Strength Exercises

See Strength Information before you get started and be sure to see a physician before beginning any exercise or workout routine…

Be sure to record your starting point. Do these today and jot down how many and how long you were able to perform them. Repeat for several weeks and track your progress. This will be your motivation! Remember, starting is the big step and it doesn’t matter how many!  Pick one or two to start…

Exercise List


tap an exercise name to see printable exercise instructions…

CORE (abs / abdominals) Muscle Strength

*Plank – there are many variations *Bridge Superman *Side Plank
Crunch Push-Ups Bird Dog Elbow to Knee (Air Bike)
Stability Ball Abdominal Crunch Kneeling Cable Wood Chop Horizontal Scissor Kicks Sit Ups
Jackknife Foam Roller Plank Mountain Climber
Twisting Jackknife Lying Toe Touch

Upper Body – Arm Muscle Strength

Bicep Curl Tricep Push Down Seated Cable Row (lower back too) Tricep Curl
Tricep Bench Dip Tricep Extension Lat Pull Down Machine Dumbbell Fly’s

Lower Body – Leg Muscle Strength

Lying (Prone) Leg Curl Seated Leg Curl Standing Leg Curl Lying Hip Abduction
Bodyweight Squats Side Squats Step Up Lunges
Hamstring Curl (with Stability Ball) Roman Chair Leg Raise Forward Jump Machine Thigh abductors
Machine Thigh Adductor Prone Kneeling Leg Extension Jump Up on Step Leg Extension
Prone Leg Kick

 ∗ these exercises are a must for your workout routine – try to do these 2-3 times a week.

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Core Strength Exercise - 1. Plank


Plank

1.   Face-down position on the floor.
2.   Support your weight on your toes and your forearms.
3.   Bend your arms directly below the shoulder.
4.   Keep your body straight and hold this position as long as possible.

What it does: Excellent exercise for strengthening the abdominal muscles.

How to do it: Lying face down, with your body straight, lean on your arms and your toes. There is a normal tendency to lift your buttocks, but be sure to keep your body as flat as a board. Record your progress and increase duration as you progress.

Tip: Do not lift your buttocks – be sure your body is flat as a board as if you were to rotate a picture of yourself – would it look like you are standing straight?

If you haven’t done ab exercises in a while, start with 5 seconds and work your way up. Don’t get frustrated as even experienced ‘plankers’ can only do a few minutes.  You can increase time and difficulty as you progress.

Be cautious with this exercise if you have any back pain or develop back pain during the exercise. Always check with your doctor when engaging in a new physical activity.

Note: This is a challenging exercise with many variations. For this ‘classic’ plank when you first begin or increase time, your arms will shake as you try to maintain your body weight. This is perfectly normal and expected as you gain stability and strength.

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Core Strength Exercise - 2. Bridge


1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
2. Using your abs, lift your hips and buttocks off the floor.
3. Repeat 5 times.

What it does: Restores the curve in the lower back, which helps restore your neck’s alignment as well. Opens the chest and stretches the diaphragm, improving your ability to breathe deeply.

How to do it: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat, about 12 inches from your hips. To a count of three, reach your arms overhead and lift your hips off the floor. Your head, arms, shoulders, and feet remain grounded. Keep your buttocks soft and core abdominals tight as you hold the stretch for a count of three (3). Now lower your arms and roll your spine, one vertebra at a time, back down to the mat. Repeat 5 times.

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Core Strength Exercise - 3. Superman

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
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1.  Lie flat on your stomach with your arms stretched out in front of you.
2.  Raise your arms and legs off the floor and hold this position for 2 seconds.
3.  Return to the starting position on the floor.
4.  Repeat.

What it does: An excellent exercise to stretch the lower back and strengthen your core muscles.
How to do it: During this exercise your body will look like it’s curving upwards. Stretch your arms and legs and raise them off the floor while your torso remains grounded.

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Core Strength Exercise - 4. Side Plank

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
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Side-Plank
1.   Lay on the right side of your body with your legs straight and your forearm  perpendicular to your body in front of you.
2.  Drawing your abs in, slowly raise yourself up so you are balanced on your feet  and  forearm. Your left foot will be resting on top of your right foot.
3.  Hold this position and slowly return back to the starting position.
4.  Repeat on your left side.

