Weight Training For Dummies®, 2nd Australian & New Zealand Edition

Table of Contents

Weight Training For Dummies®, 2nd Australian & New Zealand Edition


missing image file

About the Authors

Georgia Rickard
Georgia Rickard is an Australian-born journalist, author and media commentator best known for her practical, down-to-earth approach to health and fitness. Her first experience with weights involved tripping over a barbell and spraining her ankle.

Since then, she has become a lot more familiar with the weights room; working as a health and fitness journalist for titles such as Cosmopolitan, CLEO, Women’s Health, Prevention, and the Sunday Telegraph. She has also been editor of Australian Healthy Food Guide magazine, worked as a policy advisor on health and nutrition for the NSW State Government opposition, and is a regular health commentator on Australian radio and TV.

Georgia keeps fit with a combination of weight training, yoga, walking, skateboarding, skiing and dog-chasing; the last of which is undertaken mostly in parks and shopping centres after her two pups Alfie and Kingston. Her ankle has made a full recovery.

Suzanne Schlosberg
Suzanne Schlosberg is a magazine writer known for her humorous approach to health and fitness. She is a contributing editor to Shape and Health magazines and co-author of Weight Training For Dummies and Kathy Smith’s Fitness Makeover. She is also the author of The Ultimate Workout Log, Second Edition, and an instructor in UCLA Extension’s Certificate in Journalism Program.

Suzanne writes frequently about her fitness adventures — from her failed tryout for The American Gladiators to her record-setting victory in Nevada’s Great American Sack Race, a quadrennial event in which competitors run 5 miles while carrying a 50 pound sack of chicken feed on their shoulders. Suzanne also has chronicled her two bicycle treks across the United States.

A Los Angeles native, Suzanne refuses to walk anywhere, including to Starbucks, one kilometre from her house — to which she commutes daily in her sports utility vehicle.

Liz Neporent
Liz Neporent is a certified trainer and president of Plus One Health Management, a fitness consulting company in New York City. Her job is to make sure the members of more than a dozen fitness centres in hotels and corporations throughout New York are happy, motivated and exercising on a regular basis.

Liz is co-author of Abs of Steel, Buns of Steel: Total Body Workout and Weight Training For Dummies. She also wrote Fitness Walking For Dummies. Additionally, she is the Gear Editor for Shape magazine and a regular contributor to The New York Times. She appears regularly on TV and radio as an authority on fitness and exercise.

Liz is an avid runner and has competed in more than two dozen marathons and ultra-marathons. She’s also a devoted sports climber, walker, hiker and weight trainer. She lives in New York City with her husband, Jay Shafran, and her greyhound, Zoomer.

Authors’ Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank Richard Miller and The Gym Source of New York City for providing exercise equipment for many of our photos. We’re also grateful to Arthur Belebeau and Daniel Kron for their wonderful — and speedy — photography and to Chris Gristanti, who generously donated several photos. Trotter Fitness Equipment provided additional photographs.

Many thanks to all the models who appeared in this book. Your time, patience, and of course, images are much appreciated. The models are Patty Buttenheim, Aja Certain, Terry Certain, Katherine Cole, James Gaspard, Debbie-Deb Hanoka, James Jankiewicz, Spike Jozzino, Subhash Mandal, Amy Ngai, Nancy Ngai, Nicholas O’Sullivan, Alicia Racela, Fred Reid, Doris Shafran, Jay Shafran, Bob Weiter, Carrie Wujeik and Norman Zinker.

Thanks, also, to Reebok for providing clothing and shoes. Some additional clothing was provided by Everlast, Nike and Brooks.

From Georgia
Firstly, I am grateful for the expertise and advice of Nicholas O’Sullivan, who is surely Australia’s most informed and useful exercise physiologist (and not too bad looking either, as you can see from some of the pics in this book!). I’d also like to thank Kelly Baker for her wise words in the previous edition; Danielle Tibbles, without whom none of this would have been possible; and the following gems who I am lucky to be surrounded with in everyday life: Alex, Dan, Em, Geri, John, Jono, Kylie, Lex, Liv, Mandi, Maya, Will and Zoe. Last but absolutely not least, I can’t say thank you enough to the beautiful team at Wiley Publishing Australia, Rebecca, Hannah, Jenny and Zoë: you’ve all been an absolute dream to work with.

