Sarah Lindsay, celebrity PT and co-founder of ROAR Fitness, shares her go-to's.
So, you're keen to introduce weight training into your workout routine but a little apprehensive? Gym anxiety, we see you. Enter stage right, eight of the best weight lifting exercises, as recommended by certified PT and celebrity fitness go-to Sarah Lindsay of ROAR Fitness.
So, why weight lifting? There are several reasons, explains the PT. "As well as helping you to achieve certain aesthetic goals and boost your confidence, strength training can improve your balance, boost your workout performance, and result in a higher metabolic rate, too," explains Lindsay.
What about this workout? Well, there's a reason it's her go-to. This rep-heavy full-body blaster will see you getting stronger week by week as you steadily increase the weight of your dumbbells, she continues.
Sarah, the queen of lifting to be lean, trains stars from Vogue Williams, to Pixie Lott, to Nick Grimshaw and swears by what she calls “scientifically sound, progressive weight training” combined with “well-coached and well-executed nutrition principles.”
Keep scrolling for her go-to weight lifting exercises.
I've tried weight training but haven't noticed a difference - help!
So, you've bought a gym membership or weights for at home, streamed a YouTube workout, and given strength training a go. Not noticed a difference in your strength or confidence levels as of yet? Lindsay reckons it may be because you haven't got your technique nailed.
"To continually increase strength, you need to progressively overload the muscles," she explains. "To do this you need to increase both resistance and weight. The stronger you become, the more training intensity you can create, and the harder you are able to work so the quicker the results."
She adds: “Once built, strength is far easier to maintain than results from a cardio workout so a weight training workout like this will benefit your training long term even if you take time off.”
8 weight lifting exercises to try tonight
- Length: 45 mins with 5 mins either side to warm up and cool down.
- Rounds: 15 reps of each exercise pair (A1 and A2, B1 and B2, C1 and C2). Repeat three times. Finish with 15 reps of the D set (D1 and D2). Repeat three times.
- Rest: Allow 60 seconds of rest between reps.
- Equipment: 5-10kg dumbbells, depending on the exercise. (Not sure which weight to choose for your workout? "The weight is guided by the reps so ideally, you can reach 13 reps but only just make 15 reps," advises the pro).
A1 - Dumbbell deadlift
a. Grab your dumbbells and lower your hips back and down.
b. Lift your chest, retract your shoulders, and sit your hips back and down, all while holding both dumbbells.
c. Brace your core and drive evenly through feet to stand up.
d. Reverse the movement and lower your dumbbells towards the ground (but not quite touching it) with control.
Try this: Imagine you’re shutting a car door with your bum," advises Lindsay.
A2 - Dumbbell Chest Press
a. Lie on a bench or chair with your knees bent. Hold your pair of dumbbells at shoulder height.
b. Set your shoulder blades back and down and press both dumbbells up to the ceiling.
c. Lower your weights slowly back to the starting point and repeat.
Try this: "Target your pectoral muscles by bending elbows slightly and not locking out at the top," the PT recommends.
B1 - Front Foot Squat
a. Start in a position with your chest high and your back straight.
b. Brace your core and lower yourself forward and down until your back knee is nearly on floor and your weight is almost all on front leg.
c. Drive through the front foot to lift yourself back up to start position, remembering to keep your weight on the front leg.
Try this: Struggling with balance? "Use only your bodyweight before adding dumbbells," Lindsay says.
B2 - Seated Dumbbell Press
a. Sitting on a chair, hold a pair of dumbbells at shoulder height with your palms facing forward.
b. Brace your core and, with control, press both weights overhead.
c. Lower your dumbbells back to the start position and repeat.
Try this: "Push your feet into the floor to create a solid base to push from," advises the pro.
C1 - Goblet Squat
a. Hold a dumbbell against your chest. Position-wise, you should be bending your knees and lowering your hips as if you were about to sit on a chair.
b. When you reach 90 degrees, drive back up to standing. Repeat.
Try this: "Keep your chest up high and think about sitting your weight back into your heels as you drive up to avoid tipping forward," Lindsay advises.
C2 - Single Arm Dumbbell Row
a. Place one knee and one hand on the seat of a chair for support. Hold the dumbbell in the opposite hand and at arm's length.
b. Row the dumbbell up and back towards your hip, squeezing your back muscles (lats) at top of the movement.
c. Slowly lower the dumbbell back to start. Repeat.
Try this: "Rather than rowing your dumbbell straight up, imagine it moving in an arc towards your hip," says Lindsay.
D1 - Lying Dumbbell Tricep Extension
a. Lie flat on the floor holding the two dumbbells straight above your chest.
b. Bend your elbows to slowly lower the weights towards your forehead.
c. Straighten your arms back up to complete the movement and repeat.
Try this: "Keep your elbows tucked in and pointed forward - do try and resist flaring out to the sides," recommends the PT.
D2 - Seated Dumbbell Curl
a. Sit on a chair with a dumbbell in each hand.
b. Keeping your back flat against the back of the seat, curl the weights up to just below shoulder height.
c. Remember to contract your biceps at top of curl. Then, slowly lower the dumbbell back to the bottom of the position.
Try this: Don’t lift the dumbbells too high at peak of rep, aka the top. "Always aim to keep tension on your biceps, too," shares Lindsay.
Ready? Happy sweating.
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Ally Head is Marie Claire UK's Senior Health, Sustainability, and Relationships Editor, nine-time marathoner, and Boston Qualifying runner. Day-to-day, she works across site strategy, features, and e-commerce, reporting on the latest health updates, writing the must-read health and wellness content, and rounding up the genuinely sustainable and squat-proof gym leggings worth *adding to basket*. She's won a BSME for her sustainability work, regularly hosts panels and presents for events like the Sustainability Awards, and saw nine million total impressions on the January 2023 Wellness Issue she oversaw. Follow Ally on Instagram for more or get in touch.
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