What it does: An excellent exercise for strengthening the core abdominal muscles. There are many variations of this exercise.How to do it:  Lying on your right side with your body straight, you’ll move your right arm to 90° angle facing away from your body. Your left foot will lie on top of the right. Now  lift your torso off the ground. Maintain as long as possible and be sure to record your times.

Tip: As with all planks, perform this exercise until your arms begin to shake a bit. The more you do these, the longer you’ll be able to keep  your torso elevated without shaking.

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Core Strength Exercise - 5. Crunch

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
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1.  Lie face up with your hands behind your head.
2.  Bend your knees.
3.  Curl your shoulders toward your stomach.
4.  Repeat 10 times.

How to do it:  Begin by lying face up on the floor with knees bent. The movement begins by curling the shoulders towards the pelvis. Your hands can be behind your head, beside the neck or crossed over the chest.

Tip:  Do not use your arms – you can injure yourself by pushing against your head or neck with your hands.

Note: Unlike the sit-up, when doing crunches, your lower back stays on the floor. This is said by scientific literature to eliminate any involvement by the hips, and makes the crunch an effective isolation exercise for the abdominals.Intermediate:
Crunches-2

Lie on a declined bench or hold a weight under your chin, chest or behind your head. Crunch exercises may be performed on an exercise ball.

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Core Strength Exercise - 6. Push-Ups

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
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For a Close Grip Push-Up, lay face down on the floor, or a mat, with your feet together curled slightly so you rise on the ball of your feet.

Closed Grip Push-Up
1.  Place your hands close together so your thumbs and index fingers form a triangle on the floor.
2.  Draw your abs in and inhale as you raise your body up till your arms are straight.
3.  Keep your head and neck level with your body (don’t look up or down) and don’t allow your back to rise or fall.
4.  Exhale out as you lower your body back to the ground.
5.  Repeat


Wide Grip Push-Up

1.  Move your hands out to a position slightly wider than your shoulders.
2.  Draw your abs in and inhale as you raise your body up till your arms are straight.
3.  Keep your head and neck level with your body (don’t look up or down) and don’t allow your back to rise or fall.
4.  Exhale out as you lower your body back to the ground.
5.  Repeat.

Notes: A push-up (or press-up) is a basic common calisthenics exercise performed in a prone position by raising and lowering the body using the arms. Push-ups exercise the pectoral muscles, triceps, and anterior deltoids, with secondary benefits to the rest of the deltoids and the midsection.

What it does: Strengthens the muscles of the chest, arms and shoulders.

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Core Strength Exercise - 7. Bird Dog


1.  Kneel on the floor and face down (prone) with your hands under shoulder with extended elbows.
2.  Point your fingers forward with your palms resting on the floor.
3.  Keeping your spine straight without arching up or down and extend your left leg to hip height and right arm to shoulder level.  Your shoulder should be parallel to the floor.
4.  Keep your abdominal muscles tucked in.
5.  Look straight ahead so that your neck can maintain the alignment to the rest of the body.
6.  Hold this position for 4 seconds then come back to the starting position.
7.  Repeat on each side 10 times.

Tip:  Don’t stop breathing, keep your extended arm and leg straight – don’t arch up or down.

What it does: A total body exercise that targets the lower back and to a lesser degree the traps, shoulders, abs, glutes and hamstrings.

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Core Exercise - 8. Elbow to Knee (Air Bike)

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
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1.   Lie on your back with your lower back pressed against the mat.
2.   Place your hands behind your head to support your neck.
3.  Lift your upper body off the mat while bringing your knees above your torso and your legs parallel to the floor.
4.   Lift your upper body off the mat and alternating elbows and knees, extend your left leg straight out (don’t touch the floor) while bringing your right knee toward your torso (like you are riding a bicycle) – crunch sideways so that  your left elbow extends toward your right knee.
5.  Using your abdominals crunch upwards and sideways.
6.  Repeat, alternating knees and elbows.

What it does:  The elbow to knee exercise is a calisthenics and Pilates exercise that primarily targets the abs.

