Hey Babes, thank you so much for joining us for another instalment of our Weights For Women blog series!
Today, our goal is to teach you the absolute basics of strength training and the types of equipment available, so we decided to put together a Beginners Guide to Strength Training & Equipment, so you can feel confident, capable, and in control no matter what training equipment you have access to.
Now let’s get down to some basics by reframing strength training!
Strength training, weight training, resistance training… These are three different names for any exercises that we do to strengthen targeted muscles. Strength training isn’t just for big, muscular men and women, and it doesn’t have to involve big weights, complex machines or lots of grunting and sweating – any time we are using some kind of resistance to strengthen our muscles, we are doing strength training! There is a whole range of equipment that we can use to strengthen our bodies, and since we want you to feel like total boss babes when you workout, we thought a quick lesson on the equipment that we use is a great place to start.
BBB Favourite Equipment
Now let’s talk about each…
One of our best resistance training tools is something we carry around with us every single day, and that is our own bodies! Using our own bodyweight can be a great way to challenge and strengthen our muscles – this is one of our favourite and of course most convenient pieces of equipment to use. Some of the bodyweight exercises we can do include squats, lunges, pushups, chinups, step ups, rows, glute bridges, planks, crunches, and many more! The downside of bodyweight exercises is that we don’t always have the option of making the exercise easier or harder, so for example a lot of people will really struggle to perform a bodyweight chinup, whereas bodyweight squats can quickly become too easy. This is where some of our other equipment can come in handy – keep reading to find out how!
These come a close second after bodyweight training for convenience and price! Exercise/resistance bands come in all shapes and sizes, and can be great for adding resistance to a movement (we LOVE using our booty bands). You can use bands to make bodyweight exercises more challenging or even easier, for example we can use a long resistance band to help us perform chinups. The downside to this piece of equipment is that some exercises with resistance bands can be a bit awkward to perform, and since we are relying on the elastic stretch of the bands for resistance, the bands might provide too much resistance during one portion of a movement, and not enough during another portion. Still, resistance bands are one of our favourite training tools when exercising at home, when travelling or in the gym and they are super versatile!
Dumbbells are another portable fitness staple that we love to use in our routines and our home program is based around using at least one set of them. Dumbbells are so useful to add resistance to upper body and lower body exercises, but they’re definitely one of our favourite ways to hit our upper body. If you’re investing in some for home training, we always recommend that you purchase them in pairs, and we would suggest that a great starting point would be to get a light pair and a heavy pair, possibly 3kgs and 6kgs or 5kgs and 8kgs are good set options depending on your strength level.
With a few sets of dumbbells, some resistance bands and our own bodyweight, we can get an absolutely killer workout in. We have spent years developing hundreds of programs for each type of session, so if you if any of the above equipment options seem suitable for you, we have a program to suit. Click here to read more about our Bodyweight, Booty Band, Home and Gym Programs.
Once you’re confident with these options, you can try kicking it up a notch with some heavier equipment like kettlebells and barbells.
These are another super handy and portable piece of gym equipment that you can use at the gym, at home, or when training outdoors. It’s basically just a weight with a handle. We love using heavier kettlebells to train our lower body, but with lighter weights we can also get an amazing upper body workout!
Let’s talk about the trusty barbell – our absolute favourite piece of equipment for building strength. All of our strength sessions in our Gym Programs are based around the main barbell movements – the squat and deadlift, and their variations. Barbells come in a few different shapes and sizes, but the two that you’ll need to look out for are the preset barbells, and the straight olympic barbells. Preset barbells are super handy because you won’t have to load and unload weight plates or worry about doing any math calculations to figure out what weight you’re lifting, but that doesn’t mean you should be scared of the olympic barbells! These bigger bars might look scary, but they are our key to lifting heavy weights babes! Barbells allow us to load up more weights and challenge ourselves with a huge range of exercises. Some of our absolute favourites are barbell squats, deadlifts, hip thrusts, good mornings and overhead presses. Before you use an olympic barbell, just make sure that you are able to lift 20kg in that exercise (as we discussed in our last blog. These bars are 20kg on their own so they do already have some weight behind them!). When using barbells, make sure you always use the collars, which are the little clips used to hold the weight plates on. Of course, lifting technique is so important too, so always make sure you are confident in the movement before adding any extra resistance.
Machine exercises are where you sit or stand in a machine and perform the exercise along the set path that the machine allows. We personally do not base our programs around machine exercises, primarily because we prefer to have control over the weight we are moving and be able to focus on the techniques that best suit our bodies, rather than be guided by the machines. Machines are also not widely available for most people, so we prefer to learn and perform the basic movements with the list of equipment mentioned above as they are more accessible to most and require the least amount of organisation. When we use machines in our gym programs, we use them to compliment the exercises performed with dumbbells, kettlebells and barbells (which are known as free weights). We will discuss this further in our next blog.
There you have it babes! This is definitely not an exhaustive list of strength training equipment, but these are our “bread and butter” training tools that we can use to build and strengthen our bodies.
To see how we utilise all of these types of equipment in our programming for ourselves and our babes, check out our BBB Online Programs and get started on your own training. Each of our programs run in 4 week phases and come with video tutorials, images and written descriptions, walking you through each exercise and giving you the knowledge and confidence you need to get training! We also have a private Facebook group – BBBVIP, for all of our babes to connect with us. This is a safe place for you to send in your lifting videos so we can check your technique and make suggestions on how to correct your form.
We hope you are feeling more knowledgeable and enjoying learning more about the world of weights. Stay tuned for our next blog where we share some more important things/common lingo to know when it comes to training with weights.
Sending you all so much love and strength,
Felicia & Diana xx
Your Online Personal Trainers