Strength Training Exercises


If you’ve been spending any time at the gym, you’ve probably seen (or done) more than a few sets of these strength-training moves. These exercises are trainer and fitness-buff favorites for balancing and strengthening the body; they are also effective when it comes to shaping, toning, and whittling. Learn how to do these essential exercises in time to add them to your shape-up routine!



9 Varieties of Strength Training: Something for Everyone

Strength training is, unfortunately, still widely viewed as an exercise primarily for bodybuilders and athletes. As a result, key groups of people neglect to perform this rewarding activity, including those who need it most (women, seniors over 85, and people with obesity are among those most at risk of not strength training).3 Once you’ve gotten past the stigma that strength training is “only” for bodybuilders, you might resist it because you think it’s repetitive or boring. One thing is certain—strength training need not be monotonous, and if you incorporate several different types of activity, your fitness will progress faster and you’ll have a lot more fun doing it. Strength training is anything but boring!

Body weight exercises – Body weight exercises have the advantage of being very flexible and convenient, requiring no equipment and no special place or schedule, and the price is right—they’re free. They are great to do at your office or while traveling, because you always have your “exercise gear” with you! Some of my favorites are squats, pushups, and planks.

Hand weights – Hand weights are inexpensive, portable, and readily available for purchase in just about any department store. Keep them next to your sofa and do a few sets of shoulder presses, bicep curls, and tricep presses during commercial break.

Kettlebells – A kettlebell is a cast iron weight that looks like a cannonball with a handle. The kettlebell allows for ballistic movements and swinging motions you can’t do with traditional weights. Kettlebells can help you develop power in your hips, legs, and glutes as well as strength, flexibility, and stability for your back and shoulders. Kettlebells also build wrist and forearm strength.

Resistance bands – Resistance bands allow you to get a full-body strengthening workout without weights. They are inexpensive, easy to store, and perfect for exercising while traveling—just toss them into a pocket in your overnight bag.

Medicine balls (exercise balls) – Medicine balls look like a kickball—but much heavier! They come in varying sizes, from a couple pounds up to 150 pounds. Medicine balls can be thrown, swung, caught, or lifted. Since they have no handle, you have to coordinate a number of different muscle groups to maneuver them.

Water jug workouts – These are basically “poor man’s dumbbells.” A plastic gallon jug weighs about eight pounds when full of water and 13 pounds if filled with sand. The unevenness of the weight produces the benefit of strengthening your smaller, stabilizing muscles, which you must engage to maintain control of the bottle.

Resistance machines at the gym -If you have access to a gym, you may want to experiment with some good-quality resistance equipment. The benefit of a machine is that it will allow you to focus your mind on the effort, as opposed to the mechanics of the movement. The various machines each feature a different muscle group and usually bear diagrams explaining how to use the equipment, but don’t hesitate to ask for assistance if you are a newbie.

Strength classes at the gym – Gyms often offer a variety of strength training classes, and if you are more of a “social exerciser,” this might suit you well. Group fitness is evolving and now you can find some very interesting classes, such as Smart Bells, Forza, Urban Rebounding, water–based exercise, Pilates, and Bosu.

Rope climbing or rock wall climbing -There is a reason climbing has been a staple exercise in military training and combat fitness for thousands of years—it’s one of the best upper-body strength exercises. Climbing targets many muscle groups (hands, arms, shoulders, abs, and back), and builds coordination and agility skills.


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