When beginning a strength training program, it’s important to start slowly and progress gradually to allow your muscles to adapt to the challenge. Combination moves that work the upper and lower body can save you time during your workout, and more creative moves leave room for adaptation and adding weight as you grow stronger. Try these strength exercises for beginners.
Push-Up with Alternating Rows
Get in a modified push-up position on your hands and knees. Place a dumbbell next to each hand. Perform a push-up, then grab the weight with your right hand and pull it towards your chest. Return the weight to the ground, grab the other weight with your left hand and repeat. Continue with one push-up and then a right and left row. To make the exercise more challenging, perform a standard push-up, or keep the weights in your hands so that they support you as you lower to the ground.
Squat with Shoulder Press
Hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder level. Your palms should be facing each other, and the dumbbell should be close to touching your shoulder. Bend the knees to sit back in a squat position, as if you were sitting back in a chair. Raise to the starting position, and then push the weights overhead until your arms are fully extended. Lower the weights back to shoulder level and repeat. To make the exercise less challenging, begin without weights. To make it more challenging, increase the weight of the dumbbells and squat more deeply so that the thighs are parallel to the ground.
Step your right foot to the right. With your left leg extended and your left foot still flat on the floor, bend the right knee to sit back into a squat position. Return to the start and repeat on the left side. Increase the intensity by holding a dumbbell in each hand. You can also add an upper body move by performing a front raise with the dumbbells as you lunge from side to side.
Position yourself on your elbows and toes on the floor so that your body is in a straight line from your shoulders to your heals. Hold for 15 to 60 seconds. Add movement to your plank to make it more challenging. Alternate lifting the right and left leg off the floor, or alternate reaching your hands out in front of you to touch the floor.
Low-fat milk has been considered a quality source of protein and calcium, but opinions about whether or not dairy is essential for health are changing among scientists and consumers. Drinking milk may not be for everyone, and it’s important to learn more about all sides of the story before deciding if it is right for you.
Health Benefits of Milk
The type of calcium in milk is easily absorbed by the body. Along with the protein and vitamin D, these nutrients are associated with bone health and a reduced risk for osteoporosis. Milk is also rich in potassium, a key nutrient in reducing blood pressure. Dairy intake has been linked to reduced risks for colon cancer. The protein in milk keeps you feeling full and may be the reason some studies suggest dairy can aid in weight loss.
Problems Caused by Milk
Those with lactose intolerance cannot digest the lactose (sugar) in dairy, and drinking milk results in an upset stomach. While dairy may help lower the risk of colon cancer, high intakes may also increase the risk of prostate and ovarian cancers. Milk can contain vitamin A in the form of retinol and elevated intakes of retinol can weaken bones. Consuming high-fat dairy increases the intake saturated fat and cholesterol related to a greater risk for heart disease.
Milk is nutritious in moderation and if you enjoy drinking it, there may be no reason to cut it out. But growing research reveals that milk may not be essential for health. If you can’t tolerate milk or you choose not to drink it, you can still get all the nutrients that you need. The nutrients that milk supply can also be found in foods such as vegetables, beans, and eggs.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Cut the top quarter off of the head of garlic so that the cloves are exposed. Set the head of garlic on a sheet of aluminum foil and drizzle with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil. Wrap the garlic in the foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully open the foil to allow the garlic to cool.
Place the kale in a medium bowl and add 1 teaspoon of olive oil. With clean hands, massage the oil into the kale for about 2 minutes. Add the broccoli slaw and onion to the kale.
Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves into a separate large bowl. Discard the skins. Whisk the rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey and orange zest into the garlic until smooth. Next, whisk in the sesame oil and then the remaining olive oil.
Add the vegetables to the bowl with the dressing and toss to coat all ingredients. Sprinkle with optional toppings and serve.
Nutrition information for 1 serving: Calories 159; Total Fat 10.9 g; Saturated Fat 1.5 g; Trans Fat 0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 100 mg; Carbohydrate 14.8 g; Fiber 3.4 g; Sugar 0.8 g; Protein 4 g; Vitamin A 16203 IU; Vitamin C 141 mg; Calcium 158 mg; Iron 2.0 mg
Cardiovascular exercise doesn’t have to take the form of distance running or lengthy sessions on machines. Incorporate these moves into any workout to increase your heart rate and burn calories.
Planks strengthen the upper body and the core, and variations can make them challenging cardio workouts. While in a plank position on your hands, jump both feet out to the sides and back together for plank jacks. Do mountain climbers by alternating steps forward and pulling in the knee towards the chest. Jump both feet forward to land between your hands for a plank tuck. Adding these jumps and tucks with the lower body will quickly increase your heart rate.
Adding a jump to any move makes it more difficult and increases your heart rate. You can turn a lower body strength move into a cardio workout by jumping between repetitions. Jump into the air as you stand from a squat or jump as you switch feet during alternating lunges.
A classic athletic training move, you can use quick feet to boost the cardiovascular benefit of your workout. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and squat down a little by bending the knees. Quickly shuffle your feet, but stay in one place. The lower you squat during the shuffle, the more challenging it will be for your lower body muscles and your cardiovascular system. Incorporate 30 to 60 seconds of quick feet any time you want to add a quick burst of cardio.
Kick with a Runner’s Lunge
Using all the major muscle groups to move the body up and down is a good way to increase the heart rate. From a standing position, lift the right knee until the thigh is parallel to the floor, and kick your foot out in front of you. Lower the leg and extend it behind you as you plant the toes of your right foot on the ground while bending the left knee into a runner’s lunge. Your hands should touch the ground next to your left foot. Move more quickly and add a small hop on the left foot as you kick to increase intensity. Repeat the kick and lunge on the right side for 30 seconds before switching legs.
A poor body image gets in the way of reaching fitness goals. Whether it’s the appearance of wrinkles or the lack of six-pack abs, when you focus on minor imperfections, it lowers your self-confidence. Identifying what causes this poor body image is the first step to accepting and appreciating who you are.
You Spend Too Much Time on Social Media
Take note of the types of social media accounts you follow. You may be subjecting yourself to unrealistic standards for beauty, which may affect how your think of yourself. We were once only exposed to this when watching television or reading magazines, but social media increases how often we see these unrealistic images. Follow accounts that motivate you, and unfollow those that leave you feeling less than perfect.
You Are Stuck in the Past
Past failures can cause you to feel as though you will never succeed. Not fitting into your ideal dress size by your wedding or dropping out of a distance race can be difficult to get over. Remind yourself that you are not the same person you were then. Your body isn’t the same either, and this isn’t a bad thing. It may respond to exercises differently than it did, which can lead to more adventurous and enjoyable activities. Today, you are ready both mentally and physically to accomplish your goals.
You Have Unrealistic Goals
Everyone has a unique body shape. There may be areas of your body that will never look exactly the way you would like. Stop comparing yourself to others, and focus on being the healthiest you can be. As you reach your fitness goals, you will grow to love those areas of your body that may once have seemed imperfect.
You Surround Yourself with Unsupportive People
The people around you have a strong influence on your attitude. Negativity spreads easily. Those who put their bodies down or make negative comments about your body will cause you to do the same. Surround yourself with peers who maintain a positive outlook and celebrate even the smallest accomplishments.