When you think of strength training, you might picture a traditional gym. However, if a gym membership is not in your budget, you can still achieve a great workout from home with affordable, even free equipment.
Why Strength Training? For the most complete workout, make sure both cardio and strength training are a part of your weekly routine. The American Heart Association recommends strength training at least two times a week.1 Building muscle mass helps you:2
- Burn more calories
- Lower your risk of injuries
- Increase flexibility and balance
- Improve your mood
- Strengthen bones, muscles and ligaments
Use Your Body Weight. The most inexpensive way to strength train is to use your own body weight as resistance. That includes planks, pushups, pull-ups, lunges and squats. You’ll find dozens of exercises to try with a simple online search.
Add Dumbbells. Add a couple of sets of varying weight dumbbells to your “home gym.” Use them for bicep and triceps curls, and also:
- Add resistance to crunches by holding one at your waist
- Enhance lunges by holding them for extra weight
- Strengthen your shoulders and back
Look online for exercises and techniques using dumbbells. Dumbbell sets begin as low as $10. You can also create makeshift weights using cans or milk jugs.
Resistance Band Training. Resistance bands are as versatile as dumbbells and even more affordable. They can be used for a variety of muscle groups, including legs, arms, back, chest and glutes. Check online for ideas on how to use them.
Experts recommend repeating each exercise 12 to 15 times with the right weight for you. You will know you are doing enough if you get to your last exercise and have just enough energy to complete it.3
1 “Strength and Resistance Training Exercise.” American Heart Association. 2018.
2 “11 Benefits of Strength Training.” U.S. News and World Report. 2018.
3 “Strength training: Get stronger, leaner, healthier.” Mayo Clinic. 2019.