9 Simple Strength Exercises To Keep Your Weight Down for Good
Weight loss is a journey that can be challenging for many. The road to success requires dedication, hard work, and consistency. However, you don't have to go through it alone. There are simple yet effective strength exercises to keep your weight down for good that you can seamlessly incorporate into your daily routine.
Strength training is one of the most effective ways to keep your weight down for good. According to research, this productive form of exercise helps build lean muscle mass and boosts your metabolism, making it easier to burn calories even when you're not exercising.
Below, we'll share nine easy strength exercises you can do from the comfort of your home without any equipment, courtesy of Rose McNulty, CPT, NASM-certified personal trainer and nutrition coach with Garage Gym Reviews. These exercises will help you tone your muscles, increase your metabolism, and burn calories. In addition, incorporating them into your daily routine will help you lose weight and boost your overall health.
The following exercises suit all fitness levels, so you can do them whether you're a beginner or an experienced weightlifter. By incorporating these strength exercises into your daily routine, you'll be able to achieve your weight loss goals and maintain a healthy weight in the long term. So, let's get started on this journey to a healthier, happier you!
This classic move targets your thighs, glutes, and lower back. To perform it, stand with your feet about hip-width apart and your hands on your hips or clasped in front of your chest. Check your posture to ensure your spine is neutral and your shoulders are back. Next, lower down and shift your hips back to sit into a squat, ensuring your knees don't cave inward. Once your thighs are parallel to the floor, stand back up into the starting position.
"The squat is a crucial movement to practice regularly because it's common in everyday life. Whether picking up [your] children, stowing groceries, or doing yard work, you'll inevitably have to squat down and stand back up, often with weight in your hands. Doing so with a stable core will help avoid injury," says McNulty.
Single-Leg Romanian Deadlifts
"As we age, balance training becomes increasingly important to maintain stability for the long run," says McNulty. "The single-leg RDL is a go-to move for balance because it requires standing on one leg, hinging at the hips, and reaching downward. In addition, you can do this movement with or without weight."
Stand with your knees slightly bent and your feet a bit narrower than hip-width apart. Hinge at the hips as you lift your right leg off the floor and raise it straight up behind you, simultaneously lowering your torso forward and down until your right leg is parallel to the floor. Keep your spine neutral throughout this movement. Pause, then slowly reverse the movement, lowering your leg and raising your torso simultaneously. Complete reps on one side before switching to the other leg.
Another lower-body favorite, lunges work your quads, hamstrings, and glutes, according to the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). You'll begin by standing in a neutral stance with your arms either on your hips or clasped in front of your chest. Step forward with your right foot, shifting your weight onto that foot as you plant it in front of you. Lower your body until your front and rear legs are both at approximately 90-degree angles and your front thigh is parallel to the floor.
"Another key exercise for balance and stability, lunges are a must-do exercise," says McNulty. "Lunges work both your quadriceps and glutes, along with the hamstrings. These muscles are all important for a stable base and total-body strength."
This move targets your shoulders and upper back, helping to improve posture and strengthen your upper body. "Being able to press overhead is key both in the gym and day-to-day life. Reaching up to grab something out of the pantry or getting something from a high shelf are things that are often taken for granted, but repeating these movements as you exercise becomes more important with age," says McNulty.
Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, your spine straight, and your shoulders back, rest your weights at about shoulder level with your hands just wider than shoulder-width apart. Brace your core as you press the weights straight up toward the ceiling. Stop before your elbows are locked out, then slowly lower the weight and repeat.
This exercise targets your glutes and hamstrings, helping to tone and tighten your backside. "The muscles in your posterior chain, including the glutes, hamstrings, and spinal erectors, are key for all-around core strength and, therefore, stability in virtually every movement you do," explains McNulty. "Glute bridges work the glutes, as well as your hips, hamstrings, and your entire core."
Lie on your back with your legs bent, and plant your feet about a foot or so away from your glutes. You may need to move your feet farther or closer if you don't feel the movement in your glutes. Then, keeping your hands at your sides, lift your hips straight up until they align with your shoulders and knees. Pause, slowly lower your hips back down to the floor, and repeat.
This exercise strengthens your core, helping to improve stability and support your spine. First, lie on your back with your hips and knees at about 90-degree angles, like an upside-down tabletop position. Reach both arms up toward the ceiling, keeping them straight. Next, lower your right arm and your left leg at the same time, straightening out your leg as it approaches the floor and keeping your arm straight. Once your arm and leg are hovering just above the floor, stop and reverse the movement. Keep your core engaged as you switch arms and legs with each rep.
"Dead bugs are an all-around core builder, plus a great movement for coordination. Working on building and maintaining coordination is important because it's something we tend to lose with age," says McNulty.
Planks are a great way to strengthen your core, including your abs and obliques. "The plank is a classic exercise for good reason. Yes, it's a great core builder, but the plank is also a total-body exercise. Virtually every little muscle you have fired up to keep your body in a perfect plank from head to toe," explains McNulty.
Get on all fours on a mat with your arms straight and your shoulders and elbows aligned above your hands. Step your feet out until your legs are fully extended and you're on your toes and hands, then lower onto your elbows with your forearms flat on the mat and pointing forward. For the duration of the plank, keep your hips in line with your shoulders and ankles—not too high or too low. This is key to getting the most out of the exercise.
Pushups can be modified to suit all fitness levels. Set up on your hands and knees, then step back to get into position with your core tight and your body in a straight line from shoulders to ankles. Lower yourself with control, keeping your elbows close to your body. Stop once your upper arms are parallel to the floor and your chest is just above the floor. Push back up to the starting position, keeping those elbows at about 45 degrees to your torso.
"Pushups aren't easy, but the ability to push up from the floor or away from an obstacle is essential," says McNulty. "If standard pushups are too difficult, try doing one of their many variations, such as wall pushups, pushups from your knees, or negative reps."
Cardio with Strength Elements
Adding strength elements to your cardio routine, like incorporating jump squats or burpees, can help boost your calorie burn, build lean muscle, and keep your weight down for good. "From heart health to overall endurance and weight control, cardiovascular training has many benefits that also serve standard strength training. For example, the American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise of 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise—or a combination of the two," explains McNulty.
Moderate-intensity activities include things like brisk walking, dancing, tennis, and water aerobics, while vigorous aerobic exercise includes activities at the intensity of running, uphill hiking, swimming laps, or jumping rope, the American Heart Association explains. To add an extra strength training element, try adding a weighted vest, ankle or wrist weights, or a backpack to these activities.
- Source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28871849/
- Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7831128/
- Source: https://www.nsca.com/contentassets/24dd7222ed1b4caeb8a0a46b81bd11f3/ptq-4.4.9-the-undervalued-lunge.pdf
- Source: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/aha-recs-for-physical-activity-in-adults