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Basic Total Body Strength

The basic total body workout targets all the muscles in the body, including the hips, glutes, thighs, chest, back, shoulders, arms and abs. This workout is short and simple -- a great way for beginners to get started with strength training. 

See your doctor before trying this workout if you have any injuries, illnesses or other conditions.

Equipment Needed
Various weighted dumbbells, an exercise ball, and a mat.

How To

  • Begin with a 5- to 10-minute warm-up of light cardio (walking in place, etc.)
  • Perform 1 set of each exercise (12 repetitions) using moderate weights.
  • To progress, add 1 to 2 reps each week (up to 16 reps); add sets and/or increase weight each week by about 5 to 10%.

For more challenge, try Total Body Strength 2 or Total Body Strength 3, which contain more difficult exercises.

Do this workout 1 to 3 non-consecutive days a week, taking at least one day of rest between workouts. For best weight loss results, combine this workout with regular cardio and a healthy, low-calorie diet. Click on pictures and links for more detailed instructions.

Ball Squats

Place a ball on the wall behind you and lean against it, keeping feet about shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees and, keeping weight in the heels, lower into a squat, keeping the knees behind the toes. Repeat for 1 set of 12 reps; hold weights for added intensity, if desired.

Assisted Lunges
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Using a chair or rail for balance, stand in split stance with feet about 3 feet apart . Keeping your torso straight, bend your knees and lower body toward the floor without allowing the front knee to bend over the toe (you should see the tip of your shoe). Push through the heel to come back up. Repeat for 12 reps, then switch sides.

Modified Pushups

Get into pushup position with your hands a bit wider than your shoulders, and your knees on the floor. Keep your back flat. Lower into a pushup until the elbows are at 90-degree angles. Push back up and repeat for 1 set of 12 reps.

Dumbbell Rows

For this back exercise, bend at the waist to about 45 degrees, keeping your back flat and holding medium-heavy weights in each hand. Squeeze the back as you bend the elbows, pulling them up toward the torso in a rowing motion. Lower and repeat for 1 set of 12 reps.

Overhead Presses

Sit or stand, abs engaged, and hold weights just over the shoulders, keeping elbows bent like goal posts. Press the weights overhead, without arching the back, concentrating on the shoulders. Lower down until weights are at ear-level, and repeat for 1 set of 12 reps.
Bicep Curls
biceplateral1.jpg (57132 bytes)
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding medium-light dumbbells in front of your thighs, palms out.  Bend your elbows and curl weights towards the shoulders.  Lower and repeat for 1 set of 12 reps.
Tricep Extensions

Lie on the floor and hold weights straight up overhead, palms facing in. Bend the elbows and lower the weights down until they're next to the ears. Straighten the arms, squeezing the triceps and repeat for 1 set of 12 reps.

Crunches on the Ball
Lie down with the ball under the mid-upper back, keeping hands crossed or behind the head. Contract your abs to lift shoulders off the ball. Lower and repeat for 1 to 2 sets of 12 to 16 reps.

Back Extensions
Oblique Crossover Crunch
Lie on your back and cross your right foot over the left knee.  Lift your shoulder blades off the floor and curl the left shoulder toward the right knee, contracting the right side of waist.   Lower and repeat on the same side before switching sides.
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