5 of the Best Weight Training Exercises for Women

Is this the year you want to really get in shape? Well, we’re here with the best weight training exercises for women to help you do just that.

Don’t worry if you’re slightly intimidated by starting weight training for the first time either, it’s easier than it looks.

Also, forget about that myth that weight training makes women ‘big and bulky’ – that’s completely outdated.

It’s proven to benefit heart health, bone health, body composition, sporting performance, metabolism, injury prevention and mental health.

So if you’re heading for the gym, or working out from home, and are wondering what basic weight training exercise you can do, look no further.

We’ve got you covered below.

Our brand ambassador and Republic of Ireland soccer star, Rianna Jarret explains what her best weight training exercises for women are.

Oh, and by the way, you also might be interested in our Ultimate Guide to Doing Yoga at Home Blog?

Best Weight Training Exercises for Women

Dumbbell Chest Press

“Playing any kind of field sport, the dumbbell chest press is really important. Especially for me as a strike, it’s important to be strong in my upper body – my arms and my chest – in order to keep the defenders away from the ball.
“When you’re doing the exercise, it’s important to make sure you’re in control of the movement throughout the exercise and not letting the dumbbell swing or sway while pressing.

best weight training exercises for women

“Keep your feet plant on the ground, engage the core and try and aim for 90-degree angles in your arms when you are at the bottom of the lift.

“I like to do three sets of eight repetitions.”

One arm row

You will need a bench or sturdy platform to do this exercise. You need to keep two feet on the ground and one arm on the bench.

“It’s important to bring the dumbbell to your chest while concentrating the feeling with your back and shoulder muscles. So squeeze these at the top of the move.

best weight training exercises for women

“This is good for building a strong core a well and as a field sport athlete, helps me in keeping the defender at arms width.”

Seated Shoulder Press

You will need a bench or something similar for this exercise.

“Start off with a light weight to get the feel for the movement, making sure you get a full range of motion while staying controlled throughout.

best weight training exercises for women

“This exercise is very important for a footballer because I need to be strong in my shoulders to compete in the aerial battles.”

Tricep Extension

The start position for this exercise is very similar to the one arm row and all the same principles apply only you keep one knee on the bench too.

“The only difference is you’re starting at close to a 90-degree angle before sweeping the dumbbell back towards your feet and aiming to keep get your arm at 180 degrees.

“This is key for me as a footballer because upper body strength is such an important part of the game.”

Kettlebell/Dumbbell Squat

“Squats with a kettlebell train the legs dynamically while also engaging the upper back and shoulders. As you hold the kettlebell in front of you, they also put a strain on your core.

“Stand with your feet hip width apart to perform a kettlebell squat. Pick up your kettlebell with both hands and hold it close to your chest with the handle facing downwards and your hands around the primary section of the kettlebell.

“Squat with your chest high and back straight while holding the kettlebell close to your chest.

“Squats are really good because how they challenge your whole body throughout the exercise and are definitely one of the best weight training exercises for women.”

 

Check out the video of Rianna Jarrett below.

 

We hope this guide has given you some inspiration and guidance in kickstarting your weight training schedule.

If you’re not yet feeling comfortable to hit the weight rack, cardio and running exercise has a lot of health benefits too.

You can check out our home-gym and weight training accessories HERE or below.

best weight training exercises for women


How to use a Foam Roller

A foam roller is one of the most popular additions to any sportsperson’s kit bag these days.

That’s because it’s hugely beneficial to use before or after exercise, and ideal for those annoying muscle aches. It’s benefits include muscle tightness relief, reduced inflammation, increased flexibility and improved recovery. They’re also affordable, easy to store and portable.

Foam rolling is now being looked at as a necessity to include in your training schedule for quicker recovery, allowing you to get back to peak performance on the pitch or the track as quickly as you can.

In this blog, we’ll give you the lowdown on how to use a foam roller.

How to use a foam roller

When learning how to use a foam roller, it’s best to be overly mild rather than too intense when you’re just getting started.