How to do it: Lifting your left knee to your right elbow for 8 reps, then your right knee to your left elbow for 8 reps. Your motions will be like you are riding an ‘air bike’. Start with 3 sets and build up until you can do 4 sets of 12 reps on each side.

Tip:  For an easier version, keep one foot on the floor.

Tip:  For a better workout, contract your abdominals, support your neck and work out slowly. The slower you go, the better you work your abs.

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Core Strength Exercise - 9. Stability Ball Abdominal Crunch

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
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1.  Sit on top of an exercise or stability ball with your feet placed firmly on the floor for support.
2.  Center yourself with your lower back in the middle of the ball.
3.  Lie back and bring your hands across your chest or put your hands on either side of your head over your ears.
4.  Raise your head, chest and shoulders off the ball. Crunching your abs as you sit upright.
5.  Pause for a moment and then lower yourself to the starting position.

What it does:  The crunch exercises the abs and this crunch uses a Stability Ball which allows you a better range of movement because it adapts better to your spine and eases pressure on your lower back.

How to do it: Center yourself on an exercise ball, forming a c-shape, lift your torso off the ball toward the ceiling.

Tip:  For best results, use a full range of motion.

Do not jerk your weight up. Focus on using your abs to raise your body up. Move slowly and deliberately. Focus on “crunching” your abs. You are not doing a sit up where you raise your torso off the ground. You want to form a C-shape with your body.

    Variations

  •  You can do this on an exercise mat instead of stability ball.
  •  Trying holding a weight plate in your hands.
  •  Hold your hands out in front of you instead of against your chest. Make sure you keep your arms stationary. Don’t swing your arms to propel your body up as you crunch.

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Core Strength Exercise - 10. Kneeling Cable 'Wood Chop'

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
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1.  Attach a rope to a high pulley of a cable station. Get down on your knees so that   your right side is facing the station.
2.  Grab the top of the rope with your right hand and grab the bottom of the rope with your left hand. Both are overhand grips and your torso should be turned toward the cable machine.
3.  Begin by pulling rope down past your left hip while simultaneously rotating your torso to the left.
4.   Pause, then slowly reverse your movement back to the starting position.

What it does:  The kneeling cable chop is an exercise that targets the obliques (muscles on the side of your abs) and to a lesser degree targets the abs and lower back.

Tip: Twist your entire body with this exercise, but really focus on getting maximal torso rotation and a strong clinch at the end of the movement. To ensure a good mind-muscle connection, keep your abs tense at all times.

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Core Strength Exercise - 11. Horizontal Scissor Kicks

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
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1.   Lay on your back with your hands under your lower back.
2.   Pick your feet off the ground 6-8 inches.
3.   Swing your legs out as far as you can without touching the ground.
4.   Bring your legs together.
5.   Do this for 30 seconds to start and increase the time as you progress.

 
Note: Do this exercise slowly.

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Core Strength Exercise - 12. Sit Ups

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
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1.   Lie on the floor on an exercise mat with your hands behind your head and your legs bent. Your feet should be planted firmly on the floor, shoulder width apart.
2.   Using just your abdominals, exhale as you raise the upper half of your body straight into a sitting position while keeping your legs stationary.
3.   Hold for a moment and then inhale as you slowly lower your body back to the starting position.
4.   Repeat for a complete set.

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Core Strength Exercise - 13. Jackknife

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
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1.   Lie on the floor face up with your legs extended straight and your hands at the sides or behind your head where you would place them for a sit-up or crunch.
2.   Simultaneously perform a sit-up and bend your knees to lift them up to meet your elbows at the top of the sit-up.
3.   Your balance should be such that you can pause when the knees and elbows meet and hold this position.
4.   Return to an extended body position without allowing the heels to touch the floor in between reps.
5.   Repeat for a complete set.

The Jackknife provides some additional challenge and variation to the sit-up, and trains both the abs and hip flexors. It can be considered an easier variation of the V-up.

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Core Strength Exercise - 14. Foam Roller Plank

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
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1.   Bend at your elbows and rest your weight on your forearms.
2.   Make sure your elbows and your shoulders form a straight line.
3.   Adjust the foam roller so that your shins are resting on top, and squeeze your core while keeping your body in a straight line.
4.   Exhale as you pull your knees up towards your chest.
5.   Inhale as you push your knees away from your chest until your legs are fully extended behind you.