From Liz
Much gratitude goes to my family, especially my husband Jay Shafran who is supportive beyond belief. Thanks to Suzanne Schlosberg the best writing partner ever. Ever! I would also like to acknowledge the following people who are forced to put up with me in some way: John Buzzerio, Nancy Ngai, Linda Strohmeyer, Patricia Buttenheim, Jimmy Buff, Jimmy Rotolo, Stephen Harris, James Jankiewicz, Bob Welter, Subhash Mandal, Holly Byrne, Grace De Simone and Zoomer.

From Suzanne
It would be impossible to find a better writing partner than Liz Neporent. She knows so much, works so hard, and accepts the fact that I will never, ever like her dog. I also want to thank my agent, Felicia Eth, for being on the ball. Alec Boga did a stellar job as my supervisor, and Nancy Gottesman was always there to entertain and distract me. As always, I’m grateful to my family for their support.

Publisher’s Acknowledgements

We’re proud of this book; please send us your comments through our online registration form located at .

Some of the people who helped bring this book to market include the following:

Acquisitions, Editorial and Media Development

Project Editor: Jenny Scepanovic

Acquisitions Editor: Rebecca Crisp

Editorial Manager: Hannah Bennett


Cartoons: Glenn Lumsden

Proofreader: Liz Goodman

Indexer: Karen Gillen

The authors and publisher would like to thank the following copyright holders, organisations and individuals for their permission to reproduce copyright material in this book.

• Page 14: © Anthony Mayatt/iStockphoto

Every effort has been made to trace the ownership of copyright material. Information that will enable the publisher to rectify any error or omission in subsequent editions will be welcome. In such cases, please contact the Permissions Section of John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd.


When the first edition of Weight Training For Dummies was published in the US, lifting weights was on the verge of becoming a mainstream phenomenon. Women, Baby Boomers, seniors — all of these groups were starting to get the message: Hoisting hunks of iron benefits everyone, not just bodybuilders with shoulders wider than the wingspan of an aeroplane.

Today weight training has become even more popular. Most gyms now offer personal training, provide classes on weight training, and have their weight training section patronised not just by oversized men in training for roles in The Incredible Hulk — but women, too.

However, just because weight training has become more popular doesn’t mean it has become any less intimidating for novices. It’s only natural for a beginner to be baffled by the equipment and the lingo. You may look at a barbell and wonder how you’re going to lift the thing while remaining on good terms with your lower back muscles. You may stare at a weight machine and wonder which end the homemade pasta comes out of. You may wonder what it means when a trainer says, ‘Do three sets of eight reps on the Lat Pulldown and then super set with the Seated Row.’

In this second edition written specifically for Australians and New Zealanders, we don’t just give you the knowledge and the confidence to start a weight training program either at home or at a gym. We also describe more than 150 exercises, including a combination of the latest moves and classic exercises, provide exercises suitable for novices and veterans alike, and update you on the latest in weight training equipment, websites, DVDs, research and gym classes. Plus, we address pressing questions, including:

check.png What’s the key to building strength and tone without getting bulky?

check.png Can any nutritional supplements actually help you build muscle or burn fat?

check.png Which gives you better results: free weights or machines?

check.png Should you do yoga and Pilates in addition to weight training?

check.png Should you wear a weight belt and gloves or are these accessories just for show?

check.png Can you trust weight training information you read on the internet?

check.png How do you distinguish the qualified trainers from the quacks?

check.png What should you say if a fellow gym member asks to use the machine you’re using?

check.png If you’re overweight, should you lose weight before you lift weight?

In Weight Training For Dummies, we tell you about safe weight lifting techniques, steer you toward equipment bargains, entertain you with stories about fellow lifters and inspire you to keep pumping iron when you’d rather pump a keg and fire up the backyard barbecue. In fact, we take care of just about everything except lifting the weights. We figured we’d save that job for you.