As you gain a better understanding of how your body reacts, you can vary your intensity. In general, you’re going for a level of discomfort that ‘it hurts so good’.

Pushing through discomfort into true agony won’t get you there faster, but it will put you at danger of harm. When you roll too hard, you can really injure your muscles.

To use your foam roller, follow these steps:

  1. Identify the location of your muscle that is sore or tight.
  2. Slowly lower the targeted area until it is centred over the roller, keeping your body in control.
  3.  Lower your body onto the foam roller and hold it there until you reach a point of discomfort (but not pain).
  4. Hold the position for 20–30 seconds.
  5. The pressure is beneficial on its own, but you may also roll slowly back and forth to stimulate the area further.
  6. Continue rolling slowly along the muscle, stopping and holding in the regions that require extra attention

Experiment with tiny adjustments to your body position while using your foam roller to find the most effective technique. Also, remember to take deep breaths. Many people become so preoccupied with the sensation of rubbing a painful knot that they forget to breathe.

Check out this excellent full body rolling routine using the BackBaller roller:

Does a foam roller help back pain?

Foam rollers have long been popular among athletes and physical therapists, but they’ve recently gained popularity among non-athletes with back problems.
Foam rolling can help relieve back discomfort, but it’s important to perform it right or you’ll end up doing more harm than good.

If you have a pre-existing back or spine disease that is causing your muscular tightness, consult your doctor before starting any program to “treat” or “deal with” back discomfort. If you’re new to foam rolling, you might want to consider working with a physical therapist or trainer who can teach you how to use it properly.

A foam roller should never be used directly on the lower back. The use of a foam roller on the upper back is permissible since the spine is protected by the shoulder blades and muscles of the upper back. In the lower back, there are no structures that can help protect your spine from the pressure.

If you use a foam roller on your lower back, the spinal muscles may tighten, causing more harm than good, particularly if your back discomfort is caused by a lumbar spine disease. When rolling your back with a foam roller, stop when you reach the end of your ribs.

When most people use the foam roller to identify a knot or delicate spot, they tend to work on it for a long period, sometimes utilizing their full body weight to put pressure to the area. This may result in nerve or tissue damage as well as bruising. Excessive pressure applied while wincing in pain will not help; foam rolling might be uncomfortable, but it should never be unbearably painful. Working on a tender region should take no more than 15-30 seconds.

You should roll at a speed of no more than one inch per second. Slowly moving allows your muscles to adjust to the pressure and relax.

The types of foam roller

There are different types of foam rollers on the market and it is a good idea to know what the best model is for you and when to use it.

If you’re in the gym looking at the different foam rollers or in-store looking to buy your own, have a read through the different types below to give you more of an insight.

how to use a foam roller

 

Low-density rollers

These are lightest and softest foam rollers you can find and are great if you have sore muscles after an intense workout. You can work your way to a firmer foam roller as your muscles recover.

Firm rollers

This is the densest foam roller you’ll usually find and perfect for athletes who need a quick recovery time. It offers a deeper concentrated release on the muscles working out knots and trigger points. Remember this will be a more intense workout so if you find it too sore opt for a lower density foam roller. Some people like the added soreness on their muscles so this all depends on what’s right for your muscles when using it.

Bumpy rollers

These are probably the most common foam rollers you see. It is designed with some texture and bumps on the foam roller to really dig into your knots and trigger points to get that release. Some muscles like the shoulders have more knots than others so this is great for releasing tension in these areas.

Back Baller

The BackBaller is a foam of a bumpy foam roller with a structured operating system that allows easy control. It get’s teeth into the muscles for an even greater self Myofacial release.

You can take foam rolling to the next level with the BackBaller, by putting you in total control over the force applied in an unprecedented secure and comfortable manner. The BackBaller is specifically designed to self-treat muscles in your upper & lower back. Due to the stability & control offered it goes beyond really kneading out those muscle groups.

What is Myofascial Release Therapy?
Myofascial release is a form of soft tissue massage intended to support pain relief, increase range of motion, and balancing of the body. Techniques can include manual and self-massage.

