Start Off Strong: 5 Hand Weight Tips for Beginners

| Fitness

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Regardless of the type of exercise, proper form is important if you want to see results and not get injured. Hand weights can be tricky if you’re just starting out. They’re a bit awkward to hold, especially if you’re holding the wrong weight for your level of fitness.

Follow these techniques for perfect form and get on your way to a stronger, toned body.

hand weights
(Photo: HellaWella)

1. Loosen your grip. There are a variety of grips you can do while lifting, but for beginners, it's best to keep your grip loose. You will build long, lean muscles by softening your grip this way. This technique is the best way to be certain that the targeted muscle groups are getting the workout, not your hands. Clenching tight on a hand weight can strain your shoulders, wrist and hands. Lighten up!

2. Remember to breath. It's tempting, but do not hold your breath while lifting. That can limit oxygen delivery to the brain and cause dizziness, fainting, a spike in blood pressure and other complications, says Spark People. Simply breathe in while lifting up and breathe out when you are lowering the weight.

3. Control yourself. Stay controlled when using your weights, no matter the size. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that you lower the weight slowly since you are working the same muscles as when you are lifting. To control speed of movement, try using a one-two-three count. The lifting-up phase should be completed quickly to a count of “one,” and the lowering phase should be completed slowly to a count of “two-three.”

4. Be mindful of your back. Do not arch, twist or overextend your back when lifting. And always lift with your legs when picking up your weights off the floor. Tightening your ab muscles will keep your core strong and your body balanced.

5. Use the right weight. Make sure you have the correct amount of weight that you can handle — don't worry about the weight other people are using! The Mayo Clinic says that the correct weight for you should be the one that's heavy enough to tire your muscles after about 12 to 15 repetitions. You should be just barely able to finish the last repetition.

Now that you're ready for your hand weights, try out this Armed and Dangerous workout:


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