What Weight Training Can Do for You

We all have different reasons for wanting to lift weights. Undoubtedly, many of these reasons have to do with looking better. Sculpted arms and toned ‘abs’ have become something of a fashion statement. But we can think of more compelling and, ultimately, more satisfying reasons to lift weights. Here’s a reminder of what weight training can do for you:

check.png Keep your bones healthy. The average woman loses about one per cent of her bone mass each year after age 35. Men are susceptible to brittle bones, too. Lifting weights can drastically slow the rate of bone loss — and may even reverse the process. With strong bones, you won’t become hunched over as you age, and you’ll lower your risk of life-threatening fractures. No matter what your age, it’s never too late to start strengthening your bones.

check.png Help control your weight. When you lose weight through dieting and aerobic exercise (such as walking or bicycling), you lose muscle along with fat. This can be a problem: When you lose muscle, your metabolism slows down, so you’re more likely to regain the weight. By adding weight training to the mix, you can maintain (or increase) your muscle and thereby maintain (or even boost) your metabolism. Although weight training is no magic bullet for weight loss, many obesity experts consider it to be an essential part of any weight control program.

check.png Increase your strength. Lifting the front end of a fire engine may not be among your goals in life, but a certain amount of muscle strength does come in handy. Weight training makes it easier to haul your stacks of newspaper to the recycling bin and drag your kids away from a video game. Studies show that even 90 year olds can gain significant strength from lifting weights.

check.png Boost your energy. Forget about dodgy dietary supplements. One of the best energy boosters around comes not in a bottle but on a weight rack. When you lift weights, you have more bounce in your step. You can bound to the bus stop or sail through your company’s annual charity walk-a-thon.

check.png Improve your heart health. For years we’ve known that aerobic exercise such as walking, jogging and cycling can lower your risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. But new research suggests that weight training may offer these benefits as well. Specifically, studies show that lifting weights can lower your risk of having a heart attack or stroke by lowering your LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol and reducing blood pressure.

check.png Improve your quality of life. Any activity that accomplishes all of the above has to make you a happier, more productive person. (Research suggests that weight training can even relieve clinical depression.) Of course, hoisting hunks of steel is no instant cure-all, but you’d be surprised at how much satisfaction a pair of 5 kilogram dumbbells can bring into your life.

How to Use This Book

You can use this book in several ways:

check.png If you’re a novice, we suggest you start by reading Parts I and II — these parts get you comfortable with the equipment, the lingo, the safety basics and the etiquette. Then skip to Part IV, which explains how to design a weight routine that meets your needs. (You may want to refer back to this part every now and then.) Then go back to Part III, which shows you the exercises. In your spare time, like when you’re not busy lifting weights, hit Parts V and VI.

check.png If you already know an E-Z Curl bar from a horseshoe grip and know that in the weight training world, a circuit has nothing to do with electrical currents, you can go straight to Part III and find numerous exercises for each body part. You may also want to focus on Part IV, which describes how to combine these exercises into a routine that fits your schedule and your equipment preferences.

check.png No matter what your level of knowledge about weight training, you can always use this book as a reference. Flip to the index and look up any specific topic, such as hamstring stretches, fitness magazines or high-protein diets.

How This Book Is Organised

Weight Training For Dummies is divided into six parts. In general, you can read each part — or any chapter within it — without having to read what came before. When you come to a section that does require prior knowledge, we refer you to the chapter that provides the background. Here’s a rundown of each part.

Part I: Stuff to Know Before You Pick Up a Weight

Lifting isn’t one of those activities like, say, hopscotch that you can competently engage in after a one-minute explanation. Before you hop aboard the Leg Press, you need to know a bit of weight training jargon and understand key safety precautions. This part explains terms such as power cage, spotter and plate-loaded weight machine — terms that you can use to impress guests at your next cocktail party. This part also teaches you how to test your own strength and chart your progress in a weight training diary.

