Strength Training Exercises
All these exercises work one or more of your muscle groups, which improves your functional strength while also increasing your metabolism. By improving your functional strength, you’ll have a greater ability to do simple tasks, such as lifting heavy boxes or moving furniture. Try doing four or more of these exercises three times a week to start.
1. Overhead Squat
- Item Needed: A weighted gym bag
- Muscles Worked: The overhead squat is one of the best full body exercises you can do. It mainly targets the quads, but also targets the glutes, hamstrings, lower back, shoulders, triceps, and the abdominal muscles.
How to Do It
Stand up and hold the gym bag above your head, gripping the bag at the ends. You will hold this position during the entire exercise. Keep your arms straight. Your feet should be slightly wider than shoulder width.
Next, thrust your hips back and begin bending your knees for the squat. Keep your back straight at all times – resist the urge to slouch. Continue descending downward, envisioning that you’re trying to sit back into a small chair.
Once your hips are parallel to your knee joints, hold the position for one second. Now, rise back up into the starting position. This is one repetition. To build strength, aim for a minimum of 5 repetitions, doing no more than 12. Once you can easily do 12 repetitions, it’s time to add weight to the bag.
If you’re unable to bring your hips parallel to your knee joints, start with wall squats to build up strength. Otherwise, not going fully parallel can place stress on your joints and injure your knees. I didn’t go parallel when I first started weightlifting and seriously injured my knee. In fact, I had to lay off lifting for two months to allow it to heal.