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Little Weights, Big Gains

Little weights, big gains
(Image credit: Unknown)

Bigger isn’t always better. To get the most out of your workouts you don’t always have to fight over the heaviest weights in the gym – sometimes all you need is a couple of 1kg dumbbells.
 
These surprisingly challenging exercises, provided by former elite-level Olympic weightlifter turned coach Mike Causer, will help to improve your muscle mobility and posture and prepare the body for dynamic compound exercises that will pack on muscle.
 
"Without good posture and range of motion your form can suffer when training," says Causer. "This can also affect your range of motion in your daily life. Improve your posture and your workouts can be intense and your ability to sustain a good volume of training will become far easier. The results: better strength gains, better fitness levels and ultimately, you'll achieve your goals faster and more easily and will stay injury-free."
 
So remember the weights don’t need to be heavy. They don’t need to be pink either – that’s just our personal preference. 

Once you've tried the two shoulder exercises below, have a go at Causer's YTWL workout, which will strengthen your lower back muscles and improve your posture.

Pinch Rotation

Use this move to increase flexibility and reduce the chance of a shoulder injury.

"It will improve the rotation of your arm, stretching out your shoulder and helping prevent injuries to that joint," says Causer.


Sets 3 Reps 8 (each arm)

  • Hold the bottom of the dumbbell between your thumb and first two fingers with your arm outstretched. 
  • Using slow and controlled movements, rotate your whole arm one way as far as you can and then back the other way so you feel a stretch but still have control of the weight. 

Shoulder Retraction Arc

Do this move to strengthen and protect your shoulders.

"This will help you reduce shoulder injuries by increasing the mobility of the joints," says Causer.

Sets 3  Reps 10

  • Hold the dumbbells above you with your palms facing behind you and your biceps in line with your ears. 
  • Aim to keep your palms pointed behind you throughout as you bring your straight arms down beside you.

Sam Rider is an experienced freelance journalist, specialising in health, fitness and wellness. For over a decade he's reported on Olympic Games, CrossFit Games and World Cups, and quizzed luminaries of elite sport, nutrition and strength and conditioning. Sam is also a REPS level 3 qualified personal trainer, online coach and founder of Your Daily Fix (opens in new tab). Sam is also Coach’s designated reviewer of massage guns and fitness mirrors.