look after you for many, many years to come. From staying active and agile as we age, to feeling strong in ourselves, building core strength has benefits for the mind and body.

These free weight exercises are particularly great for women who want to start incorporating strength training into their exercise regimes.

Goblet dumbbell squat

While many of the videos you might see on Instagram of fitness influencers will see them squatting with a heavy barbell, this can be a bit intimidating.

The goblet dumbbell squat is great because it’s super effective for toning your bum but just requires a single dumbbell, so not a huge commitment straight away.

What you need: One dumbbell 

Method: 

  • Stand up straight with your legs shoulder width apart. 
  • Grasp one end of the dumbbell in your hands, holding it to your heart while the other weighted side hangs downwards. 
  • Bend down into a single squat, until your elbows touch your knees, keeping your back straight and sticking your bum outwards.
  • Rise back up into a standing position.
  • Repeat this in reps of 10

Dumbbell reverse lunge 

This one is killer for working a range of leg muscles. Essentially it’s like a normal lunge but instead of lunging forward, you lunge back instead. You will feel that the further back you take your leg the more it works the glutes and hamstrings, so you can make this harder for yourself as time goes on.

What you need: Two dumbbells 

Method: 

  • Stand up straight with legs shoulder width apart holding a dumbell in each hand. 
  • Take one leg back to get into the lunge position (essentially kneeling in reverse) and then revert back to standing.
  • Do this 10 times for each leg.

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Overhead dumbbell extension

This move will work the backs of both your arms at the same time, it can be difficult but stick with it.

What you need: One dumbbell 

Method: 

  • Stand up straight with your legs shoulder width apart.
  • Grab a dumbbell and hold it behind your head, with both hands gripping onto the top part of the weight, elbows facing the ceiling. 
  • Lift the weight upwards to ceiling above your head, and the lower back down again behind your back.
  • Continue to do this in reps of 10. 

Bicep curl

You can do this move standing or seated, but any upper body weights workout done when seated isolates the muscles and works them harder. So when you start feeling a little more confident, trying sitting down on a hard, flat surface while you do it. 

What you need: Two dumbbells

Method:

  • Stand with your feet hip width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand with your elbows bent and close to your body, and your palms facing upward.
  • Without moving your upper arms, lower the dumbbells down towards your thighs, and then up towards your shoulders. 
  • Be careful that you’re not using the rest of your body to support the movement and just your bicep  muscles, continue to do this in reps of 10.

 Dumbell shoulder press

You will need to use a press bench for this exercise to ensure you have the correct back support.

What you need: Two dumbbells

Method:

  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand and sit on a press bench that has back support. 
  • Place the dumbbells on top of your thighs. 
  • Raise the dumbbells to shoulder height in unison, then upwards above your head and back down to shoulder height. Start slow with this one, trying reps of three first. 

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Chest press

This move will work your shoulders and triceps. As it’s a bigger move you’ll be working more than one muscle as you do it. 

What you need: Two dumbbells 

Method:

  • Lie with your back on a hard surface, holding a dumbbell in each hand. 
  • Hold the weights in the air at the same time, with both elbows bent into right angles.
  • Lift the weights upwards, stretching your arms out straight.
  • Bring them back down to chest level in a slow controlled movement. 
  • Start with reps of five and built upwards from there.

Images: Getty 

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