Make the most of strength training with dual-targeting exercises
Story by Chelsea Falin + Photography by Mike Ritterbeck
Men and women both can benefit greatly from consistent strength training regiments. Most experts agree that three or four strength training sessions of at least 15-30 minutes a week provide the most health benefits. The health benefits of strength training include:
• Building muscle mass that makes maintaining a healthy weight easier
•Improves heart functioning and overall cardiovascular fitness
• Improves mood
• Aids in better sleep
• Reduces the risk of injury and increases the rate of injury healing
One of the primary reasons people don’t do strength training as often as they should is that their schedules are already short on time. By utilizing one or more of the dual-targeting exercises listed below, however, you can make the most of even the shortest workout sessions.
Try these Workouts:
Start in a seated position with your feet flat on the floor in front of you and knees bent. Grasp a free weight in both of your hands and turn all the way to the side. Bring knees up off the floor and twist to bring the weight to the other side.
If this move is too difficult at first, start without the free weight and instead tap your fingers lightly on the floor to your side. To make the exercise more difficult, you can add ankle weights to your legs, which will make them harder to keep off the floor.
This move will primarily target your stomach, chest, back, and sides. It also works your shoulders, arms, and legs.
Begin this exercise in a plank position. With a slight lift of your entire body (except arms), lunge your left foot up to just behind your arms. As you slightly lift your body again, move the left foot back as you simultaneously move the right foot forward.
If you find this basic move too easy, you can incorporate body weights into the routine. Ankle weights will prove most useful in increasing the difficulty of Mountain Climbers, but vest weights can also be used.
This exercise primarily targets the stomach, chest, and back. It also targets the arms, legs, shoulders, and glutes.
Lunge and lift
Begin in a standing position with feet close together but not quite touching, grasping free weights in either hand. Choose a weight that is not too challenging. Move your left foot forward into a lunge position as you bring the weights above your head, even with your shoulders. Bring your right foot back up level with your left foot, as you bring the weights back down to your sides.
This move will primarily work your shoulders, thighs, and calves. It also works your arms, chest, and glutes.
Weighted jumping jacks
Attach ankle weights and wrist weights of three to five pounds appropriately. Begin the exercise with legs together and arms down at your sides. In a single move, bring both legs outward to a V position just past shoulders and bring arms up above head to clap. Then jump to bring legs together with arms back at your sides. If this exercise proves too difficult for you, you can move one side at a time.
This exercise primarily targets the arms, legs, and sides. It also targets the shoulders, chest, and stomach.
Jump squats with clap
Begin in a wide squat position with legs spread just slightly farther apart than shoulder-width. Ensure the back is straight. Use your legs to jump directly upward as you bring your arms above your head to clap. When coming down from your jump, you should fall back into the squat position. This exercise can be made more difficult with the inclusion of ankle or wrist weights.
This exercise primarily targets your legs and arms. It also targets your shoulders, chest, and sides.
High knees with reaches
Begin this exercise in a standing position with feet slightly apart. As you bring one knee up toward your chest as high as you can manage, reach the opposite arm and stretch toward the sky. Bring the arm and leg back down and repeat on the opposite sides. This exercise can be made more difficult with the inclusion of ankle and wrist weights or free weights.
This exercise primarily targets the stomach, shoulders, arms, and sides. It also targets the legs, glutes, and chest.
Squat jump slams
Push your hips and butt back and bend your knees to lower down into a squat, bringing a medicine ball between your legs as you lower. From here, jump up into the air as high as you can, squeezing your inner thighs, raising the ball above your head as you jump. At the top of the jump, throw the ball to the ground as hard as you can. Catch the ball as it bounces up and repeat.
The benefits of this particular exercise are many, including total body strengthening — particularly the legs and core — plus plyometric and coordination work.
Toe touch and leap
Begin in a standing position with arms stretched outright in front of your body. Bend down to the floor and touch your toes. From this position, leap directly into the air as high as you can, falling back to the low squat for the toe-touching position. Straighten slowly into a standing position and repeat. This exercise can be made more difficult by including ankle or wrist weights.
This exercise primarily targets your legs. It also targets your arms, sides, shoulders, and glutes.
Incorporating one or more of the dual-targeting strength training exercises listed above can help you make the most of even the shortest workout sessions. While it is always best to aim for the minimum of 15 minutes, the use of two of these exercises can make even a five-minute workout worthwhile. You also can incorporate these exercises into your normal length sessions for maximum results.