Curious about adding strength training into your exercise schedule
The benefits of strength training are many, including making your muscles toned and defined, helping to protect your bones and muscle mass, and strengthening your entire body, when combined with your regular workouts. To help you get started, we suggest these five exercises to beginners: the plank, squat, one-arm dumbbell lifts, seated pec fly, and hamstring curls.
The plank is an essential exercise that really works your abdominal muscles, arms, and legs. Begin this exercise on the floor in push-up position. Your wrists should be in line under shoulders, and your feet about hip-width apart. Push yourself up so that your body is in one straight line, and hold the position for 30 seconds, remembering to breathe! As you get stronger over time, hold the plank position for one minute or longer.
Squat with a Ball
This squat is done by placing an exercise ball between your lower back and a wall, while standing. With your feet should-width apart, bend your knees and slowly drop your body down 12 to 25 centimeters. Ensure that your hips are square and your shoulders are level. Hold this squat for three to five seconds and slowly bring your body back to standing position.
This beginner’s strength training exercise will strengthen your quadriceps, gluteus, and hamstrings, which are muscles that you use to walk, stand, and jump. Using the ball provides extra support and will help especially if you have problems with your back, knees, or hips.
Dumbbell Rows with One Arm
Work out your upper back, biceps, and shoulders by completing many sets of dumbbell rows with one arm. Starting out in lunge position with your right knee bent in front of you and your left leg outstretched behind you, hold the dumbbell in your left hand. Keep your upper body strong and back flat, with your right arm against your bent knee for additional support. Inhaling, raise the dumbbell as high as you can, and angle your left elbow back to help guide the motion. Upon your exhale, lower the weight back down toward the floor.
Complete two sets of ten repetitions per arm.
Seated Pec Fly
This exercise can be done with a pulley weight system or dumbbells, and a workout bench. If you’re using pulleys, adjust them so that they are at your seated should height. Grab the rings (or dumbbells) with your palms down and arms at chest level, slightly bent and away from your shoulders. Keeping your hands and elbows level, pull your arms together. To finish the exercise, return your rings or dumbbells to the starting position. You will be feeling this exercise in your major chest muscles tomorrow!
See how this exercise is done by watching this video:
This exercise is ideal for working your glutes, spinal extensors, and hamstrings. We love hamstring curls because they can be done easily at home just by using two paper plates!
Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and your heels on the paper plates. Lift up your hips into a bridge position, and slide one of your feet out until it is nearly straight. Slide the foot back to its original bent position, and then repeat with your other foot. Lower your hips down to complete one set. Try doing ten sets, and when you get stronger, increase the exercise’s difficulty by sliding both feet out at the same time.
If you have any questions about these strength training moves for beginners, or want to share your favorites, let us know in the comments below!