Repeat for a complete set.

Note – you may need to adjust the roller after the your first set so that it’s positioned under your shins again.

With or without the foam roller, the Plank exercise is great for toning the entire core at once.


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Core Strength Exercise - 15. Mountain Climber

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
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1.   Assume a standard push-up position with arms straight and legs straight behind you. Hands should be placed below shoulders but just outside of shoulder-width.
2.   Your body should form a straight line from your heels to your head.
3.   Begin by lifting your right foot off the ground and bringing your knee as close to your chest as possible. Hold for a moment, then push your foot behind you and touch your foot to the ground.
4.   Repeat with your left leg – alternating as quickly as you can for 30 seconds or more.

Tip:  Exhale as you pull your knees up towards your chest and inhale as you push your knees away from your chest until your legs are fully extended behind you.

Focus on pulling your belly button into your low back and scooping out your center as you go.

Note: This is a full-body workout.


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Core Strength Exercise - 16. Twisting Jackknife

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
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1.   Lie on the floor face up with your legs extended straight and your arms straight out at your side, palms down.
2.   Lift your left leg straight up as you simultaneously crunch up and rotate your torso left. As you do this, bring your extended right arm up and across your body so that your right hand reaches to the outside of your left ankle.
3.   Lightly push off the ground with your left palm to get up.
4.   Lower your arm and leg to the ground and switch sides.
5.   Repeat for a complete set. Do 2 sets of 8 reps.

Make this exercise easier by pushing off with your left forearm for extra support. The Jackknife provides some additional challenge and variation to the sit-up, and trains both the abs and hip flexors. It can be considered an easier variation of the V-up.

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Core Strength Exercise - 17. Lying Toe Touch


1.   Lie on your back with your legs touching and fully extended. Extend your arms outward with palms down.
2.   With your knees slightly bent, raise your legs straight up in the air until your feet are parallel with the floor.
3.   Reach your arms toward your feet, forming a 45 degree angle. Your head should still be on the floor. This is your starting position.
4.   Roll forward as you exhale, lifting your torso off the floor as you try to touch your toes with your fingers.
5.   Inhale as you slowly reverse the motion back to the starting position.
6.   Repeat for a complete set.

Primarily targets your abs.




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Leg Strength Exercise - 1. Lying (Prone) Leg Curl

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
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1.  Lie face down on a leg curl machine and place your heels under the roller pad (be sure it’s a few inches below your calves). Inhale.
2.  Grasp the grips with your hands for support and while exhaling, slowly curl your ankles up towards your back while keeping your torso flat on the bench.
3.  Hold for a moment and then return to starting position.
4.  Repeat.

What it does:  Strengthens the hamstrings.

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Leg Strength Exercise - 2. Seated Leg Curl

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
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>1.  Sit upright on a leg press machine – adjust so that the footpad is just above your heels. Your back should be against the back pad. If the machine you are using has leg pads, your thighs should be under the leg pads.
2.  Sit upright with your abs drawn in and your legs in front of you.
3.  Grasp the handle bars and raise your legs so that they are fully extended in front of you and parallel to the floor for your starting position.
4.  Exhale and lower your legs, bending at the knees, until your legs form a 90°  degree angle.
5.  Pause for a moment and then inhale as you raise your legs back to the starting position.What it does: Strengthens the hamstrings and similar to the Lying Leg Curls

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Leg Strength Exercise - 3. Standing Leg Curl

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
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1.  Standing at a leg curl machine adjust it so your knees are against the knee pads and your chest is against the chest pad, resting your forearms against it and the footpad is just above your ankle.
2.  Place the back of your right leg underneath the curl pad so your calf is pressing against it and your toes are extended straight.
3.   Grasp the handles of the machine for support and draw your abs in.
4.   Exhale as you raise your right leg towards your back slowly, as high as possible.
5.  Hold for a couple of counts and then inhale as you slowly lower your right leg back to the starting position.
6.  Repeat for a complete set.
7.  Switch sides.

