Exercises That Helps You Build Strength

Exercises That Helps You Build Strength

Exercise functional varies a bit for each of us and our fitness level and goals, but fitness professionals agree that everyone should work on a handful of basic movement patterns. (As always, it’s a good idea to talk with your doctor before starting a new exercise program if you’re unsure it’s safe for you.) Below are some exercises that will get you started working on those patterns. You can do them with just your body or a variety of free weights, like dumbbells, kettlebells, medicine balls, and more.

Suitcase squat

  • Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart, a dumbbell in each hand with your arms resting along the sides of your legs, palms facing in.
  • Bend your knees and push your hips back as you lower into a squat.
  • Drive through your heels to stand, squeezing your glutes at the top, for 1 rep.

Push-up

  • Start in a high plank with your palms flat on the floor, hands shoulder-width apart, shoulders directly above your wrists, legs extended behind you, core and glutes engaged.
  • Bend your elbows and lower yourself to the floor. Drop to your knees if needed.
  • Push through your palms to straighten your arms for 1 rep.

Lateral lunge

  • Stand with your feet together, hands on your hips.
  • Take a big step (about 2 feet) out to the right. When your foot hits the floor, hinge forward at your hips, push your butt back, and bend your right knee to lower into a lunge.
  • Pause for a second, and then push off your right foot to stand back up for 1 rep.
  • Do your reps, switch sides, and repeat. You can also alternate legs if you prefer.

Bent-over row

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart, a weight in each hand with your arms at your sides.
  • With your core engaged, hinge forward at your hips, push your butt back, and bend your knees slightly, so that your back is no lower than parallel to the floor. (Depending on your hamstring flexibility, you may not be able to bend over that far.) Gaze at the floor a few inches in front of your feet to keep your neck in a comfortable position.
  • Do a row by pulling the weights toward your chest, keeping your elbows close to your body and squeezing your shoulder blades for two seconds at the top of the movement. Your elbows should go past your back.
  • Slowly lower the weights by extending your arms toward the floor for 1 rep.

Deadlift

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, a dumbbell in each hand in front of your quads.
  • Hinge forward at your hips and bend your knees slightly as you push your butt way back, keeping your back flat. Slowly lower the weight along your shins. Your torso should be almost parallel to the floor.
  • Keeping your core tight, push through your heels to stand up straight. Keep the weight close to your shins as you pull.
  • Pause at the top and squeeze your butt for 1 rep.

Single-leg deadlift

  • Stand with your feet together, a weight in each hand in front of your legs.
  • Shift your weight to your left leg and keep your left knee slightly bent as you lift your right leg behind you, hinging at your hips to bring your torso parallel to the floor, and lower the weight toward the floor.
  • Keep your back flat. Your torso and right leg should be almost parallel to the floor, with the weight a few inches off the floor. (If your hamstrings are tight, you may not be able to lift your leg as high.)
  • Keep your core tight as you push through your left heel to stand up straight. Bring your right leg back down to meet your left, but try to keep the majority of weight in your left foot.
  • Pause and squeeze your butt for 1 rep.
  • Do your reps, then switch sides and repeat.

Medicine ball rotational throw

  • Stand with a wall a few feet to your right, feet shoulder-width apart, a medicine ball in both hands in front of you.
  • Twist your torso to the left and slightly bend your left knee. Let your arms and the ball follow.
  • Twist your torso to the right, swinging your arms and throwing the ball against the wall. Catch the ball, twisting back to the left and bending your left knee to absorb the force of the ball for 1 rep.
  • Do your reps, then switch sides and repeat.

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