Part II: Weight Training Wisdom

In this part, we offer insight into the less technical aspects of weight lifting. We clue you in to equipment bargains, help you size up health clubs and warn you about smarmy salespeople. We tell you which DVD instructors to invite into your living room, which group strength training classes to avoid and how to recognise a quality trainer. We also fill you in on the finer points of weight training etiquette, like what to do when a gym member is hogging the Butt Blaster.

Part III: The Exercises

We suspect this part is what prompted you to buy the book. Here we demonstrate a wide variety of exercises for all your major muscle groups. Each chapter includes a muscle diagram (so that you can locate your ‘quads’ and your ‘delts’) and an ever-so-brief physiology discussion. We demonstrate exercises for novices and veterans, home lifters and gym members. We also explain how to modify many of the exercises if you have trouble with your back, your knees or other joints.

Part IV: Designing Your Workout Program

You can’t combine any dozen exercises and call them a workout any more than you can throw on random articles of clothing and call ’em an outfit. To get good results and avoid injury, you need to carefully select your exercises. In this part, we explain the essential elements of any weight routine. Then we explain how to custom design a program so that it suits your goals and your schedule.

Part V: Beyond the Barbell

Pumping iron will get you only so far. To get healthier and look better, you also need to eat sensibly, regularly engage in aerobic exercise and stretch your muscles. In this part, we explain how to balance your weight workouts with the other important components of fitness. We debunk myths about stretching, and we explain just how much walking, stairclimbing or swimming you should do each week. We introduce you to yoga and Pilates, two popular disciplines that can complement your strength workouts, and we show you several exercises to improve your balance and coordination. We also set the record straight on the pills, powders and potions sold at gyms and health food stores.

Part VI: The Part of Tens

This part is a hodgepodge of important weight training subjects. We recommend ways to educate yourself about weight training, such as reading fitness magazines, participating in internet advice boards and spying on fellow health club members. We describe common weight training errors and warn you against bogus gizmos, including electrical stimulation devices that claim ‘You quickly shape up doing nothing at all!’

Icons Used in This Book

No For Dummies book would be complete without our signature icons. Here’s a list of the ones we use in this book.

missing image fileWe use this icon when we tell a true story, like the time Liz snapped her face with a rubber exercise band, the time Suzanne carried a 23 kilogram sack of chicken feed for 8 kilometres and the time that one guy we know got stuck under a barbell — and waited for 20 minutes before calling for help.

missing image fileThe Myth Buster superhero rescues you from misleading notions, fighting for truth, justice and a good weight training workout. For example, he points out that high-protein diets are not the key to weight loss and that abdominal training will not eliminate your love handles.

missing image fileWhen you see the Tip icon, you know that we’re pointing out an especially helpful weight training hint or giving you a headstart on an effective strategy.

missing image fileThe Warning icon warns you about the con artists lurking at the depths of the fitness industry, hawking useless gadgets like electronic muscle stimulators. We also use this icon to signal mistakes that can cause injury, such as bending your knees too far or lifting too much weight.

Special Icons

The following icons are used primarily in the chapters that demonstrate exercises: Chapters 8 through to 15.

missing image fileThis officer is on the posture beat, reminding you about good technique so that you don’t become the proud new owner of a sprain, tear or worse. He tells you when to keep your shoulders relaxed, your abdominal muscles tight and your knees bent.

missing image fileThis Joint Caution icon suggests that you skip or modify the exercise if you’ve ever injured the joint indicated, such as the knee or lower back. Even if you’ve never suffered an injury, pay special attention to the joints in question and watch out for any discomfort.

Part I

Stuff to Know Before You Pick Up a Weight

Glenn Lumsden

missing image file

‘Safety tip: Choose your spotter wisely.’

In this part . . .

Part I takes the intimidation out of weight lifting. You get a description of the major weight training tools: Dumbbells, barbells, weight machines, rubber tubing and a few other mysterious contraptions you’re likely to come across at a gym or a sports store. You also get a crash course in safety so that you don’t crush your fingers in a weight machine or whack a fellow lifter in the ribs with a barbell. In addition, you find out how to track your progress in a weight training diary and how to test your muscle power on a variety of equipment. And for the few, the proud, the ambitious, we list the physical requirements for entrance into some physically challenging professions.