Free weights, adjustable hand weights and all manner of strength training equipment do have their place, but do you know the reason why you work out?
The fitness industry is filled with people with good intentions but misguided philosophies. How often do you look at an ad that promises you the world? Lose x number of pounds in just 6 weeks, develop the muscular frame you’ve always wanted in just 5 minutes a day, exercise that does the work for you all you need to do is step on…etc
Do you understand your bodies physiology and its response to the demand that you put on it?
I know it wasn’t until the last couple of years that I stumbled into this science. Fitness at its very core is about health. Any program that deviates from this tenet is inherently dangerous. If you are out to simply build muscle you can do it the wrong way and tax your kidneys and liver while doing it. If you are out to lose as much weight as possible, you can do that in a way that sabotages your internal body weight compass and lead you down a path of disaster and often more weight gain.
Health is the priority, has been and always will be.
So when it comes to talking about hand weights, how many pounds or lbs you should use, whether free weights are better or should you use dumbbells one thing is of paramount importance and that is your end game.
Why do you want to use the adjustable hand weights?
Is it strength training? Is it as an enabling exercise to help you build the right muscles so you can then perform a different more sophisticated movement? Is it merely to get larger forearms? Is it for the perfect squash shot you saw on TV that you want to emulate?
Whatever the reason, you need to think of your body as a whole package. I could introduce you to hand weights by valeo which are amazing. There are other neoprene grip dumbbells that do exactly the same. The important part is not the equipment (although the right equipment will help make your journey just that much smoother).
I would like you to disband sports based fitness, body sculpting and fat loss as your primary exercise goals. I don’t say this lightly because having been in the industry a while I know that most people are motivated by the belly bulge that is right in front of them or the scrawny reflection that comes off a mirror. Motivation in whatever form it comes in is an invaluable tool which when harnessed correctly can produce mind blowing results.
What does putting health first look like?
Lets say you are motivated to lose 10kg of weight so that you can fit in an old pair of jeans that bring back nostalgic memories. Having that motivation is powerful and because you read my article you decided to enhance your long term goal towards health.
You learn that the body is supposed to be symmetrical, there is a left and right side, we are essentially a paired organism. You learn that your body is not compartmentalized, i.e. the neck is connected to the shoulder which is connected to the torso which is connected to the pelvis etc. In other words, we are an integrated being from top to bottom, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. This means that you can overtrain one aspect of your physique and completely neglect another which is a dangerous thing to do.
You find out that your body has a rhythm and that it isn’t as simple as train one day rest the next or merely rotating muscle groups one each day for 6 days with 1 days rest. You learn that you have to perform general conditioning exercises in order to create a baseline off of which you then follow more specific/specialized training to enhance the skills you already have.
You learn that your best training equipment is your body, that grip strength, shoulder power, thigh strength are all related and in most cases you don’t need any further equipment.
You find out that recovery is an active process requiring you to perform movements to direct blood flow towards the muscles that have been challenged so that waste products can be removed and nutrients delivered to speed up repair.
Best of all you learn that you are what you eat and that by choosing carefully you can increase muscle mass without compromising on the sweeter things in life.
The price you pay for health is not the price of the item. Getting fit is as much about having the right information as it is having the right tools. The devil really is in the details and having a specific program that you work towards will ensure you develop general body conditioning that is functional on top of which you can stack more and more skill as well as strength.
The beauty of this approach is that your physique, your weight will start playing along and move towards your ideal. You no longer have restrictions of where you go to exercise, whether it be at home or outdoors, you know exactly what to do.
So when you understand this philosophy, ask yourself, ‘why do I need that valeo neoprene hand weight?’, will having a dumbbell set at home really give me the results I want? Is using weights the right way to approach my health goal? Can I achieve my health goals without a neoprene dumbbell?
The answer you will find is both intuitive and flexible. For me a pair of adjustable ankle and hand weights is not necessary, what about you?