hand weights

In a report published by the TIME Magazine, it was claimed that weight exercises are the best exercises for bone health. It was also said that exercising with hand weights were proven to be one of the most effective exercises that an individual can perform.

Another study by the American Diabetes Association found that people who held twice-weekly hand weight exercise sessions had a significant decrease in the risk of type-2 diabetes.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of other studies which have proven the benefits of hand weight exercises on the human body. This is why you should perform hand weight exercises regularly.

Hand weights vs. Dumbbells

There are many exercisers who are confused with the difference between hand weights and dumbbells. Both look identical and have the same design; so what’s really the difference?

Hand weights

Hand weights

To start off, hand weights are the lighter variants of dumbbells. Hand weights are available in various different sizes and weights, which makes it a highly versatile tool for any exerciser. These are inexpensive, compact, easy to use and can enable you to tone almost all of the parts of your body.

Hand weights are generally found in three weight variant – 1 pound, 3 pound and 5 pound sizes. Although there is no definitive margin of the size between hand weights and dumbbells, the 10 pounds ones can also be regarded as a hand weight.

Dumbbells

DumbbellsAs mentioned previously, dumbbells are the bigger variants of the hand weights. Due to the increased weight, the dumbbells let you perform various strenuous exercises that you would’ve have been able to perform with the hand weights.

Dumbbells are generally any hand weight that is heavier than 10 pounds. The numbers can increase significantly depending on the exercise that these are used in.

Exercises you can perform with hand weights

You can essentially perform numerous exercises with the hand weights. Some are targeted for the exercise of your shoulder and arms, while some others are best for your legs and glutes. There are other hand weight exercises which are targeted specifically for the full body workout and the workout of the core. Let’s now dive right into some of the exercises that you can perform with the hand weights.

Bent over reverse fly

Bent over reverse fly

How to do it?

During the bent over reverse fly, you should be careful not to swat right away. To start off, you should stand with both your feet approximately shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Next, you should slowly lean forwards so that your torso is parallel to the ground. Then take a pair of hand weights and hold them downwards with your palms facing you. Keeping your hips bent, you should raise the hand weights out from the sides to extend the elbows above the shoulder. Then get back to the initial position. Repeat this exercise multiple times.

Targeted muscles

One of the main muscles that are engaged during this exercise is the posterior deltoids. These are the main muscles found on the back of your shoulders. The bent over reverse fly also works the therhomboids and traps which are located at the upper and middle back.

Size of hand weight to be used

You can use any hand weights ranging from 3 pounds to 10 pounds. It is recommended that you start with the smaller ones and work your way through.

Alternating bicep curls

Alternating bicep curls

How to do it?

The alternating bicep curls are the most common bicep workout which uses the hand weights. To perform this workout, one must stand with their feet almost shoulder-width apart. Then you should hold a pair of hand weights, letting your arms swing down and your palms facing towards you.

Next, keeping your arms straight, you should raise one of the hand weight until it reaches shoulder height and then curl your forearm and pull it towards your chest. Then slowly lower the hand weight. Be sure to raise the other one while you’re lowering the hand weight. This should be done in a mechanical process; one goes up while the other goes down.

Targeted muscles

The alternating bicep curls are excellent for the workout of the anterior deltoids and the trapezius muscles in the biceps. It stimulates the biceps and forearms, and can be great for the chest as well.

Size of hand weight to be used

It is recommended that you use hand weights ranging from 5 to 8 pounds. Taking a hand weight more than that may cause strain on your arms and may result in the tendons tearing up.

Lateral Raises

How to do it?

To start off, you should at first stand with a straight torso and shoulder. Next, take a pair of hand weights and hold them at your sides with the palms facing you. Keeping the torso straight, you should lift both the hand weight to your sides and bend your elbows slightly. Continue lifting until your arms are parallel to the floor. Then, slowly exhale and lower the hand weights to the initial position. Repeat this exercise multiple times.

Targeted muscles

During this workout, the anterior deltoid, supraspinatus and the trapezius muscles are engaged. Chest and shoulder muscles also play a big role when performing the lateral raise workout.

Size of hand weight to be used

Small weights are ideal for this workout. You can use any hand weight ranging from 3 to 5 pounds. You can work your way through to the heavier ones once you get used to the smaller ones.

Bench Presses

How to do it?

When doing the bench press workout, you should at first lie down on a bench.  Next, take hold of a pair of hand weights in each hand and rest them on your thighs. Then by using your thighs, slowly lift the hand weights. Maintain a distance of shoulder width between your arms. Next, by rotating your wrists forward, you should lift the hand weights using your chest to push them up. Be steady and stay on the pinnacle of your lift for a few seconds and then slowly come back to the original position.

Targeted muscles

The bench presses mainly target the triceps, brachii, pectoralis major, anterior deltoids, traps and other back muscles. The biceps also receive a great workout.

Size of hand weight to be used

Heavier exercise weights can be used for bench presses. For beginners, it is recommended that they start with 12 or 15 pounds and work their way up the ladder.

Renegade row

Renegade row

How to Do It?

Similar to the traditional pushup, the renegade rows are great for back muscles. To start off, you should place two hand weights shoulder width apart. Next, position yourself just as like you’re doing a pushup, but you should be holding onto the hand weights. Then push one hand weight against the floor and row onto the other. This will flex your elbow and raise the weight. Afterwards, lower the hand weight until it reaches the floor. Then go on raising the other one. Keep on repeating this exercise.

Targeted muscles

Renegade rows are intense workouts that are highly effective for back and core. This workout engages the abs, back, biceps, triceps and shoulders to give you an overall perfect workout.

Size of hand weight to be used

Heavier hand weights are ideal for this exercise. It is recommended that beginners start with any hand weight around 8 to 10 pounds and then slowly go with the heavier ones.

Safety recommendations when using the hand weights

Although the hand weights may not pose any serious threats to the exerciser, there are certain aspects you must consider when handling the weights. Let’s now look into the aspects you should consider to ensure proper safety during your exercises:

  • Always warm up before starting the strenuous exercises
  • Always start with the lighter weights and then work your way through
  • Maintain a proper posture; don’t wobble during the workouts
  • Stop the workout if you feel pain or soared joints

Conclusion

Hand weights are undoubtedly one of the best exercise equipment that you can use for your workouts. They’re easy to use, fairly inexpensive, compact and very handy. With these, you can essentially tone your upper body, lower body and your core. The hand weights are excellent because exercises which use these often engage important muscles like the glutes, biceps, triceps, chest and back muscles.

It’s always recommended that you start with the lighter weights and then work your way through to the heavier ones. You should also be extra careful not to put up much strain, as this might cause your muscles to wear off. In extreme cases, muscles may also tear. This is why you should take days off from your workout routine.

All in all, the hand weights can be very effective for all-round body workout. Everyone should perform these workouts at least once a week. It’s all about maintaining a steady workout routine and we hope that you’ll benefit from these hand weight exercises.

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