What it does:  Strengthens the hamstrings and glutes (secondary).

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Leg Strength Exercise - 4. Lying Hip Abduction

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
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1.  Lay on your left side with your body in a straight line.
2.  Bend your left knee and keep your right leg straight.
3.  Keep your leg straight and lift your top leg as high as you can and then lower it back down.
4.  Repeat 12 times, then switch sides and repeat.

What it does:  Strengthens the hip flexors and to a lesser degree the outer thighs.

Variations: After you have mastered your form and are ready to advance from beginner, you can use a resistance band or ankle weights to increase difficulty.

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Leg Strength Exercise - 5. Bodyweight Squats

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
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1.  Stand straight with your feet shoulder width apart.
2.  Bend at the knees, push your hips out and bend down. Picture yourself sitting in a chair.
3.  Once your hips are parallel with your knees, return to your starting position.
4.  Repeat exercise as desired.

What it does:  Strengthens quads and to a lesser degree the glutes and hamstrings.

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Leg Strength Exercise - 6. Side Squats

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
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1.  Stand with your feet wide apart, with the foot of the leg you will be leaning on angled out.
2.  Bring your lower body to your foot by bending the hip and knee of your lead leg, and keep the opposite leg fairly straight.
3.  Return to the starting position and switch legs.

What it does:  Strengthens quads and to a lesser degree hamstrings and hip abductors.

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Leg Strength Exercise - 7. Step Up


1.  Standing, face a step or elevated platform with your arms at your side.
2.  Put your right foot on an elevated platform. Step on the platform and use your heel to lift the rest of your body up. Place the foot of your left leg on the platform too. Exhale on your way up.
3.  Step down with your left leg controlling the movement as you descend. Return to a standing position by placing both feet next to each other on the ground.
4.  Repeat using your right leg for the desired repetitions and then switch to your left leg.

What it does:  A great exercise to target the glutes and the quads.

Notes: Do not use the leg on the floor to push yourself up, use the leg that is on the platform to pull yourself up. Stand straight without leaning forward and make sure your knee stays behind your toes with your weight straight over the top of your heals.

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Leg Strength Exercise - 8. Lunges

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
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Instructions
1.  Start by either placing a barbell across your upper back or by grasping a dumbbell in each hand.
2.  Stand with your feet about 8 inches apart, toes facing forward.
3.  Take a lunge forward keeping your abs drawn in and your upper body straight.
4.  Slowly lower one knee down as if kneeling while keeping your other knee bent at a 90 degree angle, do not let your knee touch the ground.
5. Lower your body to just above the floor and hold for a moment before pushing off with the back foot.
6. Step through and repeat the exercise with the other leg.

What it does:  A great exercise to target the hamstrings and to a lesser extent, the calves, gluts and quadriceps.

Tips: Walking lunges give you the benefit of lunges plus core muscle training from the forward movement.

Notes: Practice without any weights until you have mastered the movements.

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Leg Strength Exercise - 9. Hamstring Curl


Instructions
1.  Lie on the floor with your arms extended next to your side with your heels resting on the ball. Resting your arms on the floor will provide stability.
2.  Tighten your glutes and abs and lift your hips off the floor.
3.  Exhale and slowly bring your knees in towards your hips, so your feet are resting flat on top of the ball.
4.  Pause for a few seconds in this position, then inhaling while straightening your legs.
Note:  Keep those hips up the whole time to get the maximum benefit for your glutes.

What it does:  Total-body exercise.

Tips: Aim for 10 to 12 reps of this total-body move.

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Leg Strength Exercise - 10. Roman Chair Leg Raise

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
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Instructions
1.  Position yourself in an upright roman chair. Be sure your back is upright and against the back of the chair. Also, be sure your elbows are directly under your shoulders when placing them on the pad.
2.  Begin exercise by slowly raising your legs up until they are parallel to the ground, while keeping them as straight as possible.
3.  Slowly lower legs back down to the starting position. Be sure you lower legs all the way back down before raising legs back up.

Tips: Aim for as many reps as you can.

What it does:  Targets the abs and the hip flexors.


