Simple Strengthening Exercises

Strengthening exercises should be done at least 2 times per week and they should work all the major muscle groups which include shoulder, arms, chest, back, hips, legs and abdomen. 8-12 repetitions of an exercise is counted as one set. If you can, try to do at least one or two sets for each major muscle group. A weight can be a dumbbell or simple a bag of sugar.

PrintDownload the Stengthening and Flexibility Exercises leaflet

Overhead press

  • Which muscles does this make stronger?

    Arms, Upper back, Shoulders

  • How?

    Stand or sit with your feet shoulder width apart with a dumbbell in each hand. Lift the weight by bending your elbows and then push your arm up straight. Hold and then return the hand to shoulder and back down again. Repeat this on both sides.

Push up on wall

  • Which muscles does this make stronger?

    Chest, shoulders and arms

  • How?

    Face the wall and stand just a little further than arms length away. Lean forward and place your palms on the wall at shoulder height. Bend your elbows and slowly move closer to the wall and keep your back and knee straight. Hold it for a second and then push away until arms are straight. When you get stronger and more confident then you can try the ‘traditional’ push up on the floor.

Push up on floor

  • Which muscles does this make stronger?

    Chest, shoulders and arms

  • How?

    if you are comfortable with the wall push up try this push up on the floor. Lie face down with your hands on the floor at shoulder height. To start with, you may find may that getting on your knees is easier than using your toes. Bend your elbows as you lower your body to the floor and then push up slowly.

Biceps curls

  • Which muscles does this make stronger?

    Arms

  • How?

    Determine the correct amount of weight by choosing the one that’s going to leave you tired after 10 to 12 repetitions. Begin with your palms facing your thighs. Lift the weight so your forearms rotate and your palms face towards your shoulders. Keep your upper arms and elbows tucked into your side and your wrists straight. Once you have reached the top, hold and then lower the dumbbells back toward the starting position.

Sit up

  • Which muscles does this make stronger?

    Abdominals

  • How?

    Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place your hand behind your head, keep your chin lifted with elbows pointing out and slowly raise your shoulders and upper back only off the floor, pause for a 2 seconds and then slowly lower your shoulders back onto the floor. Exhale as you raise and inhale as you lower your body.

Back Strengthening

  • Which muscles does this make stronger?

    Back

  • How?

    Begin by lying on the floor facedown and extend your arms straight over your head (you can have a pillow under your stomach and one under your ankles).Now lift your right arm and your left leg up off the floor at the same time keeping your head neck and back in a straight line. Hold that position for 2 to 4 seconds before lowering your arm and leg back to the floor. Alternate this by lifting your left arm and your right leg. As you get stronger you could try to use all four of your arms and legs off the floor at the same time.

Half squat

  • Which muscles does this make stronger?

    Hips and Legs

  • How?

    Stand behind a chair and support yourself with both hands. Slowly bend your hips and knees, trying to push your bottom back. Pause and then slowly rise until you’re standing again tightening your buttock muscles. To ensure that you maintain the correct form, always keep your knees from moving in front of your toes. As you get stronger and more confident, try it without a chair. If you are struggling to do this activity you could try some simple ‘stand up – sit down’ exercises on a chair. You can still strengthen your buttock, hip and thigh muscles when you do this in a controlled manner with your knees apart throughout the motion.

Ankle raise

  • Which muscles does this make stronger?

    Legs

  • How?

    Start with your feet shoulder width apart and then push-up as far as you can on the balls of your feet. Use a counter or a chair for balance if needed. Pause for two seconds and then lower your heels back onto the floor. As you get stronger, using the staircase can be useful. Facing up the staircase, stand on the first stair with the balls of your feet with your heels just hanging off the edge, and your feet shoulder width apart. Now push up as far as you can on the balls of your feet, pause for 2 seconds then lower the heels back to the starting position.


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