If you are here because you want to reduce body fat, increase lean muscles, burn calories or just keep fit, then strength training exercises definitely checks all these boxes. As a beginner, you are probably intimidated by all those big equipment in the gym. The good news is that there are strength training exercises that can be done with or without equipment.
Benefits of strength training exercises
You may be having second thoughts about your strength training exercise program. This is probably because you do not know the benefits of strength training exercises. Some of the benefits include;
- Increased muscle mass
- Stronger bones
- Joint flexibility
- Weight control
- Better cardiovascular health
- Controlled blood sugar levels etc
The list goes on and on. So if you have made up your mind to tap into the benefits of strength training exercises, you have made a wise choice. Taking your inexperience into consideration, here are 8 strength training exercises that will do wonders to your body and health.
The benefits of push-ups are next to none. It is a very good strength training exercise for your chest and arms. It helps to tone the muscles in these areas.
- Place your body in a horizontal position with your palms flat, shoulders above your wrists, hands shoulder-width apart and your legs extended behind you.
- Bend your elbows and lower your body to the floor.
- One push through the palms to straighten your arms makes one rep.
For planks without equipment, your body serves as the weight. This means that the exercise is consistently adjusted to your needs and ability. Planks target the muscles in your shoulders and legs.
- Place your elbows on the floor directly underneath your shoulders,
- Ensure that your feet are hip-width apart and your head, neck and back are flat.
- Drive your elbows into the floor and squeeze your glutes, quads and core
- Maintain this position for 30 seconds to one minute to make one rep.
Squats are one type of strength training exercise that is perfect for your glutes, hamstrings and quads. Due to the extensive use of legs during squat exercises, it increases leg muscle thereby improving mobility and increasing balance. Additionally, squats can also help in fixing postural defects due to the improved core and leg strength.
- Stand upright with feet parallel and hip-width apart
- Bend your knees and lower your body into a squat position
- Stop when your knees are at 90 degrees
- Return to a standing position to make one rep
4. Chair dips
This is a simple and effective exercise that you can easily incorporate to your strength training exercise routine. Chair dips use your body weight to strengthen your triceps and core, so you can do it at home without any equipment.
- Sit on the edge of a sturdy chair with your arms at your side, legs together, feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart
- Firmly grip the edges of the chair
- Slide your torso off the front of the chair so that your upper body is pointing straight down
- Bend your elbows and lower your body, all the while maintaining the straight line
- Push yourself back up to make one rep
For working all major muscles of the hips, glutes and thighs, Lunges are an excellent strength training exercise. There are many variations to this exercise and you can do it with or without equipment.
- Stand with your right foot forward and your left foot back, about 3 feet apart
- Bend your knees to lower your body straight towards the floor
- Keep the front knee behind the toes
- Keep your torso straight and abs in as you push through the front heel and back to the starting position, to make one rep
The basic crunch is a perfect exercise for the stomach. It targets your rectus abdominus to develop your core for stability and performance.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent forward and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart
- Place your hands behind your head or across your chest
- Hold your elbows out but rounded slightly in
- Don’t press your chin to your chest
- Gently pull up your abdominals inward
- Curl up and forward, so that your head, neck and shoulder blades lift off the floor
- Hold the position for a moment and slowly lower your body back to the floor
7. Glute bridge
This is one strength training exercise that can help you reduce belly fat. Glute bridges help to mobilize the hip joint and strengthen the glutes.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor
- Ensure that your feet are hip-width apart and that your hands are firmly placed by your side
- Squeeze your glutes and abs and push through your heels to lift your hips a few inches from the floor until your body forms a straight line
- Hold the position for a second or two and then release your body slowly to the ground to make one rep
8. Bicycle kicks
Bicycle kicks target multiple muscles. It affects the muscles in your midsection as well as your abs. This is another strength training exercise that helps to strengthen your hamstrings and quads.
- Lie flat on your back with your legs fully extended and your hands behind your head
- Press your lower back into the ground to eliminate any arcs
- With your hands clasped behind your head, raise your shoulder off the floor
- Bring your right knee towards your chest and simultaneously rotate your shoulder to bring your left elbow towards your right knee
- Ensure that the left leg is still fully extended while working with the right leg
- Now rotate your shoulder and bring your left knee to the right elbow. One complete movement of both legs makes one rep
In conclusion, strength training exercises are for everyone, no matter the body shape or size. One truth that you must know is that strength training is not a comfortable journey. You may experience bodily discomfort during this journey but nobody said it was going to be easy. With consistency and dedication, you should be a pro in no time.