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Leg Strength Exercise - 11. Forward Jump

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
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Instructions
1.  Assume an athletic stance with your feet about shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, chest up and gaze looking forward.
2.  Squat down with your hips and butt down.
3.  Next, jump forward while maintaining the squat position.
4.  This completes one rep.

What it does:  Targets the quads and to a lesser degree the glutes, calves and hamstrings.


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Leg Strength Exercise - 12. Machine Thigh Abductor

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
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Instructions
1.  Sit at an abductor machine with your feet on the footrests and your hands on each handle grip. Your thighs will be on the inside of the leg pads.
2.  Sit tall without resting your back against the chair.
3.  Exhale as you push your legs against the thigh pads, separating your legs as far as possible.
4.  Hold for a moment and then inhale as you slowly return to the starting position.
5.  Repeat for a complete set.

What it does:  Targets the outer thighs and to a lesser degree the glutes.


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Leg Strength Exercise - 13.  Machine Thigh Adductor

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
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1.  Sit at an adductor machine with your feet on the footrests and your hands on each handle grip. Your knees will be on the outside of the leg pads.
2.  Sit tall without resting your back against the chair.
3.  Exhale as you push your legs against the thigh pads, bringing your legs together.
4.  Hold for a moment and then inhale as you slowly return to the starting position, separating your legs as far as possible.
5. Repeat for a complete set.

What it does:  Targets the groin and to a lesser degree the glutes.



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Leg Strength Exercise - 14. Prone Kneeling Leg Extension


1.  Kneel on the floor with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Pull your belly towards your spine to tighten your abs and keep your back straight throughout the exercise.
2.  Straighten your right leg behind you until your toes touch the floor. Try to keep your hips and shoulders from moving – let your legs do the work.
3.  Exhale and pull your leg up as far as it will go and hold for a few seconds.
4.  Inhale as you slowly return your right leg to a kneeling position.
5.  Do 8 reps and switch legs.

Work your way up to 3 sets of 12 reps.

What it does:  Targets your back and abdominal muscles as well as your glutes and hamstrings.



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Leg Strength Exercise - 15. Jump Up on Step

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
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1.  Face a step or elevated platform. Inhale deeply.
2.  Using both feet, jump onto the step while exhaling.
3.  Do 8 reps for 2 sets.

Note: This is similar to the Step Up except that you will jump onto the step or elevated platform. Be sure it’s sturdy enough to withhold your weight without slipping out from under you. This exercise ranges from intermediate to difficult based on the height of the step. Start slowly, this is harder than it looks.

Variations: Lateral Jump Step. Facing the side of a lengthwise stepper (I got mine at Amazon :) ), place one leg on each side so your legs aren’t too far apart and jump onto the platform. Repeat for 2 sets of 8 reps.

What it does:  Jumping builds upper and lower body strength and muscle tone.


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Leg Strength Exercise - 16. Leg Extension


1.  Sit on a leg extension machine with your legs under the pad. Grasp the side bars with your hands. Inhale.
2.  Extend your legs to the maximum, exhaling as you do so. Pause a second in this contracted position.
3.  Lower the weight back to the original position as you inhale. Make sure your legs don’t go past a 90-degree angle.

What it does:  Primarily targets the quads.


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Leg Strength Exercise - 17. Prone Leg Kick


1.  Start on your hands and knees with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Flex your feet.
2.  Keeping your arms straight and your left knee bent, push your left foot up towards the ceiling.
3.  Keep your core braced and squeeze your glutes as you kick up and back. Keep your knee straight behind you – don’t move it to the side.
4.  Hold for a second or two at the top, then bring your knee back down into a starting position.

What it does: Primarily targets the hamstrings and gluts.

Note:To make this exercise more difficult, don’t let your knee touch the ground before the next rep. For more of a challenge, once you have mastered your form, you can add ankle weights.

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Arm Strength Exercise - 1. Bicep Curl

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
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1. Sit on the bench with your feet firmly on the floor and your back straight.
2. Grasp a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing each other and the dumbbells are at your side.
3. Slowly exhale and curl your arms up so your palms are facing up.
4. Raise the weights until your biceps are at shoulder level.
5. Squeeze your biceps at the top and inhale as you slowly lower to the starting position.

