Glossary of resistance training exercises

Frequently used weights exercises defined

When starting out in weights resistance training, it is important to know the key differences between certain types of workout. To help avoid confusion, here's the realbuzz.com glossary of key resistance training exercises.

Adductor cross-over exercise

Stand sideways next to a chair, with the chair touching the side of your thigh. Lift your leg that is next to the chair and place your foot firmly on the seat. Use this leg to pull yourself up until you are standing on the chair seat with both feet. Shift your bodyweight to the other leg and lower your opposite leg to the floor on the other side of the chair. Repeat.

Adductor press exercise

Sit on an adductor press machine, positioning your legs in the two cradles. Hold the handgrips if required to brace the body. Slowly bring the legs together against the resistance and return to the start position at the same speed.

Back extension exercise

Lie face down on the floor, arms parallel with your sides, head and neck in line with the spine. Lift the shoulders off the floor by contacting the erector spinae (lower back muscles) and keeping the head and neck in line with the spine. Lower the shoulders to the floor under control and repeat.

 

Biceps curl exercise

With a bench inclined to approximately 60 degrees, sit well back with your feet flat on the floor. Start with arms fully extended and curl the weights upwards towards the shoulder. Keep your elbows tightly tucked into the body and avoid hitching the shoulders to generate more lift. Lower the weights under control and repeat. 

Calf raise exercise

Stand upright on a step on the balls of your feet, heels hanging over the edge. Remaining on the step, slowly lower your heels towards the floor until a stretch is felt in the calves. Return to the start position and then push up onto the toes as high as possible. Return to the start position. For variation, hold dumbbells or execute the exercise on one leg at a time.

Chest press exercise

Lie on your back on a bench with your head supported and feet flat on the floor. Push the bar away from the chest until the arms are almost fully extended but not completely locked out, to protect the elbow joint from damage. Return the weight under control to approximately 15cm above the chest and repeat.

Dumbbell row exercise

Lie face down on a stability ball, feet braced against the skirting board. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, just clear of the floor, with your arms down at your sides. Slowly lift the dumbbells vertically up to your shoulders, keeping the elbows high throughout the movement. Focus on squeezing the shoulder blades together when the dumbbells reach the shoulders then slowly lower the dumbbells back to the start position, keeping the elbows high throughout the movement. Repeat, always controlling the movement.

Frontal raise exercise

Stand with feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, shoulders back, arms hanging down in front of your thighs. Holding a Dumbbell in each hand, slowly lift your arms until they are horizontal and in front of your body. Lower the weights back to your thighs under control.

 

Hamstring curl exercise

Lie face down on the hamstring curl machine and hook your heels underneath the two pads. Hold onto the handgrips if required. Slowly lift your heels up towards your thigh, pulling in as far as possible. Lower the weight under control back to the start position.

Lat pulldown exercise

Sit upright on the lat machine seat with your feet flat on the floor. With a slightly wider than shoulder width grip, pull the bar down as shown in the picture, returning it to the start position under control before repeating.

Lateral raise exercise

Stand with feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, shoulders back and arms by your sides. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, slowly lift your arms out from your sides, keeping them in line with your body at all times. Continue lifting the arms until the underside of your upper arm is horizontal. Return the weights to your sides in a controlled movement.

Leg press exercise
Setup: Sit in the leg press machine with both feet flat on the footplate. Release the seat mechanism so that the seat slides down towards the footplate and you are in a tucked position.
Action: Push on the footplate, moving your body backwards until your legs are almost locked out. Return to the tucked position under control and repeat.

 

Oblique crunch exercise

Sit on a stability ball and twist your body around so that one hip is positioned on top of the ball. Brace your feet against the bottom of a wall. Slowly lower your body towards the ball until you feel a stretch from the armpit to the hip on the opposite side. Lift your body up to a vertical position to complete one movement. Always return to a fully stretched position each time.

Press-ups exercise

Start Position: Knee down with your palms flat on the floor, slightly wider than shoulder width apart and in line with your head. Extend one leg behind you, bracing the ball of the foot on the floor. Do the same with the other leg, keeping your feet and legs together.

Action: Keeping your torso rigid, contract your core muscles and lower your body towards the floor until your nose is just above floor level. Ensure your body doesn’t sag. Pushing off the floor, return your body to the start position making sure that you keep your torso completely horizontal.

Modification: If the full press-up above is too challenging, modify the start position by remaining in a kneeling position without extending your legs behind you. Lower your body to the floor and return to the start position as before.

Reverse flye exercise

Balance on the stability ball as shown in the picture with the feet braced on the floor. Elevate the arms to shoulder height and squeeze the shoulders together. Keep the elbows slightly bent to protect the elbow joint again. Return the weights to the start position under control and repeat.

 


Shoulder press exercise

Sit upright on a bench with your feet flat on the floor. Starting with the weights at ear level, push the arms up above the head until they are almost fully locked out (protecting the elbow). Return the weights under control to the start position and repeat.

Sit-ups exercise  

Lie on your back on the floor, feet flat, knees bent, shoulder width apart. Position your fingertips just forward of your ears. Keeping the head and neck in line with the spine, lift the shoulders up off the floor, contracting the abdominals. Lower the body to the floor under control and repeat. Avoid hooking the feet under a stationary object, which will work the hip flexors rather than the abdominals.

Squat exercise

Position a stability ball against the small of your back and lean onto the ball against a wall. Keep your feet shoulder width apart. Slowly lower your body until your knees make a 90 degree angle. Return to the start position. Add weight with dumbbells if necessary.

Triceps press exercise

Lie flat on a bench with your head supported and feet flat on the floor. Point your elbows at the ceiling and tuck your arms in close into the body. Straighten your arms (but stop short of full extension to protect the elbow joint), pushing the weight up towards the ceiling. Lower the weights under control and repeat.

Wrist curl exercise

Kneel in front of a bench holding a light dumbbell in each hand. Support your forearms on the bench, leaving your wrists protruding over the edge. Lower the weights as far as your wrists permit and then curl the weight back up towards the forearm.

The plank exercise

  • Lie face down on the floor
  • Position elbows directly underneath shoulders, tucked in to the sides, arms flat on the floor and pointing ahead
  • Bring legs and toes together
  • Lift body up from the floor, balancing upon toes and forearms
  • Fully contract core muscles in towards spine

Key coaching points:

  1. Practice either with a partner to monitor position or next to a gym mirror to ensure body is kept horizontal from shoulders to ankles.
  2. Ensure head is kept aligned with the spine.

Progression:

Work towards maintaining the position for 60 seconds.

 

Stability ball floor bridge exercise

  • Lie face up on the floor, arms outstretched either side of the body
  • Position heels on the ball, toes pointing at the ceiling
  • Lift body off the floor
  • Form a straight line from shoulders through to ankles
  • Contract core muscles and keep pelvis elevated to maintain correct position

Key coaching points:

  1. If the standard floor bridge position is too challenging, reposition feet so that ankles and calves are supported by the ball.
  2. As core strength increases, revert to solely heels on the ball.

Progression:

Gradually bring arms in towards body until eventually they can be lifted off the floor together, leaving only the shoulders in contact with the floor.

Walking lunge exercise  

From an upright standing position, stride forward with one leg. In the same movement, lower your body until your rear knee is slightly above the floor. Push off with your rear leg and stride forward with the other leg, repeating the movement. Continue as you move forwards.

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