Strength Exercises

Strength is about muscle health. Stronger muscles improve joint health by providing better support to the joints of your body. When your muscles and joints are fit, you can perform many kinds of tasks with greater ease.

Click on the front or back of the figure to select the part of your body you would like to strengthen to find simple no-cost, no-equipment exercises you can do easily to build your 15 minutes.

Pick the strengthening exercises that work best for you. Do the exercise to the best of your ability. You may not be able to bend or lean very far. You may only be able to repeat the exercise a few times. That’s OK. Getting started is what matters and you may be surprised at how quickly you see improvement in your ability.

Click on the front or back of the figure to select the part of your body you would like to strengthen.
CHEST

The muscles of your chest attach to your breast bone (sternum) and extend across the front of your ribs to the top part of your upper arm. You use these muscles when doing things like pushing a lawn mower, pushing a snow scoop or pushing open a door at the shopping mall.

BICEPS

The bicep is the muscle along the front of your upper arm. It attaches to the front of the shoulder area and extends down to the elbow. This muscle is used to bend your elbow so that your hand comes up towards your shoulder. Around the house and yard you would use this muscle to lift up boxes, a bag of leaves or a garbage bag.

TRICEPS

The tricep is the muscle along the back of your upper arm. It attaches to the back of the shoulder area and extends down to the elbow. This muscle is used to straighten out your elbow so that your arm is straight. Around the house and yard you would use this muscle when scrubbing the tub, shining your car, or using a push broom.

ABDOMINALS

The abdominal muscles or ‘abs’ are often referred to as your ‘stomach muscles’. Strengthening your ‘abs’ improves your core muscle strength, and provides better support for your lower back. The abdominal muscles attach to the bottom of your rib cage and extend down to the front of your pelvis. You use your ‘abs’ in many activities every day, from rolling out of bed in the morning and getting off a low sofa, to getting out of the car.

LOWER BACK

There are many layers of muscles in your lower back. Each of these muscles helps to move your body in many directions. You use these muscles everyday when bending over to get the newspaper, reaching under the counter or doing yard work.

Strong and well-toned back muscles help to reduce the chance of developing lower back pain. The muscles along either side of your spine start at the back of your skull and go all the way down your back to the pelvis. The exercises in the ‘Fit in 15’ program are a good starting point for increasing the strength of your lower back.

HIPS AND THIGHS

The muscles of your hip move your leg back and forth, side to side, and in circles. The strongest muscles of the hip are the gluteals or buttock muscles. Your primary thigh muscles include the quadriceps (along the front of the upper leg; also referred to as the ‘quads’) and hamstrings (along the back of the upper leg; also referred to as the ‘hams’). The ‘quads’ help to straighten out or extend your knee. The ‘hams’ bend your knee (bring your heel towards the buttock).

CALVES

The calf muscles attach just above the back of the knee and extend down the back of your lower leg. The muscle turns into a thick tendon called the Achilles tendon and attaches into the back of your heel. The calf muscle helps us to lift up on our ‘tip toes’. Tight calf muscles can contribute to pain along the bottom of your foot. This is referred to as plantar fasciitis.

SHOULDERS/UPPER BACK

The shoulder or deltoid muscle is actually three muscles; along the front, side and back of the shoulder. These muscles help to raise your arm upwards to the front (when painting a wall), to the side (when putting a sweater on over your head), and backwards (putting on a jacket).

The rotator cuff of the shoulder, which is made up of four different muscles, allows us to do more complicated movements such as throwing a ball. If you would like a strengthening exercise for these muscles check-out ‘Upping My Game’.

Wall Push-ups
Counter Top or Desk Top Push-ups
Kneeling Push-ups
Curls
Kick Backs
Counter-Top Push-ups
Pelvic Tilt
Torso Lift
Leg Ups
Hip Extensions - Bed
Pelvic Lifts
Back Extensions
Hip Extensions - Floor
Stair Walking
Stair Step Ups
Free Squat
Toe Press
Calf Raises
Shoulder Shrugs
Shoulder Raise - Seated
Shoulder Press
Shoulder Lift
Shoulder Raise - Standing