Check with your doctor to ensure that you are healthy enough to perform free weight exercises.
When exercising is something you enjoy, you tend to do it more often. In addition to aerobic exercises such as jogging, swimming or cycling, weight training at least two days each week is recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine to improve muscle endurance and bone strength. Supplement your regular exercise routine with several fun and interesting free weight exercises.
When the temperature is unforgiving but you still want to exercise outdoors, get a pair of aqua dumbbells and jump into the pool. In the winter, seek a heated indoor gym pool to perform this exercise. This upper body exercise is called standing chest flys. Step one foot forward in front of you while placing the other comfortably behind you, toes pointed forward. With a dumbbell in each hand, lift your arms up and out in front of you, about shoulder-height or just under the water line, with the dumbbells touching. Keep your shoulders back as you pull the dumbbells apart, slightly bending your elbows as you complete the motion. Stop when your arms reach out to your sides, then return the dumbbells back to the starting position through the same motion. This exercise works out your arm, shoulder, back and abdominal muscles.
Passing the Time
When you have down time, such as when you have bread in the toaster in the morning for breakfast or when you are waiting for a large PDF file to download for a work assignment, grab your free weights. Supplement your otherwise wasted time with a quick strength training workout. Do a few sets of an exercise such as hammer curls, concentration curls, tricep kickbacks and front raises. Do exercises that do not require a spotter and never attempt to lift more weight than you can handle.
While watching your favorite television show, get up off the couch during each commercial to perform a different exercise using your dumbbells or kettlebell. For example, during the first commercial, perform dumbbell bent-over rows. This exercise targets your biceps, tricep and back. First, lean your support arm and knee on your coffee table. Extend your arm that is holding the dumbbell straight down, hovering the weight above the floor. Bend at your elbow and pull the dumbbell straight up until it reaches your rib cage. Return your arm back down to complete a repetition. Alternate arms so that each arm completes three sets of eight repetitions. During the next commercial, perform two arm swings with a kettlebell. Squat down with your kettlebell between and slightly behind your legs, holding it in a tight overhand grip with both hands. Keep your arms straight and elbows locked as you power up with the weight, swinging it up to shoulder height before swinging it back down as you bend at the knees and return to the starting position.
Circuits and Friends
Create your own mini-circuit training event. Ask friends or family members to participate. Everyone should have an appropriately weighted pair of dumbbells. Make a sign for each station, such as lateral raises, tricep extensions, bicep curls and shoulder press. In between each station, set up additional exercises such as pushups, squats, mountain climbers and planks. Each person starts at a different point of the circuit, then moves to the next station after performing 10 to 25 reps with a 15-second rest in between each station. Participants should carefully bring their dumbbells with them as they rotate. Depending on how many stations and participants you have, you may want to rotate through the circuit more than once. Circuit training is an effective strength training and cardiovascular workout -- and working out with friends will motivate you to push yourself harder as you rotate through each station.