Note: If possible use a short-backed bench to help your posture or stand against a wall.

What it does: Strengthens your biceps and to a lesser degree, your forearms.

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Arm Strength Exercise - 2. Tricep Push Down

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
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1.  Feet shoulder width apart, face a high pulley machine with an attached bar at shoulder level height and grasp it with your palms facing down (pronated). Hold the bar close to your chest (starting position).
2.  Keep your body stationary, with a slight bend in your elbows and your wrist steady, exhale as you lower the bar by completely extending your arms downward until the bar touches your thighs.
3.  Hold for a moment and then inhale as you slowly return the bar to shoulder level.
4.  Repeat for a complete set.

What it does:  Strengthens lats and to a lesser degree triceps.

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Arm Strength Exercise - 3. Seated Cable Row

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
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1.  Sit at a low pulley machine with your feet resting against the footrests and your knees slightly bent.
2.  With your abs drawn in and your back straight lean forward slightly to grasp the handles with an overhand grip (palms face downwards).
3.  Slowly bring the pulleys back towards your abs while sitting upright, keep your elbow close to your chest and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
4.  Hold for a second then slowly return the pulleys to the starting position.
5.  Repeat.
What it does: Strengthen the middle back, biceps and lower back.

Tip: Make sure that your back is straight. Do not lock your knees when rowing back.

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Arm Strength Exercise - 4. Tricep Curl

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
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1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, your back straight and your abs drawn in.
2.  Hold a dumbbell with both hands, palms facing upward.
3.  Carefully raise the dumbbell overhead. This is your starting position.
4.  Keep your upper arms stationary as you inhale and lower the dumbbell behind your head.
5. Exhale as you raise the dumbbell back to the starting position.
6. Repeat for a complete set.

What it does:  Strengthens the triceps.

Note:  Keep your elbows close to your head during this exercise.

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Arm Strength Exercise - 5. Tricep Bench Dip

  • Difficulty: Beginner
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1. Stand in front of a bench or sturdy chair with your hands behind you, firmly gripping the edge of the bench. At this point you will be squatting with your arms and knees bent and your hands behind you on the bench.
2.  Dip down until your arms are at a 90-degree angle. Do not touch the ground.
3.  Straighten your arms – this should raise your body so that you are parallel with the top of the bench.
4.  Try to do 3 sets of 8.

What it does:  Strengthens the triceps.

Note:  Be sure to keep your hands shoulder-width apart.

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Arm Strength Exercise - 6. Tricep Extension

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
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1. Stand with your right foot forward, shoulder width apart, your knees slightly bent and and your abs drawn in.
2.  Place your left hand on your left thigh.
3.  Hold a 3-5 pound dumbbell in your right hand.
4.  Keeping your elbow bent, exhale and pull your right upper arm up and back so it’s almost parallel with the ground.
5. Squeeze and hold for a few seconds, then bring your right arm to your starting position.
6. Repeat for a complete rep, doing 3 sets of 15 reps.

What it does:  Strengthens the triceps.

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Arm Strength Exercise - 7. Lat Pull Down Machine

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
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1. Sitting at a Lat Machine, place your knees under the provided pads. Position the pads so that your thighs are not able to raise up off the bench.
2.  Grasp the lat bar with a little wider than shoulder-width grip.
3.  Pull the bar down to your upper chest. Focus on using your lats to pull the bar down and not your arms.
4.  Slowly reverse movement back to starting position. This completes one rep.

What it does:  Strengthens the triceps.


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Arm Strength Exercise - 8. Dumbbell Fly's


1. Lie on a flat bench, holding a dumbbell in each hand and with palms facing each other, rest the weight on the top of your thighs.
2.  Lift dumbbells together above your shoulders with your arms straight. This is your starting position.
3.  Keep your arms straight and with a slight bend in your elbows lower the dumbbells down towards the floor in an arc, up until just above your shoulders.
4.  Return to the starting position in a slow controlled manner, using the same arc to raise your arms.
5.  Repeat for the desired reps.

Note: Be sure to keep a slight bend in your arms – this will keep pressure off your elbow.

What it does:  Strengthens the chest and shoulders.

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