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The Best Strength Training Exercises for Any Budget and Ability

Improving your strength doesn’t have to be costly or complicated.

These top-notch strength training exercises are convenient and affordable.

Building muscle mass and strength doesn’t have to mean enrolling yourself in a high-cost gym membership or exercise program.

There are plenty of excellent strength and performance training exercises that are affordable, easy, and convenient for your time and schedule.

This article will reveal some of the best exercises to improve strength in three categories: body-weight exercises, dumbbell exercises, and medicine ball exercises.

Best Body Weight Exercises

Body weight exercises require nothing except your own body.

You can do these muscle-building exercises anywhere, anytime, with zero impact on your wallet.

We’ve done our research to find you three of the best body-weight exercises for improved strength.

Body Weight Exercise #1: Plank

Remember the popular planking trend that seemed to dominate social media pages in 2011?

If not, we commend you on your lack of social media use (too many of us are addicted).

The trend involved people planking in strange places on various objects, and became a hilarious challenge across the internet, albeit dangerous on certain structures (we do not recommend you trying this at home).

the plank exercise

Luckily, planking to increase strength doesn’t involve getting on top of weird objects. Your hands and feet will be planted firmly on the ground as you reap these benefits:

• Improved posture. Scientists have found that planking strengthens the key muscles in your body that are responsible for good posture, which includes the back, chest, shoulders, neck, and abs (Kelly, 2018).

• Prevention of Hamstring and Foot injuries. Research suggests that planking strengthens both the hamstrings and arches of your feet, which makes it a great way to prevent hamstring and foot injuries (Kelly, 2018).

• Increased Flexibility. Planking is a proven method of increasing flexibility in the lower half of your body (Kelly, 2018).

Here are two simple planks that you should try today:

High Front Plank:

  1. Lie on your belly.
  2. Plant both hands on the floor, right next to your shoulders. Keep your feet close to each other.
  3. Next, take a deep breath and lift into a push-up position.
  4. Challenge yourself to hold this position for as long as you can without losing form or do sets of 10-seconds each.

Forearm Side Plank:

  1. Lie on your side with your forearm on the floor so that your left elbow is lined up with your left shoulder.
  2. Squeeze your core and push yourself up so that you can create a diagonal line from your head to your feet.
  3. Focus on keeping your hips pushed up to maintain the diagonal line.
  4. Challenge yourself to hold this position for as long as you can without losing form or do sets of 10-seconds each.
  5. Repeat on the other side.

Body Weight Exercise #2: Push-Ups

Who doesn’t love a simple and free way to tone the core and upper body?

Push-ups are one of the most popular body-weight exercises for good reason.

Studies have shown that push-ups increase upper-body strength, core strength, and lower back strength.

Of course, you will miss out on the great benefits if you are performing push-ups with incorrect form (which many people fall victim to).

Keep these tips in mind when performing your next set up push-ups:

  1. When in plank position, make sure your feet are close together (many people put their feet too far apart)
  2. Keep your arms parallel to your shoulders and approximately hip-width apart.
  3. Keep your body as straight as possible (prevent yourself from pushing your buttocks outwards, which is a common mistake).
  4. If you cannot keep your form during a regular push-up, rest both knees on the ground with legs in the air, keeping a straight form as you perform a modified version of the push-up.

Body Weight Exercise #3: Lunges

Lunges are a wonderful way to achieve strength, coordination, and treat or prevent muscular imbalances.

Some benefits of lunges include:

• Constructing lean muscle and eliminating extra body fat. A recent study has shown that lunging is a great way to increase lean muscle mass and reduce your resting metabolism, making them a healthy way to achieve tone and decrease extra body fat (Cronkleton, 2019)

• Greater Hip Flexibility. Lunges are a proven way of increasing flexibility in the hips, since they involve both stretching and strengthening at the same time (Cronkleton, 2019).

• Buns and Thighs! Scientists have found that lunges increase muscle mass in the hamstrings, gluteous maximus, and gluteous medius, making it a great way to tone your lower body (Cronkleton, 2019).

doing a lunge

To master the lunge, start by standing in good posture, with feet shoulder-width apart.

