How to weight train with a mere 6 exercises
I am frequently asked how I like to strength train with weights.
First of all, I think everyone should be in the perpetual pursuit of lean body mass. That obviously can be created in lots of formats:
- Body weight
- Crossfit, etc.
Its all about cables
What’s my favorite? Well, if I am going to throw weights around, I generally use cables.
Cables have this fantastic way of letting you accelerate the move, and also decelerate with a bit of resistance. That is hard to re-create with plates or dumbbells or bars….gravity is usually the prime driver there. Further, I am not a big fan of most machines since they tend to have you sit or lie down and rob your body of the natural stabilization and functional work you could be doing. (Just the sitting in and of itself becomes problematic!) Additionally, the machines rarely allow for variations in the direction you can move, thereby making you strong in only that one vector.
Dumb bells are great, and I have fun working out with them too, which we will get to in a future blog.
Look for the pictures
Do the machines you use at your gym have pictures on them to demonstrate various exercises?
Look for pictures depicting someone standing.
Then try it standing. That is an easy tip, and the very first thing I direct my clients to try. It’s not easy, but just takes a bit of practice to get used to.
The rule of thumb is more “pull” exercises than “push”. The ratio should be around 3:1 ideally. You get plenty of push muscles engaged in your daily life- you need more pull to balance them out!
6 exercises for weight training
Check out this series of six exercises on the Freemotion Cable Weight system with my client Lauren. We simply make sure she gets in some variation of lunge or squat or one foot to allow the lower body to stabilize for the upper body. That, coincidentally, is how it works in the real world!
Chest Press in Lunge
Press forward, and then as you decelerate the move allow your shoulder blades to collapse together. In the lunge: weight on the front heel to engage the glute, and then feel hip flexor stretch on the back leg/hip.
Lat Pulldown in Squat
Pull straight down through shoulder blades. In the squat be sure to try and feel your hip flexors.
Squat to Overhead Shoulder Press
Break down in Squat, and then press hands overhead. I get asked all the time, “where do i press- here or here or here?” To which I answer, “yes- all of those!” Work those muscles in as many angles or vectors as possible.
Row in Lunge
Pull handles towards you, and feel it in the middle of the back or the lower edge of the shoulder blades. Stay out of high rows into the neck area.
Bicep Curls in Squat
Face away from the machine, and bring your fists to your shoulders in a bicep curl. Don’t let the machine pull your shoulders forward, rather, keep them rolled back.
Tricep Extension on One Foot (for balance and core work!)
Stand on one foot like a flamingo and feel the glute stabilize for you as you bring your elbow to your side, and then kick or extend that arm back feeling the back of the arm.
Let me know in the comments below how you like cables and if you’ve tried standing up when you lift weights! Notice we just hit all the major muscle groups with six exercises and got a lot of great hip/leg work done too. Kabam! Done!