This week, let’s talk about using weights at home, especially dumbbells – which weights to buy and how to use them.
As I mentioned in my last fitness update, I’ve spent the last month doing Yoga With Adriene’s 30 day program. Now that it’s nearly finished I’m planning my next move. Like many people I’m finding this lockdown harder than granite, so breaking it up into 30 day chunks is just about all I can do.
I’ve started getting back into weightlifting, and with the gyms closed for at least the next few months, that means an at home work out.
Here I am busting out the bicep curls whilst watching The Chase and feeling like a bit of a lemon because I’ve been caught in the act.
How to start working out with weights at home
You don’t need a lot of space for a home weghts workout, but you probably will need some extra kit. In last year’s lockdown I bought various resistance bands and an 8kg kettlebell. A mat for the floor is useful but not essential.
These dumbbells that you see me using here are DKN Rubber Hex Dumbbells which were sent to me for review by Sweatband.com. They come in a huge variety of weights, from 2kg all the way up to 30kg. Prices start from £23.99.
They have a lovely comfortable chrome-plated grip that feels great to hold. The hexagonal design means they won’t roll away under the sofa when you put them down. The cast iron heads are encased in rubber, so they’re a little softer to touch and won’t leave a dent in the floorboards if like me you have an elderly and delicate floor.
I’ve noticed over the last few weeks that the different sizes will go in and out of stock, so you may have to be patient if the weights you want aren’t immediately available, or check out some of the other dumbbells also available on the site.
What size weights to buy and what to use them for
Essentially, when it comes to weights, we use small weights for smaller muscles (shoulders), bigger weights for bigger muscles (legs & glutes) and something in between for everything else.
Obviously men have bigger muscles and would generally be using heavier weights, but there’s no need to be scared of heavier weights as a woman. You aren’t going to suddenly get mega muscly – that just doesn’t happen without a dedicated diet and exercise plan.
That said, if you are new to weights then I would er on the side of caution until you can get a trainer to check your form (how you hold the weights). Proper form is important in order to protect your back. Check out the many online instruction videos before you do any exercise that’s new to you. Pay attention to how the instructor positions their body and aim for that.
How I use weights at home
Bear in mind I’m no fitness professional, but I have been working out with weights for a few years, so I can give you a regular person’s opinion.
3kg weights – this is what I would typically use for shoulders, or a 4kg weight when I was working out regularly in the gym. A smaller weight is also useful for holding on your stomach if you want to make abs crunches a bit harder.
Here’s a good video from Heather Robertson to show you the kind of workout you can do for arms with dumbbells. She’s not watching The Chase when she does it but you know, if you want to, I wouldn’t judge…
5kg weights – these are a good all rounder. If you’re going to go for just one set of dumbbells then I would go with 5s. They’re a bit heavy for shoulders, but then you could always do some press ups instead.
7kg weights – this is what I would use for bicep curls or triceps.
9kg weights – for slower bicep curls or weighted lunges like these
15kg and above – One of these is great for doing sumo (wide leg) squats, or if you have two they can be used along the front of the legs for deadlifts.
All in all, if you’re going to invest in some weights to use at home then I would aim for one lighter and one heavier for a full body workout. Or if in doubt, go for 5s.
See you in 30 days!
*PR samples provided for review