exercise routine

So you want to lift free weights

If you've followed my writing for any length of time, you know that I'm a fan of using free weights (dumbbells, barbells, kettelbells) in my workouts. 

But it wasn't always like that.

In fact, when I first started lifting weights regularly, in the spring of 2010, I went to the top floor of the Holmes Sports Center on the campus of Simmons College in Boston and used all of the machines. I did what anyone else would do  - I went down the rows of machines and tried to hit all of the muscle groups. 

Eventually, after being fitness-shamed by one of my co-workers for not using free weights, I found a routine on About.com and made my way into the free weight room at Simmons. It was tiny, filled with mostly men, and there were no convenient instructions on what, exactly, I should do with said weights. 

The bar (pun intended) to entry for using free weights is much higher than that for using machines, but if you think you're ready to get started, I want to give you six exercises to get you started with free weights. 

This is how you can split them up (after you do your foam rolling and warm up).

For your first set, follow this format:

A1. DB Goblet squats 3x8
A2. Chest supported DB rows (or TRX rows) - 3x8
A3. DB Floor press 3x8

This means that you will do one set of 8 repetitions for the goblet squat, then one set of rows, then one set of the floor press. Once you’ve done each exercise one time for eight reps each, that is one set. Repeat two more times and then move on to your second set.

B1. Pallof Press 3x8
B2. DB Split Squat (or TRX Split Squat) 3x8
B3. Farmer’s carries (two DB’s of the same weight) 3x 30 seconds per carry.

Follow the same format as above.

DB Goblet Squats

Skip to the 1:00 part if you just want to move past the instruction and see the exercise.

Chest supported DB rows


DB Floor Press

Pallof Press

Skip to the 1:00 mark to see just the exercise.

DB split Squat

DB Farmer’s Carries