4 simple strength exercises for beginners to do at home

Crunches: Hold this position for three seconds before returning to the starting position. — 123rf.com

We're all creatures that admire physical beauty.

It provides the eyes with a visual feast and the brain with a lot of imagination (which can go wild).

Thousands of women spend time and money on looking good externally.

Whether it is hairdressing, cosmetics or changing wardrobes, we are more likely to take care of our external appearance compared to men, but often pay less attention to our internal health.

Most of us can stick to a restrictive diet or follow a fitness regime for a short period of time.

However, we will eventually slacken when the goal is achieved.

After all, who wants to follow that sort of limiting lifestyle for months, let alone years?

Instead of taking drastic approaches to improve your appearance and health, making a few simple changes to your lifestyle without too much effort can keep you feeling well until your time is up.

Eating well, exercising regularly and keeping stress under control will boost your immune system and keep you healthy longer.

With the second conditional movement control order (MCO) currently in place in Sabah, Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, gyms and public parks are once again closed for the next two weeks and we’re forced to find creative ways to keep active.

Walking is a good form of exercise, but it doesn’t do much to build your strength or flexibility.

Strength-training exercises are an important component of any fitness routine that help keep muscles toned and bones strong.

Why not utilise this time to start your strength-building journey with these four exercises that recruit all the major muscle groups and are not too difficult to perform at any age?

Just one exercise each for your upper body, lower body, core and back – that’s all you need to do, preferably three times a week.

Start off with one set of 10-12 repetitions slowly, and build up to three sets as you get stronger.

1. Crunches

Lie on your back with your knees bent to a 90° angle.

Your feet can be flat on the floor or resting on the heels.

Place your hands behind your head and leave an orange-sized space between your chin and chest. Push your elbows back.

Exhale and come up until your shoulder blades are off the floor.

Hold for three seconds, then return to the starting position to complete one repetition.

Note that your lower back should be in contact with the floor at all times.

2. Glute bridge

Lie on your back with your knees bent to a 90° angle, with your feet flat on the floor.

Exhale while raising your hips up and maintain a flat back (no arching) until your knees, hips and shoulders form a diagonal line.

Return slowly to the starting position, gently touching the ground with your bottom before repeating the movement.

Remember to keep the toes relaxed.

This is a great low intensity exercise to build your thigh, glutes (backside), hamstring and core muscles.

If the exercise becomes too easy, you can increase the intensity by lifting one leg off the ground.

3. Push-up position with shoulder taps

Get down on all fours, placing your hands underneath your shoulders with your arms and legs straight.

If this is too difficult, place your knees on the floor.

Hold the position for 30 seconds by engaging your abdominal muscles.

Keep your head in a neutral position and maintain a straight line from your head to your heels.

Once this gets easy, release one arm and tap your opposite shoulder as you exhale.

Repeat on the other side.

Left and right taps constitute one repetition.

4. Alternating back extensions

Lie on your stomach, with your arms folded and forehead resting on your wrists.

Exhale while you lift your upper body off the floor, keeping your forehead in contact with your wrist and your legs on the floor.

Inhale and return to the starting position.

Keeping your upper body on the floor, squeeze your glute muscles and lift your legs off the floor, making sure they are straight.

This is one repetition.

Remember to exhale every time you lift either your upper or lower body off the floor.

Revathi Murugappan is a certified fitness trainer who tries to battle gravity and continues to dance to express herself artistically and nourish her soul. For more information, email starhealth@thestar.com.my. The information contained in this column is for general educational purposes only. Neither The Star nor the author gives any warranty on accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances as to such information. The Star and the author disclaim all responsibility for any losses, damage to property or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information.

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Exercise , workout , strength training


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