Free weights are the staple of any great men’s workout routine. From building stronger muscles, bones, and connective tissue to improving your physical appearance through increased muscularity and fat burning, the benefits of free weight exercises for men are nearly too numerous to list. In honor of that, we’re sharing five of the best daily free weight exercises for men to stay fit.
In general, free weight exercises are the most advantageous way to get the most bang for your buck out of your workouts. Free weight exercises use multiple muscle groups in each movement, allowing you to maximize the efficiency of each exercise. Additionally, free weight movements transfer better to everyday activities and athletic performance, so your gains are not just limited to appearance. For best results, you need to combine your workouts with high-protein meals, get plenty of quality sleep, drink minimal alcohol, and hydrate regularly.
The following are our five favorite free weight exercises for men to do daily to stay fit. If working out every day, perform one to two sets of 10 to 15 repetitions. If you space your workouts further apart, you can do three to four sets of eight to 12 repetitions. Rest for 90 seconds between sets. Aim to take at least one full day of rest each week.
The lunge is a versatile exercise that can be done anywhere, and it’s fantastic for developing strength and stability in the lower body. Lunges target the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves while also improving balance and core strength. Hold dumbbells in each hand for added resistance.
To perform a lunge, begin standing upright with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your arms extended by your sides. Step forward with your right foot, keeping your back straight and core engaged. Lower your body toward the floor by bending your right knee and pushing through your right foot, while also lowering your left knee toward the ground. Rotate your left foot inward slightly for optimal biomechanics. Once your right thigh is parallel to the ground and your left knee is about an inch from the floor, push through the full foot of your right leg to return to the starting position. Repeat for the target repetitions, and then switch legs.
Barbell back squats are foundational to any strength training routine. They work the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves, along with engaging the core and lower back.
To perform a barbell back squat, position a barbell at shoulder level on a squat rack. If available, set the safety pins just above waist level. Step under the barbell so it rests across your upper back, not your neck. Grasp the bar wider than shoulder-width with your palms facing forward. Unrack the barbell, and step back to clear the rack. Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Keeping your chest up and core engaged, bend your knees and hips to lower your body as if sitting back in a chair. Always push through the full foot, not just the heel. Push through your feet to return to standing. Repeat for the target repetitions.
Deadlifts are an effective full-body exercise, targeting the glutes, hamstrings, lower back, traps, and core muscles.
To perform a deadlift, stand with your mid-foot under a barbell. Bend at your hips and knees, and grasp the bar with a shoulder-width grip. Engage your core, keep your back straight, and begin to lift the bar by pushing through the full foot, extending your hips and knees. Lift the bar until you’re standing up straight. Your shoulders should be back and your chest out. Lower the bar back to the floor under control. Repeat for the target repetitions.
The shoulder press is an effective exercise for developing the deltoids, trapezius, and triceps, and engages the core for stability.
To perform a shoulder press, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a pair of dumbbells at shoulder level with your palms facing forward. Keeping your core tight, press the dumbbells directly overhead without shrugging your shoulders. Once your arms are fully extended, pause and squeeze for about one second. Lower the dumbbells back down to shoulder level. Repeat for the target repetitions.
Bent-over rows work the muscles in your back, including your lats and rhomboids, as well as your biceps and shoulders.
To perform a bent-over row, stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a barbell or set of dumbbells in front of you with your palms facing your body. Bend at your hips and knees, keeping your back straight, and lower your torso until it’s nearly parallel to the floor. Engage your core, then pull the weight up toward your abdomen, visualizing crushing a piece of fruit in your armpit. Avoid shrugging your shoulders during the movement. Lower the weight back down in a controlled motion. Repeat for the target repetitions.