These exercises are gentler on your body, yet still build strength and endurance
If you're looking for a way to improve your fitness while reducing the risk of injuries, low-impact strength training may be for you.
In this blog, we'll discuss what low impact strength training is, the benefits it offers, and some of the best exercises you can do to get started.
Plus, we’ll provide a complete workout routine that you can follow — at home.
What is low-impact strength training?
Low-impact strength training creates less stress on the body. This makes it a great option for seniors, those working out sore muscles, or anyone who wants to reduce the chance of injury.
But don’t let the name fool you: Low-impact exercises are effective at building muscle and burning calories. This makes them a popular choice for beginners looking to lose weight.
5 benefits of low-impact strength training
There are many benefits of these workouts. They include:
- Increased muscle mass
- Improved joint health and mobility
- Reduced injury risk
- Better posture and alignment
- Burning more calories
Exercises to try right now
There are many different low-impact exercises you can do to improve your strength and fitness.
Here are some for beginners or those who need to start out slow and light.
Some of these exercises will require a resistance band or a small, weighted object. Resistance bands are ideal because they are low-impact and can be adjusted to every exercise.
Remember that weight can eventually be added to all these exercises when you feel comfortable.
However, it’s best to start out with light dumbbells.
Stand with your back against a wall and walk your feet out just a few steps. Now slowly slide down the wall until you are in a squatting position. Make sure that your knees stay behind your toes and hold the position for as long as possible.
Wall sits help build quadriceps and hamstrings. This exercise can be performed anywhere there’s a wall.
Start by holding a dumbbell (or a weighted household object like a soup can, water jug, etc.) in front of your chest with both hands. Now, squat down low, keeping your chest up and knees behind your toes. Drive through your heels to stand back up and repeat for eight to 12 repetitions per set. Aim for three sets.
Goblet squats are another exercise that can be performed with household items.
Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart. Step backward with one leg and lower your body until both knees are bent at 90 degrees. Make sure your front knee stays behind your toes, and drive through your heel to stand back up. Alternate legs and repeat for eight to 12 reps per set. Aim for three sets.
The reverse lunge is a great way to work your body’s lower muscles.
Place a resistance band around your legs, just above the knee. Bend your knees slightly, driving the hips back. Now “walk” in a lateral fashion, taking an equal number of side steps in both directions.
The crab walk exercise works your upper body and core as you move across the floor.
Start by placing your hands on an elevated surface such as a countertop, table or park bench. Now lower your body until your chest is just above the surface. Make sure to keep your core engaged and back straight throughout the movement. Push yourself back up to the starting position. Repeat for eight to 12 reps per set. Perform three sets.
Incline pushups give your arms and chest a more intense workout than a traditional pushup.
Resistance band chest press
Attach a resistance band to a sturdy post or door and stand in the middle of the band with your back to the door. Holding the handles of the band, extend your arms out in front of you at chest level. Now press the handles together in front of your chest and return to the starting position. Repeat for eight to 12 reps per set. Perform three sets.
The resistance band chest press is an alternative to pushups for growing arm and chest strength.
Resistance band bent-over row
Stand in the middle of the band with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend at the waist until your torso is almost parallel to the ground. Now, pull the handles of the band towards your chest, maintaining a strong back throughout the movement. Reverse direction and repeat for eight to 12 reps per set. Aim for three sets.
Lie flat on your stomach with your arms and legs outstretched. Now, lift your arms and legs off the ground, and hold for a few seconds. Make sure to keep your core engaged throughout the movement. Perform three sets of eight to 12 repetitions.
Hyperextensions are often compared to a superhero flying.
Resistance band shoulder press
Stand in the middle of the band with one foot and step through with the other. Holding the handles of the band, extend your arms out in front of you at shoulder level. Then press the handles together overhead and return to the starting position. Repeat for eight to 12 reps per set. Perform three sets.
As its name implies, the resistance band shoulder press gives the shoulders a good workout.
Stand in the middle of a resistance band, holding one handle in each hand. With arms at your sides, raise them up until they are parallel to the ground. Make sure to keep your shoulders down and core engaged throughout the movement. Repeat for eight to 12 reps per set. Perform three sets.
Lateral raises help build strong shoulders.
Start by lying on your stomach with your legs extended behind you and your arms at your sides. Now, raise yourself up onto your toes and forearms, maintaining a straight line from head to toe. Be sure to engage your core throughout the movement. Hold for as long as possible.
Planks can be performed almost anywhere. They help engage your body’s core and build upper and lower body strength.
Low-impact strength training workout routine
Here is an upper- and lower-body split workout based on the exercises above. Perform all the repetitions for one set before progressing to the next one. If you want to increase the intensity and challenge yourself, try not to take a break until after you’ve completed all the reps for all exercises. Repeat the listed exercises up to five times.
Workout A: Upper body
- Incline pushup: Five reps
- Resistance band bend-over row: 10
- Superhero: 10
- Resistance band shoulder press: 10
- Planks: Hold for 30 seconds
Workout B: Lower body
- Wall sits: Hold for 30 seconds
- Goblet squats: 10 reps
- Reverse lunge: 10 (five on each leg)
- Crab walk: 10 (five on each leg)
- Planks: Hold for 30 seconds
Low-impact strength training is a great way to get stronger and improve your fitness without risking injuries.
Now you have all the information you need to get started. What are you waiting for? Get moving.