What strength training exercises should I do?

Any strength training program should include a good warm up of five to ten minutes. This warm up can include high knees, skipping, hopping, back pedaling, grapevine and bounding. Following the warm up it is advisable to include core strength. Planks, chops, pulls and sit-ups on a stability ball are all excellent exercises to address core strength. Following a core set I recommend a total of six exercises broken down into three sets of two paired exercises. Exercises should include multi-joint movements that simulate the run motion. For example, the following workout is a sound training plan for an endurance runner: push up/row, single leg dead lift. Slide board leg curl, lat pull down. Lunge, bicep curl, overhead press. Tube walking also an excellent workout to address hamstring and glute strength. Finally, alternating opposite arm opposite leg quadruped is a key exercise for back health. Here’s how to do it: position yourself on all-fours, with your knees directly below your hips and your wrists below your elbows. Your back should be in a neutral/flat position, your eyes should focus on the floor in order to keep your neck straight and in-line with your spine. On an inhale lift your right arm and left leg up without changing the level of your hips or shoulders, hold for 10 seconds and then lower and switch sides. Repeat 5 times on each side. If you feel this affecting your low back, be sure you are pulling your navel in towards your spine to activate the abdominals and to take the pressure off of the low back area.
Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
To strengthen your muscles, the first seven of these exercises are the ones you should do first. They will strengthen your core. After a month of these first seven, add the other seven, too. These exercises can be done on machines or with free weights or with exercise (resistance) bands. . Many other exercises will strengthen the same muscles, I just list the ones I know, teach, and do. You want to choose a weight or a resistance band strength that allows you to do each exercise 8 to 12 times; after you have completed one set (gone thru the 7 or 14 you are doing that day), repeat the set in full. And remember to exhale on the most strenuous part of the exercise.

  • Bent-over back row
  • Lunges -- most important (you can do them every other day)
  • Squats
  • One-leg calf lift
  • Abdominal crunches
  • Oblique crunches
  • Arm and leg lifts

You can start doing the next seven exercises after you've mastered the first seven for at least two weeks, although it would be preferable to start the second seven after full month of doing the first seven every other day.

  • Chest press
  • Biceps curl
  • Triceps (behind head) extension
  • Standing side lift (use light weights to start this, as the deltoid is a weak muscle.)
  • Rotator-cuff rotation (use very light weights -- 1 or 2 pounds or ½ to 1 kg weights at first.)
  • Overhead press
  • Lateral deltoid lift (use light weights to start, as the deltoid is a very weak muscle.)

Doing these fourteen exercises is a joy, as you will strengthen all the different muscle groups. But do not do these exercises by yourself at first. Always learn with a trained partner or, preferably, a professional trainer. After three training sessions, ask the partner or trainer if he or she feels you are ready to continue on your own.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.