Strength training has many benefits for people of all ages. It’s a great way to stay in shape, increase bone density, speed up metabolism, aid in fat loss, help with balance, maintain an independent lifestyle as we age and more. See my blog post from June, 2020 for more detailed information on the benefits of strength training.
Many people aren’t aware of how to a complete a basic strength training program. In this post, I’m going to explain 6 basic moves you need to do to get a full body strength training workout. This can be done two to three times a week with a day off in between
Think of the squat as getting up from a chair. This exercise can be performed without weights just using your bodyweight. Add more weight as it gets easier. Start with your feet placed shoulder width apart, lean back on your heels and lower your body as far as you can go and still get up without help. Stand up and repeat. You can use a box, chair or bench if needed. This exercise works not only your quads and glutes, but your core and entire lower body.
The deadlift is basically picking something up off the floor. Bend forward at the hips and bend your knees slightly while keeping your chin up so your back is in the proper position and reach down to pick up a weight. Then stand up holding the weight. Start with a light weight and increase the weight as it gets easier. This exercise works not only your hamstrings, back and glutes, but your abs and entire lower body.
With a pushup, you’re pushing your bodyweight away from something. You can start by leaning against a wall and pushing yourself back. You can also do pushups on the floor on your knees. Keep your body straight like a plank, hands lined up with your shoulders, elbows close to your body. Your goal is to progress to full pushups on the floor. Pushups work your chest, triceps and shoulders. Your core is also engaged.
The rowing motion is pulling something towards you. Rows can be done seated on a row machine like this or standing using TRX bands (or even a rope) attached to a stable object. Rows work your back and biceps. Your core is also engaged as you keep perfect upright posture.
The Overhead Press
When performing this motion, think about lifting something over your head. For example, placing a box up on a high shelf. This works your shoulders and triceps. It also engages your core because you have to stabilize your body as you lift and balance the weight over your head.
With this exercises, you’re pulling your bodyweight up, or pulling weight down towards you. Pullups can be difficult for many people, so an assisted pull up machine like this one is helpful in this situation. You can also put a chair that you can stand on under a pullup bar to help you reach the bar and pull your bodyweight up to the bar. Pullups work your back and biceps and also engage the core.
If you’re doing all of these exercises properly, you’re core should always be engaged to help keep your body in the proper position and assist in moving the weight through space. But, since everyone likes to work their core/abs separately, although it’s not necessary, I’ll add a seventh movement.
Here’s just one of the many ab exercises you can do. Lay down with your arms over your head and your legs out straight. Lift your arms and legs up so they meet. You can hold a weight in your hands to make it a little more challenging.
Start with three sets of 10 reps of the heaviest weight you can move without breaking perfect form and body position. When that gets easy, increase the weight. Don’t be afraid of heavy weight! It will not make you bulky, just stronger. Refer to my attached blog post for more information on strength training or contact me if you have any questions.