Wherever you are in your fitness journey — whether it’s committing to a weekly gym routine or feeling accomplished thanks to a few stretches and a walk around the neighborhood — we all want to feel stronger. Health-wise, the benefits couldn’t be better: when you feel strong, you’re less likely to become injured or feel tired on a regular basis, and your posture will improve. Emotionally, you’ll feel empowered and ready to take on just about anything. That’s an amazing way to feel, especially with little ones at home. We turned to Self Magazine for a few simple strength exercises that don’t require a gym membership — see below! As always, please consult a doctor if you have any questions about your health or how a particular exercise might affect a previous injury.
- Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart.
- Lower your hips into a squat as you bend your knees and keep your back flat.
- Continue to lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
- Push into the floor through your heels to return to start. Keep heels flat and knees aligned with the second toe.
- Use a step, chair, or bench that enables your knee to bend 90 degrees when you step on it. Weight benches are often the right height, but a sturdy dining room chair can also work.
- Place your right foot onto the bench or chair. Step onto the bench, bringing your left foot to meet your right so you are standing on the bench.
- Step down with the right foot, followed by the left.
- Complete 15 reps leading with the right foot. Then do 15 leading with your left foot.
- Lie faceup with your feet flat on the floor.
- Lift your hips until you form a tabletop position.
- Squeeze your glutes, then slowly lower back to start.
- Increase the challenge by placing your upper back on a bench and holding a weighted bar across your hip bones as you lift.
Bicep Curl to Shoulder Press
- Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Hold a pair of dumbbells (cans of soup will work, too!) in front of your thighs, palms facing out.
- Curl the dumbbells up to your shoulders. As you do, rotate the dumbbells so that your palms are facing each other.
- Press the dumbbells overhead. Keep your elbows facing forward during the press.
- Slowly reverse the movement.
- Stand with your feet together with your arms by your sides (or pictured) or hands on your hips. This is the starting position.
- Step back (about 2 feet) with your right foot, landing on the ball of your foot and keeping your heel off the floor.
- Bend both knees until your left quad and right shin are parallel to the floor, your torso leaning slightly forward so your back is flat. Your left knee should be above your left foot and your butt and core should be engaged.
- Push through the heel of your left foot to return to the starting position. This is 1 rep.
- You can either alternate legs each time, or do all your reps on one side before switching to the other side.