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Strengthening
Exercises
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Strengthening Exercises
What You Need to Get Started:
  1. Floor mat
  2. Free weights (two hand-weights between 3 and 15 lbs. each, depending on your level)
  3. Bench
  4. Consult your physician to make sure these exercises are appropriate for you

Doing these strengthening exercises should build up your muscle strength and bone density and increase your metabolism.

Always perform the exercises in the order given and do the entire routine twice a week (should take around 40 minutes each time.) If time is a problem, try splitting the routine in half and doing the exercises 4 days a week. For instance, do the first half of the exercises on Monday and Thursday and the second half on Wednesday and Saturday.

Perform each exercise in 2 sets of 12 repetitions with a short break in between, unless stated otherwise.

  1. Chest Press
    Using a bench and hand-weights, lie on your back with the weights in your hand and upper arms in line with your shoulders. Using a slow, controlled movement, press your arms up to a fully extended position, then back down to the starting position.

    Chest Press     Chest Press


  2. Row
    Start by placing your right hand and right knee on a bench with your left foot on the floor and left hand hanging down with a hand-weight. Your back should be flat and parallel to the ground. Slowly pull the weight up to your shoulder and squeeze your shoulder blades to finish. With control, return to the starting position. Repeat on the opposite side.
  3. Row     Row


  4. Abdominal Crunch
    Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Cross your arms across your chest with your hands on opposite shoulders. Look up at the ceiling to keep your neck relaxed. Slowly contract your abdominal muscles to lift your shoulders off the floor and hold the crunch for a 2-count. Then relax your shoulders back to the floor. Begin with 12 repetitions, but build up to 20.
    **For additional resistance, move your hands up beside your ears with your elbows out to the sides. Place your feet up on a bench or sofa.
  5. Abdominal Crunch


  6. Side Crunch
    Start as you did for the abdominal crunch, lying on the floor with your knees bent and arms across your chest with hands on opposite shoulders. Again look at the ceiling and keep your neck relaxed. Contract your abdominal muscles and lift your shoulders off the floor, but twist so your right elbow goes toward the left knee. Relax back down to the floor. Do 12 reps in each direction.
    **For additional resistance, move your hands up beside your ears with your elbows out to the sides. Place your feet up on a bench or sofa.
  7. Side Crunch   Side Crunch


  8. Biceps Curl
    Sit on a bench with your legs spread apart. Place your right elbow inside your right knee with the hand of that arm resting on the top of the opposite leg. Your left hand holds the weight and the arm starts straight (just inside the left knee). Slowly bend it up until the weight is up at the shoulder, then return to the starting position. Repeat the set on the other arm.
  9. Biceps Curl


  10. Overhead Press
    Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with your knees slightly bent. Hold the hand-weights in your hands beside your shoulders (if you use a single bar, it should be resting across the top of your chest). Using slow control, extend your arms straight up overhead, without locking your elbows. Then bend your elbows and return to the starting position.

    Overhead Press   Overhead Press


  11. Tricep Dips
    Sit on the edge of a bench with your hands on the edge next to your buttocks. Slide your butt forward off the edge of the bench, bend your arms and drop your body down until your elbows are almost at 90 degrees. Then lift your body back up (but don't return your bottom to the bench until you've completed all 12 repetitions). For an easier option, keep your feet on the ground with your legs bent. The intermediate option would have your legs straight out in front of you. The most challenging position is elevating your feet on another chair or bench.
  12. Tricep Dips


  13. Lunge
    Start by standing with both feet together. While maintaining a tall posture, take a giant step forward while bending your forward knee (but don't push your knee beyond your foot). Then press forcefully off your forward leg to return to your starting stance. Alternate 10 reps on each leg.
    **To increase resistance, hold light dumbbells.
  14. Lunge