these are the top 8 to try, according to a top PT

  • Marie Claire gets the nod from its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission on some of the items you choose to purchase.

  • Sarah Lindsay, celebrity PT and co-founder of ROAR Fitness, shares her go-tos.

    So you’re keen to introduce strength training into your fitness routine but are a little apprehensive? Gym anxiety, see you. Enter stage right, nine of the best weightlifting exercises, recommended by certified PT and celebrity fitness go-to Sarah Lindsay.

    So why weight training? There are several reasons, PT explains. “In addition to helping you achieve aesthetic goals and boost your confidence, strength training can improve your balance, increase your exercise performance and also result in a higher metabolism,” explains Lindsay.

    The former three-time figure skating Olympian continues, “There are so many benefits to strength training. It’s beneficial for everyone, no matter what your goals are.”

    How about this workout? There’s a reason it’s her go-to. This rope-heavy full-body blaster will see you get stronger week after week as you steadily increase the weight of your dumbbells, she continues.

    Sarah, the queen of lifting to be thin, trains stars from Vogue Williams, to Pixie Lott, to Nick Grimshaw, and swears by what she calls “scientifically sound, progressive strength training” combined with “well-coached and well-executed nutritional principles.”

    Keep scrolling for her go-to weightlifting exercises.

    I’ve tried strength training but haven’t noticed a difference – help!

    So you’ve bought a gym membership or at-home weights, streamed a YouTube workout, and given strength training a shot. Haven’t you noticed a difference in your strength or confidence yet? Lindsay thinks it might be because you haven’t reached your technique.

    “To continuously increase strength, you need to gradually overload the muscles,” she explains. “To do this, you need to increase both the resistance and the weight. The stronger you get, the more training intensity you can create, and the harder you can work, the faster the results.”

    She adds: “Once strength is built, it’s much easier to maintain than results from a cardio workout, so a strength training session like this will benefit your training long-term even if you take time off.”

    8 strength training exercises to try tonight

    Your need to know:

    • Length: 45 minutes with 5 minutes on each side to warm up and cool down.
    • Rounds: 15 reps of each training 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
    • The rest: Allow 60 seconds of rest between reps.
    • Equipment: 5-10kg dumbbells, depending on the exercise. (Not sure what weight to choose for your workout? “Weight is controlled by reps, so ideally you can reach 13 reps but only do 15 reps,” advises the pros).

    A1 – Dumbbell Deadlift

    a. Grab your dumbbells and lower your hips back and down.

    b. Lift your chest, pull your shoulders back, and drop your hips back and down, while holding both dumbbells.

    c. Brace your core and drive evenly through your feet to stand up.

    d. Reverse the movement and lower your dumbbells toward the ground (but don’t quite touch it) with control.

    Try this: Imagine closing a car door with your bottom,” advises Lindsay.

    A2 – Dumbbell Chest Press

    a. Lie on a bench or chair with your knees bent. Hold your dumbbells at shoulder height.

    b. Set the shoulder blades back and down and press both dumbbells up to the ceiling.

    c. Slowly lower your weights back to the starting position and repeat.

    Try this: “Aim at your breast- muscles by bending the elbows slightly and not locking out at the top,” advises the PT.

    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 almost on the floor and your weight is almost on your front leg.

    c. Drive through the front foot to lift yourself back to the starting position, remembering to keep your weight on the front leg.

    Try this: Do you struggle with balance? “Just use your body weight before adding dumbbells,” says Lindsay.

    B2 – Seated Dumbbell Press

    a. Sit on a chair and 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 starting position and repeat.

    Try this: “Press your feet into the floor to create a solid base to push from,” advises the pros.

    C1 – Goblet Squat

    a. Hold a dumbbell to your chest. In terms of position, you should bend your knees and lower your hips as if you were sitting on a chair.

    b. When you reach 90 degrees, drive back to standing. Repeat.

    Try this: “Keep your chest up and remember to put your weight back into your heels as you drive up to avoid tipping forward,” advises Lindsay.

    C2 – One 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. Drive the dumbbell up and back toward the hip, squeezing the back muscles (lazy) at the top of the movement.

    c. Slowly lower the dumbbell back to start. Repeat.

    Try this: “Instead of rowing your dumbbell straight up, imagine it’s moving in an arc toward your hip,” says Lindsay.

    D1 – Lying Dumbbell Triceps Extension

    a. Lie flat on the floor and hold the two dumbbells straight above your chest.

    b. Bend your elbows to slowly lower the weights toward your forehead.

    c. Straighten the arms back to complete the movement and repeat.

    Try this: “Keep elbows tucked in and pointing forward—try to resist flaring out to the sides,” advises 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, roll the weights up to just below shoulder height.

    c. Remember to contract your biceps at the top of the curl. Then slowly lower the dumbbell back to the bottom of the position.

    Try this: Do not lift the dumbbells too high at the peak of the rep, aka the top. “Always aim to keep the tension on your biceps as well,” shares Lindsay.

    Ready? Happy sweating.

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