If you're looking for a new fitness goal to work toward, why not focus on strength training? Toned, sculpted muscles are just the tip of the benefits iceberg. Strength training improves balance, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, eases arthritis and back pain symptoms, and boosts bone density, which lessens the risk of osteoporosis.
Start with this at-home, equipment-free challenge from David Otey, a personal training manager at Equinox Sports Club in New York City. You'll strengthen up using just your own body weight in just one month.
Take the bodyweight workout challenge
Here's what to do: Run through this strength-training routine 3 times a week for a month. Perform each move in order, doing 1 minute of cardio (marching in place, jumping jacks, or jumping rope) between exercises. That’s 1 round. Complete 2 or 3 rounds, taking time to catch your breath between each one.
-Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulders, and arms extended at shoulder height in front of you, palms toward the floor.
-Push hips back and bend knees, keeping back straight and squatting until thighs are parallel to the floor.
-Rise to complete 1 rep. Do 15 reps.
-Begin in a high plank position with palms shoulder-width apart on the floor, legs extended behind you. (To make it easier, you can lower your knees to the floor.)
-Keeping body straight from head to heels (or knees), bend elbows, lowering chest toward the floor.
-Push up to start position to complete 1 rep. Do 15 reps.
3. Mountain climber
-Begin in a plank position with palms shoulder-width apart on the floor, legs extended behind you.
-Jump right foot forward, bringing right knee toward your arms. Immediately switch legs, jumping left foot forward as you extend right leg behind you.
-Switch legs again to complete 1 rep. Do 15 reps.
-Stand with feet a stride’s length apart, right foot forward and left heel lifted; place hands on your hips.
-Keeping shoulders aligned over hips, bend knees until front thigh is parallel to the floor.
- Return to start position to complete 1 rep. Do 10 reps, then repeat on opposite side.
5. Reverse crunch
-Lie face up on the floor with arms extended at your sides, palms on the floor next to hips.
-Bend knees 90 degrees, and raise legs until shins are parallel to the floor and knees are aligned over hips.
-Curl knees toward chest as you lift hips and lower back, then lower to start position to complete 1 rep. Do 15 reps.