Strength and conditioning exercises are used to strengthen your muscles and joints, improving your mobility. We all move around the place as we complete our day-to-day obligations, so we all can benefit from making strength and conditioning part of our workout routine.
Strength and conditioning improves the quality of your movements, which helps to improve athletic performance. It can considerably impact a person’s quality of life, like making it easier for older people to move around.
Strength and conditioning exercises also help to develop better movement patterns which reduces your risk of injury. For example, an older person who regularly works on their strength and conditioning is less likely to fall and hurt themselves.
Strength and conditioning also improves the way your body looks and helps to burn fat. Your training shouldn’t be restricted to only lifting weights; it should also contain exercise plyometrics, endurance training, core stability exercises, and speed and conditioning drills.
Some of the benefits of adding strength and conditioning exercises to your training regiment include:
- Helps to prevent injuries.
- Improves mobility and athletic performance.
- Improves your general health.
- Stronger bones and increased density.
- Reduces stress and improves your mood.
- Improves your posture.
- Increases muscle mass and metabolism.
Strength and conditioning exercises to add to your workout routine
Here are some simple yet popular strength and conditioning exercises you should add to your workout routine if you aren’t using them already:
Push-ups are an effective way to strengthen muscles in your upper body like your triceps, shoulders, and chest. To perform the exercise:
- Get into a plank position with your hands on the floor and your arms extended. You should be able to draw a straight line from your head to your feet in the correct position.
- Lower yourself towards the ground until your chest almost touches it.
- While keeping your body straight, push up with your arms and return to the starting position. Aim for three sets of as many reps as you can perform.
Squats are one of the most effective strength and conditioning exercises for your lower body. It improves the explosiveness of your glutes, hip hinges, and quads. It also strengthens stabilizer muscles around your knees. Here’s how you perform a proper squat.
- Stand with your feet a little more than shoulder-width apart and pointed outward at a 45-degree angle.
- Roll your shoulders back and look straight ahead.
- Push your hips back over your heels and drop as low as you can. Imagine you’re attempting to sit on a chair placed behind you.
- Push through at your heels and return to the starting position. Go for three sets of as many reps as you can do.
Planks are an effective way to work stabilizer muscles in your core. It also targets muscles in your back, shoulders, and glutes. Here’s how to perform this exercise:
- Get on the ground as if you were getting ready to perform push-ups, but use your forearms as your base instead of your hands.
- Tighten your entire body and hold the position for as long as you can. Rest for 30 seconds and go it again. Aim for three sets.
4) Glute bridges
Here’s a simple way to work your hamstrings and glutes. You can start using only your body weight and add weights to increase the challenge as your muscles become stronger. Here’s what the exercise looks like:
- Lay on your back with your feet about hip-width apart and flat on the ground.
- Bring your feet close to your backside and drive your hips upwards by pushing with your heels. Hold the position for a second.
- Bring your hips close to the ground, but don’t make contact with it. Hold the position for three seconds to complete a rep.
- Try to get three sets of 8 to 12 reps.
5) Romanian deadlifts
Romanian deadlifts help to improve your balance and posture. They also help to strengthen your hamstrings. If you’re new to this exercise, start using only your body weight until you’ve mastered the correct form. You can then add weights using a barbell. Here’s how you perform Romanian deadlifts:
- Stand upright with a slight bend in your knees.
- Roll your shoulders back and down.
- Shift your hips behind your heels.
- Run your hands down your legs until you’re forced to bend your knees.
- Push through with your heels and hips to complete a rep. Aim for three sets of eight to ten reps.
6) Bulgarian squats
Bulgarian squats help to strengthen your hip flexors, glutes, hamstrings, and core. It also strengthens your stabilizer muscles and improves your balance. Here’s how to perform Bulgarian squats:
- From a standing position, place one of your feet on a bench behind you. The bench should be as high as your knees when standing straight.
- Roll your shoulders back and down.
- In a controlled and slow manner, drop your body towards the floor and go as low as you can.
- Push back to the starting position with your front heel. Aim for three sets of eight to twelve reps.
Burpees are one of the core exercises that are included in most strength and conditioning programs. It combines push-ups with jumping jacks to give you a full-body workout. It improves your cardiovascular endurance and helps to burn fat. Here’s how to perform the exercise:
- Get into position as if you were getting ready to perform a squat.
- Place your hands on the floor and keep them inside your feet.
- Lower your weight onto your hands and kick your legs back so that you’re now in a push-up position.
- While keeping your body straight, perform a push-up.
- Now, perform a frog jump and bring your legs back to their starting position.
- Stand with your arms over your head and jump as high as you can to complete a rep. Perform three sets of as many reps as you can do.
