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Muscle Strengthening With Free Weights


In the following exercises, soup cans or water bottles can be used in place of weights. Try to use a weight that makes your muscle feel tired when you have repeated the exercise 8 to 12 times.

Chest fly

Picture of the chest fly exercise
  1. Lie on a bench or exercise ball, and hold the weights straight up over your chest. Do not lock your elbows. You can keep them slightly bent if that is comfortable for you.
  2. Slowly lower your arms, keeping them extended, until the weights are level with your chest, or slightly lower.
  3. Slowly raise your arms until you are in the original position.
  4. Repeat 8 to 12 times.
  5. Rest for a minute and repeat the exercise.

Lateral raise for the outer part of the shoulder (deltoid)

Picture of the lateral raise exercise
  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent.
  2. Bend your arms 90 degrees with your elbows at hip level. And with your palms facing in, hold the weights at your sides.
  3. Slowly lift the weights out to the sides to shoulder level, keeping your elbows bent. Keep your shoulders down and relaxed as you lift. If you find you are shrugging your shoulders up toward your ears, your weights may be too heavy.
  4. Slowly lower the weights back to your sides.
  5. Repeat 8 to 12 times.
  6. Rest for a minute and repeat the exercise.

Bicep curls

Picture of the bicep curls exercise
  1. Sit leaning forward with your legs slightly spread and your left hand on your left thigh.
  2. Hold the weight in your right hand and place your right elbow on your right thigh.
  3. Slowly curl the weight up and toward your chest.
  4. Slowly lower the weight to the original position.
  5. Repeat 8 to 12 times.
  6. Rest for a minute and repeat the exercise.
  7. Do the same exercise with your other arm.
ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerHeather Chambliss, PhD - Exercise Science
Last RevisedOctober 25, 2011

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