 

Take a look at our selection of foam rollers In-store or online HERE. Free delivery on standard delivery’s when you spend €60 or more.

how to start foam rolling


What Is A Tempo Run?

So, you know what it feels like to run at a leisurely pace and probably at full throttle too, but are you still confused as to what is a tempo run?

Basically, a tempo run is the middle ground of the aforementioned paces and is excellent for building endurance and speed, while not being as tough on the body.

Sounds good, right?

What are the benefits to Tempo Runs?

Tempo runs should be a part of your weekly workout schedule.

Just like trail running, which we covered a in a previous blog, tempo runs are a great way to freshen up your training.

These workouts will help you learn how different paces feel and will help you become more aware of your own talents (and limits).

what is a tempo run

 

They also improve mental toughness, which is beneficial when trying to go further or quicker and they also develop capillary beds (which supply oxygen to active muscles) more effectively than simple exercises.

By routinely doing tempo runs during your training, your body (and mind!) will know that it is a task that can be accomplished on race day. You’ll know what speed works best for you and how long you can push yourself–also known as your threshold pace.

While also establishing capillary beds (which supply oxygen to exercising muscles) faster than easy or hard runs.

How do I do a Tempo Run?

Okay, so you’re sold on the advantages of a tempo run. But how do you go about doing a tempo run?

Tempo runs are best done once you’ve established a running base. That is, don’t make this your first run after a 6-month break! This workout is best done on your middle distance run (typically in the middle of the week).

Baby steps.

what is a tempo run

 

Establish a Start with a dynamic warm-up and some gentler kilometres to loosen yourself. Finding the correct tempo pace may take some trial and error, and it also depends on the distance you’re training for.

Keep in mind that we’re looking for a 6-8 out of 10 effort. You can maintain closer to a 6 out of 10 if you’re training for a marathon, whereas a 5k or 10k runner might push closer to an 8.

Tempo Run Workouts For You To Try?

Spruce up your workout this week with one of the following workout routines.

Lactate-Threshold Run

What exactly is it? A workout at a speed that produces and removes lactate (a metabolic by-product of exercise) at a nearly equal rate.

When it builds up in the blood quicker than your body can eliminate it, you begin to slow down. This workout teaches your body to maintain the fastest speed where the blood lactate levels remain constant for extended periods of time.

Confused? Don’t be.

what is a tempo run

 

 

The Workout: Warm up for 20 minutes with easy running, then run for 20 minutes at a pace you think you could maintain for an hour. You should only be able to speak in short bursts. Cool down by running for 10 minutes at a slow pace.

Race-Pace Run

What exactly is it? A workout in which you practice running at the pace you want to run in a marathon or half marathon. You’re basically educating your body how to efficiently utilize lipids and carbohydrates on race day.

The Workout: Every three weeks, replace your typical long run with one that includes a race-pace portion every three weeks.

Warm up for 3km, then run at race pace for 9 to 12km (depending on where you are in your training), then cool down for a 1.5k if you’re preparing for a half marathon.

Warm up for 3km if you’re training for a marathon, then work a race-pace block of 9 to 23km into a long run.

 

And don’t forget to warm up!

Some simple exercises can include:

what is a tempo run

  • 20 arm circles, each direction
  • 20 arm swings
  • 20 leg swings, each leg
  • 10 hip circles, each leg clockwise and counter-clockwise
  • 10 active pigeon stretches, each leg
  • 10 bootstrappers
  • 10 burpees
  • 10 air squats
  • 4 rounds of squat walks

 

So get out there and freshen up your workout with a few tempo runs and see can it benefit you in the long run (no pun intended!).

Let us know your feedback.

And, for all things Running, visit our website right here:

what is a tempo run


How To Start Trail Running: A Beginner’s Guide

Want to bring some more excitement to your running? Well, trail running might just be the new adventure you’ve been looking for and we’ll show you how to start.