8) Ice skaters/lateral bounds
Here’s an effective way to work on your cardio while strengthening your glutes, core, hamstrings, quads, and calves. It’s a plyometric workout that helps to build explosive energy in your lower body. Here’s what the exercise looks like:
- Get into a half-squat stance with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your arms straight right in front of your chest. Your knees should be slightly bent, and your weight should be on the balls of your feet.
- Use your left foot to push off and hop to your right. Keep all your weight on your right foot and your left foot elevated.
- Now, push off with your right foot and hop on your left to complete a rep. Perform three sets of as many repetitions as you can get.
Deadlifts are one of the best ways to build mass and strength in your lower body and back. This exercise improves your posture and overall athletic performance. The key to getting the most out of deadlifts is using the proper form. Here’s how to perform a deadlift:
- Place a barbell in front of you and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Make the “thumbs up” sign with both hands, and run your thumb down your legs until you can grab the bar. Your arms should be just outside your legs.
- Pull the bar off the bar, rolling it on your body. Return the bar to the ground to complete a rep. Go for 8 to 12 reps and try to get three sets in.
Pull-ups are a great way to strengthen your back, shoulders, and biceps. All you need to perform this exercise is a bar you can hang onto. Here’s what it looks like:
- Stand underneath a pull-up bar and grab onto it. Your feet should be elevated off the ground, and your hands should be a little more than shoulder-width apart.
- Grab the bar with an overhand grip to make your back muscles do most of the work, or use an underhanded grip to engage your biceps more.
- Pull yourself up towards the bar until your chin is at the same level. Return to the starting position with you hanging on to the bar to complete a rep. Try to get three sets of as many reps as you can perform.
11) Dead bugs
Dead bugs are a core stabilization exercise that targets your glutes, upper body, and core. The exercise teaches you how to move your shoulders and hips without involving your spine. It also helps to improve your coordination. Here’s how to perform a dead bug:
- Lay on your back with your knees and hips at a 90-degree angle.
- Keep your arms straight while pointing them towards the ceiling. Suck your belly in and push your lower back into the ground.
- Slowly lower your left arm and right leg, keeping them just above the floor. Your spine should still be flat against the floor.
- Return to the starting position and perform the motion with your right arm and left leg to complete a rep. Aim for three sets of eight to ten reps.
12) Dumbbell thrusters
Dumbbell thrusters targets multiple muscles in your core, upper, and lower body. It also helps to improve your cardiovascular endurance and build stronger muscles. Here’s what the exercise looks like:
- Stand with your feet a little more than shoulder-width apart and tighten your core.
- Grab a pair of dumbbells and stack them on your shoulders.
- Perform a squat, going as low as you comfortably can.
- Press up the dumbbells in your hands upwards, and you make your way back to the starting position by pushing off on your hips.
- Perform three sets of as many reps as you can do.
13) Kettlebell swings
Here’s a great way to improve your balance, power, and strength while improving your cardiovascular stamina. The key to getting the most out of this exercise is swinging the kettlebell with your lower body instead of your arms. Your arms are only used to hold on to the kettlebell.
Here’s how to perform a kettlebell swing:
- Stand tall while holding on to a kettlebell.
- Engage your core and bring your shoulder blades together while keeping your arms loose.
- Shift your weight onto your heels and lower your backside back and down.
- Explode with your hips while driving down with your heels to bring the weight up towards your chest.
- Shift your weight back to your heels as gravity beings the ball back down to complete a rep. Go for three sets of as many reps as you can do.
14) Medicine ball slams
Med ball slams give you excellent plyometric training for your upper body. The exercise improves your overall strength and power. The exercise also improves your multi-directional core strength, cardio conditioning, and overall athletic performance.
Here’s how to perform a med ball slam:
- Start standing tall with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Keep your hips and knees slightly bent.
- Squat down slightly and explode upwards, lifting the medicine ball overhead.
- Using your arms and core. Slam the ball on the ground as hard as you can. Squat down to retrieve the ball and repeat the exercise. Perform the exercise as many times as you can in a minute and rest for about the same amount of time. Aim for three sets.
15) Dumbbell rotational punches
Rotational punches engage your core, biceps, and shoulders. It’s a great way for fighters to increase their rotational speed and endurance. The exercise improves your core stability and strengthens muscles in your shoulder. Here’s how you perform the exercise:
- Get into a fighting stance with one foot ahead of the other. Your feet should be hip-width apart.
- Hold on to a dumbbell in his hand with your palms facing each other and your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle.
- Rotate at your hips and pivot your feet to the left as you punch with your right hand. Repeat the motion with your left arm. Aim for three sets of as many reps as you can do in a minute.
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