We know for that sexy, toned look women have to lift weights. And they have three options available: dumbbells, barbells and kettlebells. But which one, if any, are the best for women?
While not as heavy as barbells, they do allow for a wider variety of exercises, especially out to the side, such as with flys. Lunges, squats, deadlifts, rows and tricep overhead extensions are all good exercises to do with dumbbells. While dumbbells come in the 2 to 45-pound range, most women start in the low and work up to mid-range. Different exercises use different amount of weight. For example, bicep curls use 5 to 8 pounds in each hand whereas upright rows use only 2 to 5 pounds in each hand.
Barbells are more restrictive as far as the variety of exercises that can be done with them. And most of the exercises done with them are performed in a linear fashion. Push the bar up and control it coming down. Get the bar too far in front of you or too far behind and it is easy to lose control and possibly suffer an injury to yourself or someone else. Hence the value of using a spotter when applicable.
However, neither the dumbbell or kettlebell can match a barbell as far as the amount of weight that can be lifted. Plates usually come from 5 to 45-pounds in 5 pound increments. You are only limited by the length of the bar as far as how many it will hold. The beauty is it is very versatile – just change plates.
Often referred to as a cannonball with a handle, kettlebells are the latest fitness piece of equipment. And they do what the barbell and dumbbells can’t – allow for exercises that use swinging of the weight.
Kettlebells come in a variety of sizes from the small 4kg to 80kg in 4kg increments. Most women usually start out at the 8kg weight – 12 kg for the more muscular types.
The swing is a favorite beginner movement as it not only works the back, abs, core, glutes, hamstrings and calves, but the upper body as well as some added in cardio. It is perhaps an ideal exercise. Just Google “kettlebell swing” to see the starting position and how it is done.
As shown each type of weight equipment has its own use. As far as which one is best for women, the ideal program would incorporate all of them as that would be a strength training routine that would be the most balanced and work the most muscles.