Resistance Training With Free Weights: Exercises

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Here are some examples of exercises for resistance training. Start each exercise slowly. Ease off the exercise if you start to have pain.

Your doctor or physical therapist will tell you when you can start these exercises and which ones will work best for you.

How to do the exercises

Chest fly

Picture of the chest fly exercise
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slide 1 of 3, Chest fly,
  1. Lie on a bench or exercise ball, and hold the weights straight up over your chest. Do not lock your elbows. You can keep them slightly bent if that is comfortable for you.
  2. Slowly lower your arms, keeping them extended, until the weights are level with your chest, or slightly lower.
  3. Slowly raise your arms until you are in the starting position.
  4. Repeat 8 to 12 times.
  5. Rest for a minute, and repeat the exercise.

Arm raise to the side (elbows bent)

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slide 2 of 3, Arm raise to the side (elbows bent),
  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Or sit up straight in a chair.
  2. Hold a 1- to 2-pound weight in each hand. The weight may be a dumbbell, a can of food, or a filled water bottle.
  3. Bend your elbows 90 degrees while keeping them at your sides. With your palms facing in, hold the weights straight in front of you.
  4. Slowly lift the weights and your elbows out to the sides to shoulder level, keeping your elbows bent. Keep your shoulders down and relaxed as you lift. If you find that you are shrugging your shoulders up toward your ears, your weights may be too heavy. Try using lighter weights (or even no weights).
  5. Slowly lower the weights and your elbows until your elbows are back at your sides.
  6. Repeat 8 to 12 times.

Biceps curls

Picture of the bicep curls exercise
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slide 3 of 3, Biceps curls,
  1. Sit leaning forward with your legs slightly spread and your left hand on your left thigh.
  2. Hold the weight in your right hand, and place your right elbow on your right thigh.
  3. Slowly curl the weight up and toward your chest.
  4. Slowly lower the weight to the original position.
  5. Repeat 8 to 12 times.
  6. Rest for a minute, and repeat the exercise.
  7. Do the same exercise with your other arm.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.