5 Instagram videos to bookmark if you’re still confused in the weight room

August 15, 2019 at 08:23AM by CWC

In college, I had an (admittedly weak) comedic bit about how cardio machine hopping was my version of bar hopping. The 45 minutes I spent at the gym consisted of bouncing from the treadmill to the stairclimber to the elliptical with no real rules save for one exception: under no circumstances—never, ever, never—enter the weight room.


In retrospect, this unspoken boundary is a result of a belief that I didn’t deserve to be in the weight room. (I know—that sounds funny! But hear me out!) Strength equipment remains largely male-dominated. And while cardio machines are pretty intuitive, leg presses, power racks, and lat pull down machines are not. Many of them require trial-and-error, asking for help, and developing muscles memory over time. Back then, I didn’t feel confident enough to approach these machines with the curiosity they require.

Now, a fleet of Instagram fitfluencers has taught me how to dabble with heavy lifting—and quite frankly—I’ve never felt stronger. IG has made it easier than ever to stock your phone with free personal trainers and the Gym Shark-sponsored women are some of my favorite to follow. To name names, Natacha Oceane, Whitney Simmons, and Hanna Öberg have all transformed my idea of what a trip to the gym can look like.

To be clear, I’m not an expert with every machine just yet, but with the help of my virtual sidekicks, I’ve become a little bit more brave about sampling the equipment. Anyone who wants to stroll into the weight room to get their sweat on should do it. Here’s how to get started, according to my social media fitness heroes.

Beginner weight lifting has never been easier with these 5 Instagram videos

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HAPPY MONDAY❤️ it’s pull day babyyyyy!! A couple of months ago I made the switch to a push and pull workout split and I’ve been SO happy with the changes. Pull day is all about back, biceps and rear delts. Here’s the COMPLETE workout ?? let’s dooooo it 1️⃣ 3 sets of 15 Single arm cross body lat pulldown… big stretch at the top and big squeeze at the bottom. Connect your mind to muscle here ???? repeat on other arm 2️⃣ superset | 3 sets 10 barbell wide grip bicep curls into 10 barbell bent over wide grip row 3️⃣ 3 sets of 12 cable stretchers 4️⃣ superset | 3 sets 10 single arm cable bicep curls… moving straight into 10 bent over rear delt pulls. Repeat on other arm woo 5️⃣ 3 sets of 12 seated cable row with a hold at the top 6️⃣ 2 sets of 15 1 and 1/2 plate bicep curls Wearing @gymshark ultra seamless shorts with lulu top. Song is Money by @lilmiquela #pullday #workouts #workoutroutine #armworkout #workoutvideos #mondaymotivation #upperbodyworkout

A post shared by Whitney Simmons (@whitneyysimmons) on

1. Lat pull down machine

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This workout is all about arms, arms, arms—and once you’re done, you’ll feel like a lat pull pro (promise).

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My full lower body functional, plyo + a little hypertrophy workout from today ?? ⠀ ⠀⠀ This one’s my full session, from start to finish, plus a little stretching to start. I usually mix a bunch of styles like this because they help me feel athletic and light on my feet but still retain muscle ? ⠀ ⠀⠀ Swipe, save and let’s work ? ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⭐️ Double kettlebell swings (3 x 8 total reps): start light and find the rhythm ? This one will wake everything up, but if you can focus on the glutes engaging on the way up with a little ? thrust at the top, that’s perfect ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⭐️ Asymmetric overhead walking lunges (2 x 8 strides per arm): the arm stays straight, supported by a tight core and shoulders to keep the stability ? ⠀⠀ ⭐️ Lateral shifts (3 x 10 transfers): the goal is to keep that butt at the same height throughout even though it’s gonna be tempting to lift it ☺️ If it’s your first time trying these, just go without added weight ⠀⠀ ⭐️ Walking short stride lunge variation (3 x 8): pick a baby weight and focus on your bodyweight coming down through the heel of the front foot. To start, keep both knees pointing forward, but once you feel good try opening up the back leg a little and using it mostly for stabilisation ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⭐️ Step up box transfers (3 x 10 total transfers): focus on driving upwards with the glutes ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⭐️ Lunge box jumps (2 x 6 per side): this one’s a lot about coordination as well as balance. Start with a super small box and use it as a skill move until you feel natural ? ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⭐️ Single leg press (3 x 8 per side): just to finish off the legs and help with a little muscle gain. I had my foot up high and pushed through the heel to emphasise the glutes a little more but that’s up to you! Just remember to not lock the legs out straight at the top ? ⠀ ⠀⠀ For rest periods, go for as long as needed until you feel like you can hit proper form again. I’ll aim for 45-90 seconds generally but listen to what feels right (sometimes that’s a lot longer…☺️) ⠀ ⠀⠀ I really hope it’s helpful to see how I combine different styles myself! ❤️ ⠀ ⠀⠀ @parkviewhealthclubs

