Indoor Gym: Free Weights

Dismiss free weights as the preserve of oiled-up gym bunnies at your peril - they improve stamina, technique and shed calories.

Posted: 4 May 2011
by Christopher Michaels

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Don't dismiss free weights as the preserve of oiled-up gym bunnies obsessed with six-packs and their reflection. Normal people can use them to burn calories and become stronger, which will help improve both technique and stamina for next season. Just don't overdo it - you're not trying to pack on huge amounts of muscle, so go for weights you can lift 10-12 times per set.

A helping hand across the disciplines

"You can improve your swimming by doing upper-body and shoulder exercises," says personal trainer Jason Anderson (

Other exercises can strengthen your legs and back - many cyclists suffer from back pain. "Do lunges and split squats, plus the superman for spinal mobility," says Anderson.

"One-legged deadlifts mimic the 'collapsing phase' of the run, when most of the energy goes through the lead leg. And extended abdominal work at the end of your routine will help to strengthen the core."
Sample sessions

Warm up by doing some light cardio work for 5-10 minutes. This will loosen up your muscles and raise your core temperature. When you're performing sets, do not use fast, jerky motions, because that's a sure way to hurt yourself.

Do not let your lower back do the work and if you feel pain, don't ignore it. Rest for 30-60 seconds between each set and for 1-2 minutes between each exercise. For each exercise use a weight that allows you to complete the required reps.

Picture credit: Thomas Northcut/ Getty Images

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