If you asked me 10 years ago if I would ever regularly exercise I would probably have laughed and said no. So the thought of working the weights never occurred to me.
And even when I first started working out I wasn’t into weights. Cardio machines, especially the elliptical, were my exercise of choice. I added yoga and abs and eventually spin.
Once I worked in some weights work I was only comfortable with the machines.
Now I am comfortable working free weights in classes or on my own.
For the past couple of years I have added body conditioning into my exercise regimen, which is a mixture of cardio, weights, squats, lunges, etc.
Some of the classes I take regularly are pretty hardcore and push me to work hard.
What I know about working free weights (any weights or really any exercise) is that you should feel challenged. It shouldn’t be too easy or too hard, but just right. Momentum shouldn’t be used when lifting weights.
At the gym I notice huge dudes lifting weights while grunting and looking like they are about to kill themselves. In some of my classes I notice women lifting weights heavier than they can really handle.
The lede of Bodybuilding.com article, Form vs. Weight/Momentum is right on: Currently in any gym in the world, a person can walk in and find a lifter, regardless of gender, weight training with an unrealistic weight; throwing the weights around instead of focusing on form and maximum muscle contraction.
The article also says, exercises executed with heavy weight with good form will definitely improve your musculature, but excessive weight done incorrectly can have adverse consequences.
If you use too heavy of weight or not perform the exercise correctly you can pull a muscle or seriously hurt yourself. You should never feel pain when performing any type of exercise. Sensation yes, but pain no. Sensation is not the same thing as pain.
Not all of us can afford trainers. But taking classes can help teach you proper form. And there is tons of stuff online, OnDemand or on DVD that you can also work with.
One of my teachers says it should take effort to get to 12 of a weight exercise. If you can get to 12 easily your weight is too light. If you can’t perform 12 in the first rep, then the weight is too heavy. If a mirror is available watch yourself and make adjustments.
And as a huge advocate of yoga, there are so many poses that are weight baring where you can get your free weight workout in as well without lifting a single dumbbell.