How to Use Weights at the Gym Like a Boss
The weight room can be a stinky, smelly place without a lot of friendly faces, and it can be intimidating especially to weight-lifting beginners. But pumping some iron is required if you want that powerful action star body (hello, Cara D). While you can lift weights in the comfort of your own home, two women want to empower ladies to grab those barbells by the horns and take over weight rooms all over the world.
Olympic weightlifters Erin Parker and Nidhi Kulkarni launched Spitfire Athlete, an app with step-by-step workout plans designed to help women build confidence and reach their fitness goals. The pair developed the resource because most information about building muscle was geared towards men. Products that they found for women prioritized weight loss and aesthetic goals over performance (and yes, far too much cardio). “The products were geared towards the audience that has been buying strength resources for a longer time,” Parker says. “Competitive powerlifting wasn’t open for women until 35 years ago, so it’s only now starting to trickle down.”
For easing into the weight room, Parker and Kulkarni (pictured above) recommend starting with just the barbell and adding weight as you get used to the motions. Their beginner’s workout, “The Warrior,” uses four lifts combined with warm ups and cool downs that strengthen a range of muscles. “These lifts require you to use your body as a unit to move a mass, and this is what creates full-body strength that athletes use,” Parker says.
“We believe that if every woman went through one of these linear strength progressions and realized how strong she could become, it would open her eyes to see how powerful she really is.” Scroll on for four powerful exercises that focus on strengthening, rather than increasing mass.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, with your toes pointing out at a 30-degree angle. The key is parallels. You want your feet to align with your knees when you lower yourself down. Make the thighs parallel to the ground and push off with your heels. Try three sets of five reps.
Hold onto the barbell with an overhand grip. Check that your elbows are pointing straight to the floor, not diagonally like chicken wings. Lift the bar up until your arms are fully extended, lower it down and press it back up. Try three sets of five reps.
You might want to grab a friend to spot you for this one. With your feet flat on the floor, lay back on the bench. Grip the bar so your forearms are perpendicular and just slightly wider than shoulder-width distance apart. Unpack the bar. Now puff up your chest — that adds support for your upper back — and push the bar up. As you lower the bar, your elbows should form a 90-degree angle. Try three sets of five reps.
With your feet shoulder-width apart, bend over and grab the bar, which should be in front of your feet. Raise your chest up and lift the bar. It should feel like you’re pressing your feet into the ground. Keep your tush engaged for the entire lift. Try one set of five reps.
(Photos via Spitfire Athlete)
Pocket doors are so delightful in and of themselves. They appear when you need them, get tucked away when you don't, and make it easy to define rooms while keeping an open floor plan. Add to the pocket door a joyful patterned wallpaper surprise, and you will be sent right into fits of visual jubilation! Or something ;) Today we're sharing two simple and impactful pocket door makeovers that zhuzh up your space in a jiffy.
Anjelika Temple here, co-founder of Brit + Co and proud owner of several pocket doors! When I moved into my first real grown-up house a couple years ago, I knew I wanted to incorporate wallpaper so reached out to our friends at Chasing Paper to see how we might collaborate. It felt like a total lightbulb moment when I realized I could create a surprise pop of pattern on a couple sets of pocket doors.
Not only is it a whimsical way to bring color into a space, but the doors double as picture-perfect backdrops for all your SFH (selfies from home, obvs).
A few pro tips about install:
- Removable wallpaper is miraculously forgiving! You can take it on and off multiple times without it losing integrity (or mucking up your surface).
- I ordered this adhesive wallpaper installation kit with a squeegee and xacto knife and it worked super well. I also recommend a sharp pair of scissors for cutting longer lines.
- This is a two-person job! Get a friend, put on a playlist, and get ready to bond.
- Wild, organic patterns like Tally are great because it's challenging to spot any imperfections in pattern alignment; keep pattern choice in mind if you've got a lot of corners to match up. More geometric patterns and larger shapes leave less room for error (but are awesome in their own right!).
BATHROOM POCKET DOORS
In our primary bathroom, we chose the wallpaper pattern Tally, designed by Kelly Ventura, in White and Navy. In our space, the navy reads as a soft black, which is perfect for the space. It's easy to combine an ever-rotating collection of linens with the Tally pattern.
I love how the white trim becomes the perfect frame around this pocket door piece of art.
My favorite moment in this space is the fact that you actually get a third pop of pattern thanks to our serendipitously placed mirror!
And yes, this one works pretty darn well as a backdrop too ;)
LIVING ROOM DOUBLE DOORS
This set of doors is definitely a focal point of our home. It separates our living room from our primary bedroom which opens onto our backyard. The doors are pretty much always open, but when they're closed we wanted to evoke a fun, nature-inspired vibe. With that in mind, we selected the Lines and Moons pattern by Thimblepress in Green and Brown.
Earth mama vibes up in here! I love how the shapes and colors echo the ferns you see through the windows and the acorn wood details throughout the house.
Love this pattern moment, and xacto-ing out the door handle is def on the oddly satisfying DIY list.
For a pattern lover like me, I love that now I have this instant photo backdrop!
Thanks to Chasing Paper for providing these rolls of pure pattern amazingness. Head to chasingpaper.com to find our own favorites and start adding patterns to your home!
(Wallpaper wingwoman: Kayla Haykin; Photography: Kurt Andre)