If you’re a seasoned road runner runner looking to broaden your horizons and discover new routes, or a novice new to the sport, this guide will tell you everything you need to know about how to start trail running.

If you’re completely new to running, don’t worry – check out our ultimate guide to running for beginners. 

So, let the adventure begin.

What is trail running?

Trail running is, quite simply, a run taking in the heart of nature.

It’s like a hybrid between running and hiking, with a bit of cross country thrown in there for good measure too. You get the cardio workout of a road run, build leg strength through ascents and descents, while all the time being surrounded in the most beautiful of scenery.

how to start trail running

That doesn’t mean you have to be high in the mountains to go trail running; rugged terrain, forests, even sand dunes at beaches can all classify as trial running.

It requires more concentration as well as more upper body work in maintaining your balance on descents or gaining momentum on ascents.

And don’t forget to watch your footholds.

But the real beauty of trial running is that times aren’t necessarily the be-all and end-all; trial running allows you to get some exercise in perfect harmony with the natural environment.

 

Top Tips for trail running?

So you know what trail running is, now you’re probably wondering how to get started?

And don’t worry if you’re still a bit apprehensive of giving it a try, these tips will help ease that worry.

Sounds good?

Tip 1: Find a trail

If local geography isn’t your strong point and you’re unsure of where to find trails – fear not.

There’s loads of really good websites that will do the hard work for you, such as Sport Ireland’s Find Your Trails, or Trail Running Ireland.

If that doesn’t work, speak to some of your local running clubs to pick their local knowledge brains.

Tip 2: Focus on time, not distance

While some of you runners might be able to break the 20 minute mark for a 5 kilometre road run, the same distance could take you twice as long on a trail.

how to start trail running

 

So before you head out, consider how long you want to run as opposed to the distance.
That last thing you want to do is tackle a run that is beyond your capabilities.

Tip 3: Keep your eyes on the trail

Trail running offers rugged terrain and injuries can occur if you’re not concentrated on where you are placing your foot. So try and avoid looking around at your surroundings until you have stopped or are walking, because a misstep can lead to a bad injury.

 

Tip 4: know the route

If you’re tackling a route for the first time, make sure to bring a map of the area or run with someone who knows the area.

You don’t want to get lost!

If you are going running on your own, it’s very important to let someone know where you plan to run or even leave a note in your car at the trail head. Of course, safety is numbers is always the safer option, but we know that isn’t always possible.

Oh, and most GPS watches can allow you to load the route into them too, so check out our guide to finding the best smartwatch for running here.

 

 What you need to start trail running?

As we now know, trail running is different to road running, so there are a few essentials you will need before you hit to hills and forests.

Check them out below:

how to start trail running

  1. Trail running shoes: your lightweight racing flats might help to smash your 5k time, but they will not be suitable for trails. A shoe with good support, stability, grip and comfort is absolutely essential. We have a wide range of trail running shoes that will suit all shapes and sizes, so make sure you do your home work on the trails you will be running to find one that suits your needs.
  2. Smartphone: Accidents can happen, and if that rare instance does occur, you will need to be able to contact someone for help. Unlike road running, there’s a good chance you might be the only person in a large vicinity, so you can’t count on someone coming along and helping you if you get in trouble.
  3. Food and water: It’s hugely important to eat and drink before your run, during and after. So bringing a small hydration pack, that includes an electrolyte replacement in your water and an energy bar or energy gel to top up the energy stores.
  4. Suitable clothing: Always be prepared for what the elements might bring. It’s not unlikely you could get the four seasons while out on a trail. So wind jackets, tights and caps may be a necessity.

 

The benefits of trail running?

There’s no doubt about it, running a nice scenic trails beats slogging it out on a treadmill any day of the week. And there are so many health benefits to running, according to our running expert, Killian Byrne.

Agree?

If so, here are some of the many benefits to trail running.

