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December 13, 2020

Simple and strong: Strength training without the gym

Strength training doesn’t require a fancy gym membership or in-home exercise equipment. For this simple, five-move routine, all you need is a small amount of space and a sturdy bench or step.

For each exercise, do one set of 8 to 12 repetitions (otherwise known as reps) of each move. Make sure your movements are slow and controlled to both maximize gains and reduce the chance of injuries. For best results, do the routine three days a week, with at least one day separating your last workout from the next.

Super Woman

Lie facedown with your legs extended straight behind you, toes pointed, and arms extended straight overhead. Hold your head in line with your spine and lifted slightly up off the floor at a comfortable level. Look down at the floor at a spot a few inches in front of your head. Simultaneously raise your left arm and your right leg until they are both a few inches off the floor. Hold, and then lower back to the starting position. Repeat with the opposite arm and leg. Alternate arms and legs throughout the exercise until you have completed half a set to each side.

Lateral Lunge 

Stand with your feet together, arms at your sides. Take a giant step to your left side. As you plant your left foot, bend your left knee and lower your butt toward the floor until your thigh is nearly parallel to the floor. Do not allow your knee to jut over your toes. Bend forward and touch your left ankle with both hands. Then push back up to the starting position. Repeat on the other side for a full repetition.

Crisscross Curl-Up 

Lie face-up on the floor, legs and hips bent so your feet are raised and your calves are parallel to the floor. Place hands loosely behind your ears. Pull your navel toward your spine and contract your abs to bring your head and shoulders off the floor. Twist your torso to bring the left elbow toward the right knee, then extend your arm past the outside of the knee while straightening the left leg. Return to start and repeat to the opposite side.

Step Push-Up 

Use a platform a few inches off the floor, or face a staircase and use the bottom step. Place your hands about shoulder-width apart on the step, arms extended, and place your feet shoulder-width apart behind you. Your body should form a straight line from head to heels. Bend your elbows and lower your chest toward the step until your elbows are bent 90 degrees. Push back to start. If this is too much of a challenge, you can try doing the push-ups on your knees instead of your feet.

Planted Step-Up 

Place your hands on your hips and stand facing a staircase. Place your left foot on the second or third step. Then press into that foot to bring yourself to a standing position. At the top of the move, contract your glutes and extend your right leg behind you. Keeping your left foot on the step, bring your right leg back down, and lower your body until your right toe just touches the floor. Immediately repeat, completing a full set with one leg. Then switch sides for another set.

Used with permission. © Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.