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Strength Training: 8 Movements To Build Full-Body Strength

Yiwen Lu, MS, RD, CPT
November 24, 2023
December 8, 2023

Cardio workouts such as running, swimming, and cycling are fantastic for your health. They do wonders for your heart, boost your endurance, and are champions at helping you manage your weight by torching those calories. But, hey, let's not forget the importance of strength training. It's the secret sauce for revving up your metabolism. When you mix both cardio and strength training in your fitness routine, you get a reliable recipe for a healthy, balanced life.

If you're new to the world of strength training, no worries! You can start by checking out this article for some excellent beginner tips. And if you're looking for easy isometric exercises to kick things off, we've got you covered right here.

In this article, I'll show you 8 exercises for a full-body workout and offer tips on leveling up with extra weight. Remember, growth comes from stretching your capabilities. As you advance, choose a weight that makes those last 2 to 3 reps challenging, without compromising your form, of course. If it feels too easy, add more weight. Select 5 exercises, aim for 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps each. Let’s start now! Or save this article for later!

Upper Body Exercises:

Push-Up Variations (Target Muscles: Chest, Triceps, and Core):

Wall Push-Ups:

  1. Stand at arm's length from the wall with your hands placed on the wall at shoulder height. 
  2. Lower your chest towards the wall and push back to the starting position. 
  3. The closer you stand to the wall, the easier it is.
  4. As you progress, step further away from the wall to make it more challenging.
  5. To Add Weight: Wear a backpack with added weight or a weighted vest to intensify the exercise.

Knee-On Push-Ups: 

  1. Begin in a kneeling position with your hands on the ground, shoulder-width apart. 
  2. Keep your core tight and your body in a straight line. 
  3. Lower your chest towards the ground, tighten your abs, and use your chest strength to push back up.
  4. To Add Weight: Wear a backpack with added weight or a weighted vest to intensify the exercise.

Plank to Downward Dog (Target Muscles: Shoulders, Core, and Hamstrings):

  1. Start in a plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders and your body in a straight line. 
  2. Push your hips up and back, forming an inverted "V" shape to downward dog.
  3. Return to plank and repeat.

Reverse Fly (Target Muscles: Upper Back and Shoulders):

  1. Stand with a slight bend at your hips and knees. 
  2. Hinge at your hips, slightly bend your arms, and lift your arms out to the sides, like a bird in flight.
  3. To Add Weight: Hold a dumbbell in each hand. Increase the weight of the dumbbells as this exercise becomes easier. You can also use a longer resistance band by stepping on it and holding the band's edge for an extra challenge.

Bent Over Row (Target Muscles: Mid Back, Biceps, and Shoulders):

  1. Stand with a slight bend at your hips and knees. 
  2. Hinge at your hips, slightly bend your arms, and imagine pulling from your elbows while moving your elbows toward your torso, engaging your back muscles.
  3. To Add Weight: Hold a dumbbell in each hand. Increase the weight of the dumbbells as this exercise becomes easier. You can also use a longer resistance band by stepping on it and holding the band's edge for an extra challenge.

Lower Body Exercises:

Squats (Target Muscles: Quadriceps, Hamstrings, and Glutes):

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. 
  2. Lower your body by bending your knees and hips as if you were sitting back into a chair while keeping your back straight and your chest up.
  3. Ensure you can still see your knees as you squat down for safety.
  4. To Add Weight: Hold a dumbbell with your hands. Gradually increase the weight by using heavier dumbbells or a barbell. You can also wear a weighted vest.

Static Lunges (Target Muscles: Quadriceps, Hamstrings, and Glutes):

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. 
  2. Take a step forward with one leg. 
  3. Lower your body by bending both knees, and push back to the starting position. 
  4. Work on one leg first, then the other.
  5. To Add Weight: Hold dumbbells in each hand or use a weighted backpack for added intensity.

Side Lunges (Target Muscles: Inner and Outer Thighs):

  1. Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Take a step to the side, lowering your body by bending one knee while keeping the other leg straight.
  3. Push back to the starting position.
  4. To Add Weight: As you progress, you can hold a dumbbell or kettlebell in front of your chest to make the exercise more challenging.

Glute Bridge (Target Muscles: Glutes, Hamstrings, and Lower Back):

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. 
  2. Lift your hips off the ground, creating a straight line from your shoulders to your knees.
  3. Squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement.
  4. Stop at the point where you feel your glutes activating the most. To prevent injury, be careful not to over-arch your back.
  5. To Add Weight: Place a dumbbell on your front thigh or use a resistance band across your hips to increase the challenge.

Takeaways

Whether you're a fitness beginner or looking to shake up your routine, these 8 strength-building exercises can help you achieve a healthier, more balanced lifestyle.

If you need guidance or feel unsure about these exercises, consider consulting a personal trainer. Alternatively, explore Unified Care's rewards section for follow-along fitness videos. For any questions, don't hesitate to ask your dedicated Care Team – they're just a message away, always ready to support your health and fitness goals.

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