Next, drive one leg forward, with your heel planting on the ground before the rest of your foot.

Your forward thigh should be parallel to the ground and your forward shin vertical to the ground.

Try to lunge as low as your good form will allow, and then revert to standing position.

Body Weight Exercise #3: Yoga

The yoga trend can be traced back to thousands of years ago, and it has never gone out of style.

yoga exercises

Yoga is the full package, strengthening and stretching nearly every muscle group and promoting better coordination and muscular symmetry.

Numerous studies have shown that yoga can improve athletic performance, expand athletic careers through injury-preventative poses, boost overall strength and endurance, and promote happiness (Montgomery, 2018).

Head to your nearest yoga centre or find a fun yoga video to begin this all-inclusive training regime today.

Best Dumbbell Exercises:

Dumbbells are an affordable way for many people to add variation to their exercise routine.

There are a variety of great exercises that you can perform with dumbbells to target specific muscle groups.

Here are a couple of our favourite dumbbell exercises:

dumbbell exercises

Dumbbell Exercise #1: Bent Over Row

The bent over row is the perfect exercise to target the upper back muscles and the biceps.

Hold two dumbbells firmly in your hand, and bend at your waist, keeping your back straight.

The dumbbells should be in-line with your shoulders. Hold your body still while bringing the dumbbells up to just beneath your chest.

Then, slowly lower the dumbbells down and repeat.

Aim for two to four sets of 8-12 reps.

Dumbbell Exercise #2: Dumbbell Scaption

Have you ever experienced shoulder pain?

If so, this is the perfect exercise for you (and if not, this is a great way to prevent shoulder injuries)!

This exercise targets all muscles around the shoulders.

Start by standing with feet shoulder-width apart and holding the dumbbells at each side with your palms facing outwards.

While engaging your core and keeping both arms straight and palms still facing out, slowly lift each dumbbell as high as you can comfortably reach. Bring the dumbbells back down slowly.

Aim for two to four sets of 8-12.

You may try standing on toes for increased intensity.

Best Medicine Ball Exercises

Medicine balls are the perfect way to increase your speed, power, and strength.

Studies have revealed that medicine ball exercises can increase muscle strength, muscle mass, range of motion, agility, and speed (Bell, 2017).

Practice these next two medicine ball exercises to enhance your muscular fitness:

Medicine Ball Exercise #1: Twisting Lunge

The twisting lunge will help you practice stability while strengthening your core, hips, and glutes.

Stand in good posture with feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the medicine ball near the centre of your torso.

Drive your right leg forward, landing on your heel before the rest of your foot touches the ground.

Immediately after stabilising yourself in a lunge position, twist your torso to the right.

Revert to standing position.

Aim for 8-12 lunges each side.

Medicine Ball Exercise #2: Chest Pass

Go find a blank wall and get ready for a fun exercise that will work your core, quads, biceps, forearms, chest muscles, and improve your agility.

Stand three feet from a wall with feet shoulder-width apart.

Squat down and hold the ball so that your palms are parallel to each other and your thumbs are angled towards your face.

Throw the ball as hard as you can by pushing your arms straight out (as if making a chest pass in basketball).

Try three to five sets of five.

Now, Go and get Toned!

Remember to start comfortably and then gradually increase the weight or amount of reps that you perform.

It’s also a good idea to check your form in the mirror or perform some of these exercises in front of a physical therapist or trainer for best results.

Today’s superb article is a Guest Post supplied by the immensely talented and knowledgeable Dr. Scott Gray of Back In Motion

flipping tyres

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If you are a busy person who’s seen unwanted body fat, general poor health and fitness sneak up, please feel free to get in touch with the GymWolfPT Team.

I specialise in helping and guiding people become healthier, more efficient/productive and have extra energy.

I coach both ‘in person’ and online fitness programs which are tailored perfectly to even the busiest and time challenged business people.
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