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Strength Training (cont.)

Body Weight

You can use your own body weight for resistance exercise. Pushups, sit-ups, chin-ups, squat thrusts, lunges, and step-ups are just some of the exercises that you can do to strengthen your body. The advantage of these exercises is that you can do most of them anywhere, and even though you can't change your body weight to increase or decrease the resistance, there are some things you can do to increase the resistance. Here are some suggestions.

  • Pull-ups (to strengthen arms, back, and shoulders). Some people can't do even a single pull-up. What you can do to help is stand on a chair under a pull-up bar to lighten the load as you pull up (the chair supports some of your body weight). Outdoors on a tree limb you can ask a friend to support some of your weight by holding your feet!
  • Push-ups (to strengthen arms, chest, and shoulders). Don't worry if you can't do a traditional push-up. Here's a sequence that will get you there: wall push-up. Just like it sounds, lean against a wall about 2 feet from the wall with your back straight and push back and forth.
    • When wall pushes are easy, lean against a countertop.
    • When leaning against the counter gets easy, get on the floor on your knees and push against the edge of a sofa or your bed.
    • When the sofa gets easy, do a knee push-up on the floor. Like it sounds, you are on your knees with back straight and you lower yourself to the floor and then back up again. Most people, once they can do 20-25 knee push-ups on the floor, they can do one regular push-up (with knees off the floor).

Give the push-up progression a try!

No one method of resistance exercise is superior to the other. As long as your muscles are contracting against external resistance - whether it's dumbbells, machines, tubing, your own body weight, bottles of water, cinder blocks, (or even your 2-year-old!) - the exercises will work to build your strength and tone.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/11/2015

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