  1. Mental workout: Navigating the ups and downs of trails will get your brain working in a whole new way. Rather than switching off from the world, you have to really focus on the moment and this can be a really positive boost for you.
  2. Physical workout: Overall, trial running can be much better for your fitness that road running. The resistance of the hills will work wonders on your legs, while the uneven ground can improve flexibility, balance and ankle strength. You’ll also develop better agility due to the fluctuation in stride lengths needed, while down hill running can even improve your speed.
  3. Mental health: Getting out in the fresh air, seeing some countryside and nature and giving you much-needed head space can have a massively positive cognitive response. Try it and we guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
  4. Less impact: Running on the grass, mud and earth is easier on the body than tarmac and concrete. So why not give your joints and bones a break from the impact of road running and swap it for something more gentle. Your body will thank you for it.

 

Conclusion

So with all this in mind, we feel you are ready to take on the trails and experience something new.

We’ve got you covered at Elverys.ie for anything you need.

Make sure you let us know in the comment section your favourite trails.

how to start trail running

 

 

 

 

 


30 Minute Swim Workout To Mix Up Your Routine

If you’re stuck in a rut with your training or just want a change, this 30 minute swim workout might just be for you.

Designed by Speedo, there is a 30 minute swim workout for every level of swimmer.

Improve your swimming technique, burn calories, build strength and stamina, and tone-up with a swim program.

Sea swimming is also excellent your body and mind, check out our Guide to Sea Swimming Blog HERE. 

30-minute swim workout to help you get fitter, stronger and leaner

A session in the pool is a sure-fire way to shape up and get fit.

Swimming boosts your metabolism, works almost every muscle in your body and is a great way to support your weight loss goals – an easy 30-minute swim workout can help to trim your waist and hips and can burn around 300 calories.

But without a program it’s easy to waste your time in the water – here’s how to plan your pool time for maximum results.

  • Why workout in water
  • How to get started
  • Which strokes to swim
  • Swimming further and faster
  • Improve your swim technique

Before you start the workout, why not remind yourself of the Health Benefits of Swimming in this Blog. 

What are the benefits of a 30 minute swim workout?

Swimming is a great workout for your heart and your muscles, yet it’s relatively kind to your body because it puts less stress on your joints than weight-bearing exercise like running or working out in the gym.

All that kicking, pulling and pushing is like a mini-resistance workout that targets your arms, shoulders and glutes and it’s fantastic at working your abs, or core, too.

A swim program can help improve your fitness, your times and technique, and your enjoyment in the pool.

How do I start swimming?

If it’s been a while since you’ve swum, start slowly. Swimming is unlike any other aerobic workout: because water is denser than air it takes more effort to move through it, which in turn makes it really hard work.

Your lungs also need to adjust to a new way of working because, unlike on land, you can’t just breathe in and out as and when you like.

The key to starting to swim for fitness is to break up your pool session into small chunks, or swimming sets.

Mixing it up using different strokes, drills and different intensities is more interesting and a better workout. And, because your heart rate stays high for around 30 seconds after a swim effort, there’s no shame in taking a rest.

Which strokes should I swim?

Start with a stroke that you feel comfortable and confident swimming, whether that’s front crawl, breaststroke or backstroke.

Swim for as long as you can, then take a rest.

When you feel ready, go again, and repeat the process for at least 20 minutes. Stamina will come but don’t expect to be swimming for a full half hour straight away.

How do I build strength and stamina in the pool?

It can help to decide how many lengths you can do then break this into a short warm-up, main set (a set of repetitions, such as 20 x 25 meters) and a short warm-down.

Each time you get in the water aim to increase either the length of the main set, the distance of each repetition, or the speed of each repetition.

Alternatively, reduce the time you take for your rest interval between each set.

How can I improve swimming my technique?

Getting your breathing right is crucial to swimming well.

Many people worry about swallowing water when they breathe in but it’s breathing out that’s crucial to being a better swimmer. Exhaling at the right moment during your stroke will make your swimming smoother and stronger.

Good rhythm and timing is also essential to becoming a better swimmer.

If you’re splashing and thrashing to the other end of the pool try slowing it down and counting each stroke. Once you’ve found a smooth rhythm and your arms and legs are working together gradually increase the tempo – you’ll soon speed up.

