8 Steps to a Stronger Body

This strength-training routine includes a mixture of weighted and non-weighted exercises, but they can all be performed as body weight exercises, if you prefer. If you want to try these at home but don’t own any free weights, improvise-a bottle of water in each hand works well.

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Adults tend to lose 3 to 5 percent of their muscle each decade. Strength training can reverse this trend.

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Leg Press

Leg Press

Muscles worked: front of thighs/buttocks

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, your arms by your sides and a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Do not lock your knees.
  • Inhale as you drop your hips and squat slowly down.
  • Keep your back as straight as possible and do not bend your legs past a 90-degree angle.
  • Exhale as you push back up to your original position, again without locking your knees.
  • Do three sets of 8 reps
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Calf Raise

Calf Raise

Muscles worked: calves

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, arms by your sides and a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Exhale as you raise your heels off the ground.
  • Inhale as you return your heels slowly back down to the ground.
  • Do three sets of 8 reps.
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Muscles worked: chest/triceps/shoulders

  • Place your palms flat on the floor and slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Keeping your body straight, come up onto your toes.
  • Slowly bend your arms at the elbows and lower your chest towards the floor.
  • Push back up into the original position. If this is too hard, try it with your knees on the floor.
  • Do three sets of 8 reps.
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Single-arm Row

Single-arm Row

Muscles worked: back/biceps

  • Hold a dumbbell in your right hand.
  • Keeping your lower body straight, bend at the hip and place your left hand on a bench for support.
  • Without twisting your spine, exhale and pull the dumb-bell towards you until your hand is level with your chest.
  • Inhale as you lower your arm down to your original position.
  • Do three sets of 8 reps for both your arms.
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Tricep Kickback

Tricep Kickback

Muscles worked: triceps

  • Kneel on all fours with your back straight.
  • Hold a dumbbell in one hand and bend your arm at the elbow so that your upper arm is in line with the side of your body.
  • Exhale as you straighten your lower arm out behind you.
  • Inhale as you come back into the original position.
  • Do two sets of 8 reps.
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Lateral Raise

Lateral Raise

Muscles worked: shoulders

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, arms by your sides and a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Keep your arms relaxed and exhale as you raise your arms up and out to your sides.
  • Keep your elbows slightly bent and inhale as you lower your arms back to your sides.
  • Do two sets of 8 reps.
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Back Extensions

Back Extensions

Muscles worked: lower back

  • Lie on your front with your hands facing palm up on your buttocks.
  • Look towards the floor just ahead of you.
  • Exhale as you slowly raise your shoulders and upper chest a few centimetres off the mat.
  • Lead the movement with your back and chest, not your head.
  • Inhale as you slowly lower your body back down to the mat.
  • Do two sets of 8 reps.
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Abdominal Crunch

Abdominal Crunch

Muscles worked: stomach

  • Lie on your back with your legs bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  • Place your hands gently to the sides of your head.
  • Exhale as you curl up and forward in a slow, controlled manner, just far enough to lift your shoulders and upper back from the floor.
  • Do not jerk your body, arch your back or pull on your head or neck. Inhale as you slowly uncurl your body until you come back down onto the floor.
  • Do three sets of 12 reps.

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