A post shared by Natacha Oceane (@natacha.oceane) on


2. Leg Press Machine

The leg press machine is basically a horizontal squat… with weights. If you flip to the last slide, you’ll that Oceane’s recommendation is to work one leg at a time “just to finish off the legs and help with a little muscle gain,” she writes. She also gives the pro tip to move your foot a little bit higher up the plate to set your peach on fire.

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Such a bomb glute and hams session today ?? I went into the gym tired af, weights were feelin’ real heavy today but I left the gym feelin’ so good! Discipline always beats motivation ? Here’s a few clips from today: ?Barbell Sumo Deadlifts ?Barbell Goodmornings ?Cable Pull Throughs ?Cable Squats ?Lying Leg Curl ———————————————————————————— Shoes: Vans Leggings: Gymshark Flex Sports Bra: Gymshark Energy Seamless ? BeatsByDre – Powerbeats3 ? PEScience – Discount: Ajahzi ??SLIMthicc Guide: Ajahzifit.com ? YouTube Channel – Ajahzi Gardner ? Gymshark link in bio! @gymshark @gymsharkwomen @gymsharktrain #gymshark #gymsharkwomen #gymsharktrain

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3. Leg curl machine

On the last slide, you’ll find a quick demo of the leg curl. And just like that, the fog surrounding yet another piece of gym equipment lifts.

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HOT HOT HAMSTRINGS PLZ do nottttt forget to leave your girl a LIKE ? for support & save the vid for laterrr THANK U you wanted hamstrings so here we go!!! cheeky new variations but still, OF COURSE some struggle and grind cus that’s how we like it! REMEMBER, the body gets good at what it performs and that’s why its so so freggiiin important that you push beyond your limits! A mix of exercises is aaaalways a good idea! Give these a go girlies and lemme know Cheeky BCAA shake (fruit fusion) from @womensbest METHOD; 1️⃣ 1 & 1/2 Dead stop stiff leg deadlifts | 4set x 10reps brutal but maaaaan this one is ? 2️⃣ Toe elevate Cable stiff leg deadlifts | 3set x 12-15reps trust me your hammies will burn 3️⃣ Cable curl variation | 4set x 15reps hot hot variation if you don’t have a leg curl machine 4️⃣ Leg press – narrow & high stance | 4set x 15reps leg press never everrrr lets you down YASSSS TAG YOUR FRIENDS LET’S GET IT!!! ?too blessed – O.T. Genasis

A post shared by HANNA ÖBERG (@hannaoeberg) on


4. Cables and leg press

This hamstring-focused workout consists of only four moves, but when you check it off, you’ll be versed in cables and how to use the leg press machine for a slow burn.

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BACK + BICEPS yessss!? juuust arrived safely in Manchester but didn’t want to leave you guys without a workout vid!?‍♀️ DOUBLE TAP ❤️ if you love the workout vids! with my @womensbest amino and energy ? – one of the exercises that helped me a lot with building my pull-ups is the inverted row! as a rule of thumb: the higher your head is elevated, the easier the exercise is? add these to your next pull session & let’s build that back (& biceps lol)?! – 1️⃣ inverted row | 4 x 10 – 12 2️⃣ close grip pulldown | 3 x 12 3️⃣ overhead cable curl | 3 x 12 4️⃣ drag curl | 3 x 15 – for my complete training and nutrition program, see @gainsbybrainsguide or link in bio? #womensbest #sp

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5. Squat rack, lat pull down machine, and cables

Targeting the back and biceps, this workout teaches you how to use the squat rack… without adding all that weight onto your shoulders just yet. This way, you can dip your toes into machine without going all the way, then circle back to a different take on lat pulls and cables.

Now for a stretch: try these 4 do-anywhere options, or a few more that target your aching neck

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Author Kells McPhillips | Well and Good
Selected by CWC