Strength Training Exercises


Strength training exercises are those exercises that will challenge your muscles through resistance. The resistance can be from exercise equipment or using gravity and your own body weight.

In order to strengthen your muscles you must provide resistance. This resistance needs to be enough to challenge and add resistance to task your muscles.

You need to task your muscles more than they are used to from normal everyday activities.

When you provide resistance to your muscles they contract. This contraction is what builds strength and increases anaerobic endurance. This will help increase the size of your skeletal muscles.

Keep reading to learn about the different types of strengthening exercises you can add to your weekly workout routine.

Weight Lifting

One of the most common form of exercise to build muscle strength is weight lifting. Although some exercises can be performed with a simple weight bench and free weights, to really get the benefit of weight lifting you will want to use specific exercise equipment.


Most gyms offer a wide variety of weight lifting equipment and an area to just do free weights (meaning it's just you and the weights, no machine). You can also purchase a home gym.

Weight lifting does not mean creating "bulky" muscles, so don't worry ladies. It's just a great way to tone and add lean muscles to your body.

Start with the lower settings on the machines until you find this is too easy. Then add more repetitions and/or more resistance by increasing the weights.

Strength Training Exercises - Resistance Bands

If access to a local gym or purchasing a home gym is out of the question, then try an alternate strength training method. Resistance band exercises are a great alternative to buying weightlifting equipment or a gym membership. You can get a complete body workout with resistance training using the bands for a lot less money.

They come in different strengths and are typically color coded for these strengths. To get the most from your strength training using resistance bands, you should have at least 3 different strengths – easy, medium and hard.

There are many different strengths ranging from the very easy to the super heavy resistance. As an exercise starts to become too easy, then move to the next level of resistance for the bands.

With resistance bands you can strengthen and tone all the major muscle groups. The advantage of resistance bands is that you can adjust the resistance, using less resistance when needed or increasing the resistance to increase the challenge. You can buy a variety of bands that will offer different degrees of resistance.

There are many additional benefits of exercising using resistance bands. Below are just a few worth mentioning.

resistance band exercises

Travel Friendly

Resistance bands are extremely convenient and light, so they can go with you on the road. This is a perfect way to keep up with your strength training even while on a business trip or vacation.

Adds Variety

Using resistance bands you can alter the exercises by changing your body position. This will alter the way the exercise feels and works the muscle in different ways. It's also a great way to add variety to your weekly strength training. You can alternate between weightlifting, dumbbell exercises and resistance band exercises.


Resistance bands exercises are the most inexpensive way to do your strength training. So if you don't want to invest too much money to get started, check out buying some resistance bands for your strength training exercises.

Works for all Fitness levels

Resistance band exercises are a perfect match for the beginners but also works for the more experienced strength trainers. As a beginner, you can use the least resistance and do just a handful of repititions. As you progress, increase the resistance by moving up to the next band.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Resistance Bands


One of the main advantages to using resistance tubes or bands is that you feel the resistance during the full exercise motion.

For example, when using dumbbell weights, the resistance is stronger when performing the up motion, like in the bicep curl. But on the down motion, the resistance is less as gravity is helping with the return position.

However, with resistance bands, you can feel the tension during both the up and down motions of the exercise, giving you complete resistance training.

Another advantage of using resistance bands is the ability to change the resistance easily. With a band, you can easily increase or decrease the tension by tightening or loosening the band.

For example, when doing squats with a resistance band, you place the band under your feet. By widening your stance, you are increasing the resistance.

Disadvantages of Resistance Band Exercises

Determining the right strength with a resistance band can also be a disadvantage. If your band is not the right strength, or you have decreased the resistance to the point that it is too easy, you will not be getting the most benefit from your strength training exercises.

Another disadvantage is that you may outgrow the bands. As you strengthen and tone your body, you may need to increase the resistance. Since the bands only come in certain strengths, the most resistance band may become too easy for you.

At this point, you may need to move to free standing weights to increase the resistance.

Check out these lower body resistance training exercises. Here you will find step by step instructions and images to ensure you are doing them correctly.

Strength Training Exercises - Dumbbells

senior lifting dumbbell weights

Another fairly inexpensive alternative to weight lifting are dumbbell exercises. What exactly are dumbbell exercises? For that matter, what exactly are dumbbells?

Well, a dumbbell, not to be confused with the slang term you may use for some people, is a piece of weight training equipment and is considered a type of free weight.

There are two types of dumbbells; fixed weight and adjustable weight.

The adjustable dumbbells, as the name indicates, can be adjusted to be heavier or lighter. It has a metal bar where weight can be added or removed.

Fixed dumbbells are a static weight and cannot be adjusted. You can generally buy fixed dumbbell weights in a set, with various weight sizes in the set. For instance, a set may include a pair of 2 lb weights, 3 lb weights and 5 lb weights.

