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8 Simple Exercises That Will Strengthen Your Entire Body

Some superb simple exercises to build your strength

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Functional Strength Exercises

A simple way to get stronger!

Do not miss this 30-minute education into exercise from qualified personal trainer, Gareth Philpotts.

Gareth and Shaun (The Black Country Buddha’s) provide you with a simple exercise routine, including only eight exercises, to help you develop your all-round functional strength.

Functional strength is important for everyday tasks such as lifting objects, pulling yourself up and maintaining lucidity in your movement – tasks which become somewhat difficult as you age.

Variations are also discussed to make exercises easier or harder, depending on your level of strength.

This is an exercise routine that everyone can complete, to make sure daily tasks don’t become difficult in later life!

Move people!

Exercise 1 – Press-up

Easier Variations

  • Press-up with hands on a raised platform.
  • Press-up on knees.

Harder Variations

  • Press-up with feet on a raised platform.
  • One arm press-up.
  • Super slow press-ups, 5 second down, 5 second up.
  • Jump or clap press-ups.

Exercise Form

Place hands on floor shoulder width apart, with middle finger facing forward and shoulders directly over hands. With a tight core and legs, bend at the elbows keeping them in, next to your body (not splayed out). Smoothly lower your body to the floor.

Gently touch your nose to the floor at the bottom, keeping your head in a neutral position. Once your nose has gently touched the floor, smoothly push up with your arms and engage your chest muscles until you return to the starting position, all the time keeping your core and legs tight. Breathe smoothly throughout.

See video [03.37]

Exercise 2 – Body weight squat

Easier Variations

  • Use tree, doorway or TRX bands for support.
  • Reduce range of motion until strength and mobility increase, allowing a deeper squat.
  • Start squat sitting on chair or bench and try to stand up without using your hands. If you need to, rock forward a little until you become strong enough to stand without rocking.

Harder Variations

  • Super slow squat, 10 seconds down, 10 seconds up.
  • Single leg pistol squat.
  • Squat with toes against wall and arms spread.
  • Frog jumps or jump squats.

Exercise Form

Standing with your feet about shoulder width apart and your head looking slightly up, smoothly push your bottom back and down. Continue to lower until your thighs are in a parallel position to the floor. Then smoothly push from your heels, raising to the starting position.

Keep a neutral spine and breathe smoothly throughout. You may want to cross your arms across your chest or hold them out in front of you, parallel to the floor.

See video [05.44]

Exercise 3 – Pike push-up

Easier Variations

  • Hands on a raised platform.

Harder Variations

  • Super slow, 5 seconds down, 5 seconds up.
  • Handstand push-up.

 Exercise Form

With your hands shoulder width apart put your body into a pike position with a bend at your hips of about ninety degrees. Keeping your elbows in and not splayed, bend at your elbows and smoothly lower your body forward to the floor, keeping your head in a neutral position.

Gently touch the top of your forehead to the floor and then smoothly push with your arms, engaging the shoulders and returning to the starting position. Breathe smoothly throughout.

See video [10.35]

Exercise 4 – TRX Row

Easier Variations

  • The more upright you stand the easier the exercise.

Harder Variations

  • Move feet closer to anchor point (tree or wall).
  • Super slow, 5 second up, 5 second down.
  • Lie under a fixed bar and row upwards towards it (children’s playgrounds or parks are good for this).

Exercise Form

Wrap a set of suspended movement straps (or a rope looped at each end) securely around a tree or fixed object. Hold each loop tightly. With your feet shoulder width apart smoothly lower yourself backwards. On reaching the bottom smoothly pull until you are back in the starting position.

See video [13.40]

Exercise 5 – Isometric Deadlift

Easier Variations

  • Reduce time of exercise.
  • Reduce intensity of exercise to 50/60/70 percent effort.

Harder Variations

  • Increase time of exercise.
  • Increase intensity of exercise to 80/90/100 percent effort.

Exercise Form

With your feet shoulder width apart, stand on a towel or rope. Bend at the knees so your legs are at a 45 degree angle to the floor. Grip the towel with your hands (if you also want to work on grip strength, don’t wrap the towel around your hands). Keeping a neutral spine and head, with your arms straight, push your heels into the ground and pull the towel until it becomes taught (do not pull from the arms – engage the whole body). Hold and squeeze for the duration of the exercise and breathe smoothly throughout.

See video [18.50]

Exercise 6 – Leg Raises

Easier Variations

  • Raise one leg at a time.
  • Raise bent legs.

Harder Variations

  • Don’t raise legs to a right angle, raise to 45 degrees at the top and don’t rest on floor at the bottom, stop at around 6 inches from the floor.
  • Super slow, 10 seconds up, 10 seconds down.
  • Hanging leg raises.
  • Dragon flags.

Exercise Form

Lying on your back, with your legs straight, put your hands so that they lie flat, on top of each other, under the hollow of your lower back. Engaging your abdominals, push your lower back into your hands and then smoothly raise your legs to a 90 degree angle. Once at the top, smoothly lower your legs (whilst keeping them straight) back to the floor. Breathe smoothly throughout.

See video [23.03]

Exercise 7 – Prone Cobra

Easier Variation

  • Raise upper body only.
  • Raise legs only.
  • Use arms to assist upper body.

Harder Variation

  • Super slow, 10 second up, 10 second down.

Exercise Form

Lying face down on the floor with your arms out to the side and your head in a neutral position, smoothly raise your head, arms and legs in unison up towards the ceiling. Once at the top smoothly lower all limbs and your head back to the floor.

See video [26.48]

Exercise 8 – Pull-ups overhand grip / chin-ups underhand grip

Easier Variation

  • Jump to the top of a pull-up position from box or platform, then lower yourself down as slow as you can (negatives).
  • Get a partner to assist you when pulling up and to help you lower down if needed.
  • Use a box, platform or step to aid your pull-up as it becomes difficult.

Harder Variation

  • Super slow 5 seconds up, 5 seconds down.
  • Use a thicker bar, branch or a towel to increase grip strength (to work your grip strength even more, do not wrap the towel around your hands).

Exercise Form

Grip a bar, hanging towel, rope or gymnastics rings with your selected grip. With a tight core, smoothly pull your body up so that your chin slightly passes your hands. Once at the top smoothly lower your body back towards the ground. Breathe smoothly throughout.

A full rep is done by starting from a dead hang position and pulling up until your chin goes past your hands. There should be no kipping, swinging or momentum used to get to the top.

See video [30.39]

Incorporating strength training into your weekly routine

With each exercise, don’t go to all out failure! Leave another couple of reps in the tank. Take your time and get to know your body.

Training this way can help you exercise more consistently, over a longer period of time, reducing the possibility of injury and burnout.

To start with, try two sessions a week and increase to three if you don’t feel too tired or sore. Don’t forget, it’s not just about what training you can complete, it’s also about what training your body can recover from!

You don’t necessarily need to do more to increase the intensity. You may just want to use harder variations.

Please share your variations and exercise tips with us! We would love to hear them. Also, if you have any questions, please leave them in the comments box below.

We always like to see you building your best life (your own home of vitality!), so also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – Please share your images and videos with us!

May the force be with you! 🙂

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