Strength Building Exercises You Can Do at Home
We’ve learned that exercise is an important component of Real Health and that building muscle has major benefits. But what if your favorite workout spot is closed due to Covid restrictions, or maybe you just aren’t a gym person? That doesn’t mean you have to forgo strength training. Bodyweight exercises are a great way to build lean muscle, and they can easily be done in the comfort of your own home.
Below are several strength building exercises that can be done anytime, anywhere. You can even add weights like dumbbells to certain moves for an added challenge.
With your back against the wall, place your feet shoulder-width and about 2 feet from the wall. Engage your core and slide your back down the wall until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Make sure that your knees are directly over your ankles (not the toes) and your legs form a 90-degree angle. Keep your back flat against the wall and hold the position for 20-60 seconds.
Step-ups are great for targeting the lower body, strengthening the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings. You will need a sturdy stool, chair, or step to complete this exercise. Step-ups can be done with or without added weight.
Standing in front of your stool, step up with the right foot and press through the heel to straighten your leg.
Bring the left foot up to meet the right on top of the stool. Slowly step back down with the left foot and then bring the right foot down to meet the left. Complete several repetitions with one leg leading and then switch lead legs to complete the same number of repetitions on the other side.
Start on the floor on all fours and position your hands slightly wider than your shoulders. Extend the legs back so you are in a plank position, making sure your body is in a straight line. Contract the abdominal muscles and slowly bend your elbows, lowering yourself until the elbows are at a 90-degree angle. Exhale to push your body back up into the starting position.
Lying on your back, bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the floor. Put your hands behind your head, across your chest, or pointed toward the ceiling. Keeping your lower back on the floor, contract the abdominal muscles, and lift your shoulder blades 1-2 inches off the floor. Hold at the top for 1-2 seconds and slowly lower back down to the floor. As you do this exercise, make sure that you are not pulling your head forward with your hands and cranking the neck.
Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, turning the toes slightly outward. Engage your abdominal muscles and begin by hinging at the hips. Then bend the knees to lower to a squat position until thighs are near parallel or parallel to the floor. Press the feet into the floor to go back to a standing position.
Throughout the exercise, make sure your weight is evenly distributed across both feet, heels remain on the floor, and the torso stays upright.
Start by sitting on the edge of your chair, gripping the edge of the chair next to your hips. Extend your legs with feet hip-width apart and heels touching the ground. Press into the hands to lift your body off the chair and move forward just enough so your backside clears the chair. Slowly bend the elbows until they reach between 45-90 degrees, then push yourself back into the starting position.
Start on the floor on all fours. Drop on to your elbows making sure they are directly below your shoulders, with your forearms and palms flat on the floor. Extend the legs back so you are in a plank position, making sure your body is in a straight line and the spine is neutral. Your weight should be evenly distributed on both sides of the body with core, legs, and arms engaged. Avoid any drooping or sagging through the middle. Hold for at least 10 seconds and work up to a 30-60 second hold.
Start with your right foot forward and left foot back so they are about three feet apart. Engage the core and bend the knees to lower your body toward the floor. Make sure the front knee stays directly above the front toes. Let the back knee hover just above the floor below before pushing back up to the starting position. Complete all desired reps on the right side before switching to the left foot in front.
Start by lying on your right side with the legs extended and stacked. Make sure the right elbow is directly under the right shoulder as you lift your hips into a side plank position. Engage the core and maintain a straight line from the bottoms of the feet to the top of the head. Hold for at least ten seconds. Work up to holds of 30-60 seconds. Repeat on the left side.
You can create your own workout by combining several or all of these exercises into a routine. One suggestion is to do each exercise for one minute, and then rest 10 seconds before moving to the next exercise. Once you have completed all of the exercises, rest for two minutes. Repeat the circuit two more times.