The phrase “anti-aging” has been used by countless advertising campaigns over the years, but we think strength training has a better claim to the term than any skincare product ever has.
OK, so it can’t put a stopper on all of the effects of aging, but it can help you build a fit and functional body that handles the rigors of everyday life with ease. It can also bolster your muscles and bones, which would otherwise weaken over time.
If you’re looking for a beginner-friendly strength training routine, you can’t go wrong with this workout plan from Amanda Place, founder of coaching platform Sculptrition.
“Incorporating strength and mobility exercises into your fitness routine can be very beneficial for healthy aging,” Place explains. “This workout routine can help you build stronger muscles, increase your range of motion, improve your posture and reduce your risk of injury.”
The session is designed to build comprehensive strength, hitting muscles across your entire body to help you stay stronger for longer.
How to do Amanda Place’s full-body workout
There are only six exercises in this workout, so it’s nice and simple to follow.
Most of the exercises will need to be repeated 10 times. For the lunges, do 10 repetitions (reps) on each leg, and for the plank hold the position for 30 seconds for a thorough core workout. When you’ve done 10 repetitions of an exercise, you’ll have finished one ‘set’.
“Each move should be completed for three sets,” says Place. “But if you’re short on time do one set of each to make it an eight-minute blast.”
If you want to do the full version of the workout, perform all three sets of one exercise before moving on to the next one, resting for 60 seconds between each set.
Reps: 10 Sets: 3
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Push your hips back to initiate the movement then lower them as if you were sitting on a chair. Keep your chest lifted and your knees tracking over your toes.
When your thighs reach roughly parallel with the ground, drive through your feet to stand back up straight. If you want to make this exercise more challenging, you can hold a dumbbell in front of your chest. If you need to make it easier, don’t drop too close to the ground.
“Squats are one of the most effective exercises for building lower body strength, specifically targeting the glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings,” Place explains. “They can improve your balance, stability and bone density, reducing the risk of osteoporosis [a bone disease which develops when bone mass and mineral density decreases].”
Reps: 10 on each leg Sets: 3
Start in a standing position with your feet hip-width apart. Take a big step forward with one foot, bending both knees until your back knee nearly touches the ground.
Push through your front foot to stand back up, then repeat on the other side. If you want to make this exercise more challenging, you can hold a dumbbell in each hand. If you need to make it easier, lower the number of reps.
“Lunges are another lower body exercise that can help improve strength and mobility,” Place says. “They primarily target the glutes, quadriceps and hamstrings, but also engage the core muscles for stability.”
Reps: 10 Sets: 3
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand, as shown in the image above. Bend your knees slightly and hinge at the hips to lower the dumbbells towards the ground, keeping them close to your body at all times.
Your back should stay straight throughout this movement, and you should only lower the dumbbells as far as your mobility allows (if you’re forced to curve your spine, stop lowering the dumbbells). Stand back up, lifting the weight with your legs and glutes.
“Deadlifts are a full-body exercise that primarily targets the back muscles, glutes and hamstrings,” says Place. “Additionally, deadlifts can improve grip strength and overall mobility.”
4. Overhead press
Reps: 10 Sets: 3
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, lift them up so they’re just in front of your upper chest, with your elbows bent.
Keeping your core engaged, press the dumbbells overhead by extending your arms straight upwards. Slowly bring them back down to your upper chest to complete one repetition.
“The overhead press works the deltoids[shoulder muscles] and is great at building strength in this area,” Place says. “It also engages the triceps and upper back muscles, making it a great move to improve the ability to do functional tasks such as placing an object on a high shelf or lifting a heavy suitcase.”
Reps: 10 Sets: 3
Start in a plank position (as pictured above) with your hands shoulder-width apart and your feet hip-width apart. Lower your body down towards the ground by bending your elbows, keeping your elbows tucked into your sides. Your body should stay in a straight line from your heels, through your legs and back, to the back of your head.
When your chest is about an inch from the floor, push back up to the starting position. If a push-up feels too challenging, you can perform them from with your knees on the ground or your hands on a sturdy elevated surface for slightly easier variations.
“Push-ups are a classic exercise that can build upper-body strength, specifically targeting the chest, shoulders, and triceps. Additionally, push-ups engage the core muscles for stability and can improve overall upper-body mobility.”
Time: 30 secs Sets: 3
Start in a push-up position (pictured above) with your hands shoulder-width apart and your feet hip-width apart. Hold your body in a straight line from your head to your heels, engaging your core muscles to keep your body stable. Hold this position for 30 seconds, not letting your hips drop.
“Planks are a core exercise that can improve overall stability and posture, as well as reduce the risk of back pain. Planks target the abdominals, back muscles and shoulder muscles, helping to build overall core strength. “