30 Minute Swim Workout 1: Building stamina

This half hour pyramid swim workout aims to build strength and stamina by gradually increasing the distance and time you swim.

Take a short break after each repetition and use the clock on the wall to keep an eye on your times.

Target distance: 850m

Target time: 30-minutes

Warm up 200m

1 x 100m Front crawl

2 x 50m Back stroke

Main set 450m

1 x 50m Front crawl. Try and swim a little faster than in the warm up.

2 x 50m Breaststroke. Aim to swim the second half faster than the first.

1 x 50m Front crawl. Aim to swim the second half faster than the first.

2 x 50m Breaststroke. Aim to swim the second half faster than the first.

3 x 50m Front crawl. Aim to swim the second half faster than the first.

Cool down 200m

1 x 100m Backstroke

1 x 100m Front crawl

30 Minute Swim Workout 2: Building technique

Performing a variety of kick exercises is a great way of increasing both leg and core strength. Aim to maintain your intensity throughout.

Target distance: 900m

Target time: 30-minutes

Warm up 200m

1 x 100m Front crawl

2 x 50m Breaststroke

Main set 500m

4 x 50m Front crawl. Elongate each stroke by reaching forward.

2 x 50m Front crawl with a kick. Hold a kickboard (or float) vertical in front of you, with half the board under the water on the second length of each 50.

2 x 50m Backstroke with a kick. Hold a kickboard (or float) vertical in front of you, with half the board under the water on the second length of each 50.

1 x 100m Front crawl. Fastest possible speed taking the fewest strokes.

Cool down 200m

1 x 100m Breaststroke. Steady.

1 x 100m Front crawl. Steady.

 

Conclusion

**Disclaimer – Always consult a qualified medical professional before beginning any nutritional program or exercise program. The exercise suggestions are not intended to substitute for proper medical advice**

 

30 minute swim workout

 

*Blog produced by Speedo®


The Final VHI WMM Update

Our VHI Women’s Mini Marathon ambassador Hayley Coleman gives us her final training update before the big day on June 5th. Hayley, a professional make-up Artist is no stranger to the Mini Marathon, having completed it last year, calling it ‘one of the most amazing experiences’

After months of preparation, she is nearing the end of her training and is intent on besting her time from last year. Her personal goal this time around is to hit 10k in the 50’s and we have no doubt that she can do it! With less then a week to go, we sat down with the Westport native to see how she has been getting on.

“My training is pretty much done and I cannot believe at how far I have come in the few months.’‘ Along with her busy schedule Hayley’s training consisted off 2/3 5k runs a week along with strength and circuit classes. As well as the training plan Hayley also signed up for a few local races to help with her preparation and helps build confidence.

Intersport Elverys Ambassador Hayley Coleman VHI Mini Marathon

Hayley explains ‘I try to combine this with strength and circuit classes, just to change things up and give me myself a bit of variety.’ Having this variety helps keep the training interesting and Hayley also gives some advice to any new runners or any ladies taking part in the mini marathon.

‘Pick a spot up ahead and run to that spot and if you have to stop do, but only for a short while. The clock is still ticking.’

Hayley went on to add: “If you feel like you are lacking the motivation it’s important to push through and you will feel the benefit from it. It was important for me in preparing not to deprive myself as you want to enjoy my training; moderation and balance are key.”

Hayley also gives praise to her local Intersport Elverys, who were always on hand to help out ‘I have to make a big shout-out to all the staff in my local store, they have been great; always on hand to give me advice on what the best footwear is and what clothing is appropriate for my training.’

With the Mini-Marathon a few days week away Hayley’s last minute advice is ‘I am going to take it easy this week maybe a few gym sessions and eat well and sleep well as that is so important.’

So ladies, don’t forget to visit Elverys.ie or pop into your local store for any expert advice or last minute needs for the big day.

Best of Luck to Hayley and all the ladies who are taking part on the 5th of June. Enjoy your day!