What are the Five Basic Strength Training Exercises?

What are the Five Basic Strength Training Exercises?

Strength training or resistance training is when you increase muscle strength by having your muscles work against weight resistance. Resistance can come from body weight, band resisted movements, and weight resisted movements. Weighted resistance movements are most effective when you are looking to gain muscle strength and reduce body fat without spending hours working out. In fact, a short 30-minute workout with weight can yield great results.

Strength training and muscle evolution

With strength training, your body will increase muscle mass while burning calories to keep your body at a healthy weight. This is different from cardio training, which burns more calories initially, but results diminish after each session. With strength training, increased muscle mass will burn calories all day, even when you sleep! You will feel better, have a better mood, be more confident, and even receive a level of protection from injuries that can occur during everyday tasks.

Strength training also requires your body to work against resistance, which improves muscle strength, tone, and bone strength. Weight resistance helps your bones become denser, increasing resilience and decreasing the chance for bone-related injuries like osteoporosis as we age. 

The human body is built to move in specific ways that are dictated by bone structure and musculature. However, you don’t need an advanced degree in sports medicine to get a good workout. All you need is some simple knowledge about how your body works to help ensure you choose an efficient strength training routine that works the muscles we want to target without damaging the connective tissue like ligaments and tendons. 

Exercises are typically based on five classes of movements that encompass all types of motion your body typically performs: lower body push, lower body pull, upper body push, upper body pull, and core. 

Today, most of us spend much of our day sitting at work and during our free time, causing our muscles to grow weak. Targeting weak areas with resistance training will strengthen your body to improve every activity you do, such as running, walking, lifting, and more. Working the muscles for these key movements is necessary to counteract our increasingly sedentary lifestyles. 

Fortunately, a good workout doesn’t have to take all day. With the following 5 basic strength training exercise categories, you can activate your major muscle groups, maintain and build muscle mass, and offset the time you spend in your chair. 

Squats (lower body push)

man performing squats with an adjustable dumbbell core home fitness

Exercises with movements like squats utilize the hips moving in flexion and extension, and are referred to as hip-dominant. These strength training exercises are characterized by allowing your hips to flex more during training. Incorporate exercises that target the back, thighs, hamstring, and glutes to strengthen these muscles.

Squats target almost every muscle in your posterior chain which includes your quads, glutes, core, hamstrings, and calves. Squats have multiple variations, but the essential movement stays the same.

  • Spread your legs apart near shoulder width.
  • Keep your back straight, bend your knees, and squat to the floor. 
  • Briefly hold, then return to standing, clutching your glutes at the top.
  • Add additional weight, like the Core Home Fitness Adjustable Dumbbell set, to achieve the best gluteus maximus exercises at home.
  • Repeat eight to ten times per leg. Start with one set, then do more sets when it feels comfortable.
  • Always focus on movements and technique.
  • The most critical element to improve strength and power is weight resistance when performing squats. Weights should be added as soon as good squat form is achieved.

Hip Thrusts (lower body pull)

woman doing hip thrusts on glute drive machine core home fitness

The glutes are the largest muscle group in your body, and are susceptible to weakness due to sitting in front of your computer, phone, or TV too much during the day. Keeping this muscle group strong not only adds power to your legs and back for walking, running, climbing, and lifting, strong glutes also help protect your legs and back from injury. Add hip thrusts to your strength training workout three times a week to help keep your glutes strong and undo the damage caused by an office job.

You can make this exercise even more efficient and build your glute strength fast by using the Core Home Fitness Glute Drive to isolate and activate your muscles.

Take a seat in the Glute Drive, choose the right resistance for your workout, and secure the waist strap.

  • Using your core, lift your glutes from the starting position.
  • Squeeze your glutes at the top of the lift.
  • Lower your glutes in a controlled motion until you return to the starting position.
  • Perform eight to ten reps for one set. As you build strength in your glutes, add additional sets.

Chest Press (upper body push)

women performing chest press with adjustable dumbbells core home fitness

Pushing movements, like a pushup or chest press, strengthen the upper body through vertical or horizontal movement against resistance. Pushing movements are resistant training exercises characterized by using your deltoid muscles for vertical pushing and pectoral muscles for horizontal pushing. 

The most common pushing movement for chest exercise is a chest press performed with dumbbells.Chest presses will help you build strength and physique in your upper body while improving your overall fitness. This classic exercise works many other parts of your body as well, including your core, back, and shoulders. It works the muscles like a pushup would, but is safer, especially for people who lack upper body strength and risk damaging the muscles and ligaments of their chest during a pushup.  

  • Lie down with your back on the floor or a bench.
  • Adjust your dumbbells to an appropriate weight, hold one in each hand, and press dumbbells above you.
  • Pull the dumbbells back to your chest
  • Repeat for four to eight reps, completing three to four sets of the exercise when it is comfortable to do so.
  • Always focus on movements and proper technique.

Bent Over Row (upper body pull)

man and woman working out performing bent over rows with adjustable dumbbells core home fitness

The bent-over row is a key strength training exercise that develops your upper back and biceps. This exercise is great for any level of strength because it can be done with as little as a 5-lb dumbbell. 

  • Stand with your feet apart, taking a big step back with the right foot.
  • Bend both knees and lift the right heel, leaving the right toe planted on the floor.
  • Using your weight of choice, pull the dumbbell to your waist, concentrating on lifting the weight by squeezing your shoulders together while keeping your elbow tucked to your side. 
  • Slowly extend the arm to the starting position and repeat for another eight to ten reps.
  • During the motion, keep your back straight and chin tucked to your chest.

Side Twists (core)

women on a workout mat doing ab twists with a dumbbell core home fitness

Rotational movement exercises, like side twists, are movements that take place through your hips and core, causing power. Rotational movements are characterized by an action that starts with the core and the spine. By doing exercises that utilize rotational movement, you better protect your spine and strengthen your core. 

Side twists (or Russian twists) will give you a full-body burn. Beginners can start without added weight, then hold an adjustable dumbbell when you are ready to add more challenge to the strength training exercise. 

  • Select a weight that seems light to you at first. 
  • Sit on the floor, bend your knees and hold the dumbbell in front of your torso with both hands.
  • Keep your back straight and lean back onto your tailbone, balancing your upper body.
  • If you can, lift your feet a few inches off the floor to better use your abs.
  • Maintain balance and rotate your body left and right with the dumbbell. Left and right is one rep. 
  • Repeat for eight to ten reps.
  • Always focus on maintaining good form. Once you can no longer complete the movement using good form, your set is over.

Focus on key muscles for strength

When creating a workout plan, you want to focus on your goal for your body and create a routine accordingly. Strength training exercises like those listed in this article will strengthen the body while making it healthier.

You can achieve great workouts at home, using equipment such as the Core Home Fitness Glute Drive and Adjustable Dumbbell set. This equipment is an affordable way to add extra resistance and challenge to your workouts to improve their effectiveness. Strength training does not need to be intimidating, with exercises and equipment available for all experience levels, from fitness beginner to expert.

Click here to learn more about the Core Home Fitness products available for your home workouts.