While you won't get as high of a resistance as in weight lifting, dumbbells are a good way to tone those muscles. They are smaller and easier to store, so are easier to work with at home. Using Dumbbells are a great way to get in your strength training exercises.

The most common use of dumbbells are to exercise the upper body since these are held in your hands. This would include the shoulder, back, chest and arm muscles like the biceps and triceps

You can also strengthen your lower body using dumbbells. Exercises like the lunge or squats can be done while holding the dumbbells which will add that additional resistance.

Generally, any exercise you can do on the floor (like for the abdominal muscles), you can add weight by holding the dumbbells. This way, all your exercises can become dumbbell strength training exercises.

Benefits of Dumbbell Exercises

One of the advantages of dumbbell workouts is convenience. You can perform these exercises at the gym or in the comfort of your own home. It is a very inexpensive way for strength training the entire body and can be easily stored taking up very little space. From arms to calves, dumbbells give you a great way to strength train all your muscle groups.

Unlike barbells, which only give you one range of motion for the muscles, using dumbbells you get a variety of ranges working various areas of the muscle. Using dumbbells also helps with developing your lagging side of the body, if you have one. Often people will have one arm or leg that is stronger than the other.

Therefore when doing strength training with a barbell, it is predominately the stronger muscle that is doing most of the work. However, with dumbbells, you will work both sides equally as each arm or leg would be worked independently.

The one disadvantage to using dumbbells is that you may outgrow the weight. Basically, as you improve on your strength training, you may need to move up to more weight to continue strengthening. You can buy dumbbells that allow for additional weight to be added (adjustable dumbbells) or you could try holding two dumbbells at one time to increase the weight.

Here are some upper body strength training exercises. you can try.

Body Weight / Gravity


Lastly you can use your own body weight and gravity. Body weight exercises are a great way to strengthen and tone your muscles. These are basically strength training exercuses in which you use your own body weight along with gravity to provide resistance.

When performing the exercises you do not use any specific equipment. Instead you simply exercise using body weight to provide the necessary resistance in order to build and strengthen your muscles.

For people just starting out, any additional resistance from even resistance bands or dumbbell weights may be more than they need. A great (and totally free) alternative is to perform body weight exercises.

Benefits of Body Weight Exercises

There are many different types of benefits for using your body weight when exercising. In addition to toning and strengthening muscles, you can do these easily from home with no expensive equipment.

It's perfect for beginners and as with any exercise, you reap the health benefits as well. One of the main reasons people choose this type of exercise is the convenience of doing them from home. No need for a gym membership or expensive home gym equipment.

Body weight strength training exervcises give you variety. These workouts include both strength training exercises as well as cardiovascular exercises. These can range from walking, jogging, jumping jacks and jumping rope.

You can also perform yoga and meditation exercises as well as strength training workouts using your weight like push ups, crunches, and many upper and lower body exercises.

Benefits of Strengthening

The benefits of strength training go beyond just having a stronger and more beautiful body. Building lean muscle through strengthening exercises helps increase your metabolism.

This means by adding some form of strengthening workouts to your weekly routine, you can burn more calories and lose weight. Increasing your BMR is just one of the many advantages to strength training for weight loss and for your health. There are lots of other benefits to this type of exercise.

Health Benefits


One of the main benefits of strength training is the many health benefits. These health benefits include;

  • Increase in the “good" cholesterol (HDL) and decreased “bad" cholesterol (LDL)
  • Reduced risk of diabetes
  • Minimizes risk of heart disease
  • Lowers Blood Pressure
  • Lowers Risk of Breast Cancer
  • Decreases risk of osteoporosis
  • Reduces effects and symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Reduces the chance of getting a cold and other illnesses
  • Increased Bone Mineral Density
  • Improve Heart Condition

Other Benefits

One of the more obvious benefits of strength training is increased strength. This increase in strength and muscles means an increase in the number of calories you burn. By building lean muscles you are increasing your metabolism and aiding in weight loss.

Stronger muscles gives you and increased range of motion allowing you to do more activities. With strength training, you are building not only muscles but endurance, flexibility and balance. This increased strength and mobility means reduced risk of injury when doing everyday normal activities like lifting, etc.

Strengthening exercises can assist in reducing your excess body fat. With the increased endurance you can perform more efficiently when doing aerobic exercises. The increased muscles mean a higher metabolism. This in turns means you will be burning fat and less likely to store foods as fat.

For those who toss and turn at night, try strength training exercises. Better sleep is one benefit of strength training that many people don’t even think about. Proper exercise can help you sleep more soundly at night. And getting the proper sleep aids in weight loss, reduces stress, helps regulate insulin levels which can help you lose belly fat.

Additional Articles

Aerobic Exercises
In addition to strengthening your muscles you want to add some aerobic exercises to your weekly workout routine.

Ideal Body Weight Calculator
Check out this free online calculator to find your ideal weight.

Fat Burning Exercises
Burn more fat and calories during your workout with the best fat burning exercises. Read this article to learn more.