Making the Most Out of Light Weights or Limited Fitness Equipment
Last updated: January 2021
Since the early days of the pandemic, there have been big shortages of fitness equipment. Many things contributed to this but not limited to: many people started working out at home and are doing it still, leading to an unexpected surge in demand for fitness equipment and a supply shortage, and there is a limited workforce with pandemic restrictions.
Dealing with limited fitness equipment availability
I travel around the country for a living and I notice everywhere I've been, all the more advanced fitness equipment is always gone, except some fitness bands and lightweight dumbbells - around 5 pounds give-or-take. I have been lifting heavy for years and luckily I already owned fitness bands and 15-30 pound dumbbells. The problem is that those are outdated for me as I've progressed way beyond those weights before the pandemic ever happened. Please follow along here as I discuss ways to make lighter weights work for you.
How to make the most of your light weights
If you're an intermediate or advanced lifter, regardless of gender, then light weights aren't really gonna do much for you without some ingenuity to make it harder. Here are some examples of making it more difficult to stimulate the muscles:
- Do as many repetitions as you can until your muscles are fatigued (yes, even light weight will fatigue your muscles after doing enough repetitions).
- Perform static lifts with the light weights (hold the lift in place till muscles fatigue like when doing planks or holding a push-up).
- Use a partner to push/hold against your lifts to add resistance or do it yourself with a free hand if you can.
- Use those fitness bands with the light weight dumbbells or kettlebells to increase resistance. You can wrap a fitness band around your upper back and hold with hands as you do push-ups to add resistance. You can also use both light dumbbells and fitness bands together when doing squats or shoulder shrugs.
- Use everyday items around your household to lift if you have no equipment.
These strategies saved me from losing my strength when the gyms were closed or I couldn't get to one. These tips are also great for those who just want to workout at home.
The benefits of weight training for type 2 diabetes management
First and foremost, it builds stronger muscles and bones. It also greatly affects blood glucose. Muscles primarily use glucose for energy due to the fact they use type 2 muscle fibers which I describe in greater detail in the article Insulin and GLUT4.
Cardio and resistance training are both important. But I do hear from women that they are afraid they'll get big muscles that they don't want. Women just don't produce enough testosterone to get really big muscles and those who do, male or female, have been training really hard for years. While women can get big muscles, it's much harder without testosterone (male sex hormone).
What's your exercise routine?
Please feel free to share your stories of how you managed or still manage to get your exercise in this pandemic world we live in now. And please consult with your healthcare professionals before you start or stop any physical fitness routine. Stay safe and exercise within your ability.
Do you find it difficult to "eat right" and stick to a nutrition plan?