Adding weights to your workouts is a brilliant way to increase muscular strength, endurance, power, as well as muscle size too. Aside from all of those muscle-centric benefits, weightlifting also helps build bone density, improves heart health, aids postural imbalances and enhances motor performance.
No matter your age or fitness level, we recommend adding resistance training to your routine once or twice per week so you can reap all those health benefits. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be complicated; in fact, it can be as simple as incorporating weights to your current 8fit HIIT program. Try holding a kettlebell (or toddler) while doing squats and lunges or dumbbells while performing Russian twists or calf raises.
How weightlifting helps your day-to-day
Adding an extra load to a workout helps build strength and power, but before you do this, it’s important to learn how to lift properly. Learning to lift weights properly will ensure you don’t injure yourself when doing day-to-day activities like unloading the dishwasher, lifting your kids, or moving heavy objects. Keep the rule of threes in mind:
3-second rule: If it’ll take more than three seconds to bend down and pick up what’s on the floor (like a squirmy child), it’s best to perform a squat for this lift.
3 kg rule: A squat is the best position to lift something that weighs more than 3 kg (6lb). This'll help you lift with your legs instead of your back.
3 times rule: If you’re going to bend more than three times in a row, do squats or lunges for these lifts. If the objects are small or light, you could also do a golfer’s lift -- just make sure you alternate legs.
⅓ of your height rule: If an object is lower than ⅓ of your height, do a squat or lunge to pick it up. If an object is at knee height or mid-thigh, you could do a deadlift.
Will this HIIT workout with weights make me bulky?
You can rest assured that some of those weight lifting claims you’ve heard just aren’t true. First of all, it is possible to build muscle and increase strength without weights. Bodyweight exercises, like the ones in your 8fit program, are a fun way to do this. For example, you might start with push-ups on the wall and gradually make your way to the floor as you get stronger. Also, weight lifting won’t make you bulky unless that’s your goal. Getting bulky requires high-calorie and high-protein nutrition. Finally, weightlifting isn’t bad for your joints. In fact, it could be good for them (especially as you grow older).
Before you add any weight...
We always suggest practicing movements without weights first, only including weights once you perfect your form. It’s important to feel the movement first. Use a mirror to check in. When you do pick up some weights, start light. Once your form is correct and the movement feels good, increase the weight load. How much weight is enough? Learn how to choose a weight in our strength building article.
HIIT workout with weights: 8-minute routine
If you’re ready to add a full dumbbell workout to your routine, join coaches for a full-body, free weight workout. It’ll take about eight minutes to complete. We suggest you follow along and pause the video any time you need to rest. Next time you try it, see if you can move faster (but, only if you can execute the exercises with proper form).
Here’s what you can expect: nine different exercises broken up by thrusters. A thruster is essentially a squat paired with an overhead press at the top of the movement; a move a lot of our CrossFitters are familiar with. You’ll start with one thruster, then switch to exercise number one. Then, you’ll do two thrusters followed by exercise number two. Follow the pattern? Here’s the workout.
Exercise #1: Squats 10x
Exercise #2: Shoulder press 10x
Exercise #3: Lateral raises 10x
Exercise #4: Front raises 10x
Exercise #5: Back flies 10x
Exercise #6: Romanian deadlifts 10x (5x each side)
Exercise #7: Back lunges 10x (alternating legs)
Exercise #8: Tricep extensions 10x
Exercise #9: Renegade rows 10x