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13 Strength-Building Exercises to Work Your Entire Body

Your lower body, core and arms will thank you.

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Switch things up from your daily yoga flow with this strength-building workout. With a variety of exercises focused on your lower body, core and arms, these movements can help you develop strong muscles throughout your body. If you don’t have access to a gym, that’s no problem. Follow along as we share a version of the top lower-body and core-strengthening exercises that you can do anywhere—no special equipment necessary. 

13 exercises to build strength throughout your body

Muscle group: gluteus maximus

The gluteus maximus is your low back and knee protector. Strengthen it by selecting from these exercises:

  1. Stepstool or Park Bench Step-Ups
  2. Suitcase Squats (Hold a weighted object in each hand, then lower into a squat)
  3. Hip Thrusts (Upper back on a chair) 

Muscle group: hamstrings

woman doing a hip bridge with added weight
(Photo: Getty Images)

Hamstrings are the assistants for your gluteus maximus. Strengthen them by selecting one of the following exercises: 

  1. Hip Bridges
  2. Single-Leg Deadlifts (with any weighted object)
  3. Kettlebell Swings (with a water jug)

Muscle group: quadricepswoman performing squat with weight centered at her chest

(Photo: Getty Images)

Taking the stress off your knees with these movements. Select from the following exercises: 

  1. Heels-Elevated Squat (Put books or another similar object under your heels.)
  2. Wall Sits (Hold for time instead of doing reps.)
  3. Goblet Squats (Hold a water jug at the center of your chest.)

Muscle group: low back

Your low back is the link between your core and legs. Strength and efficiency here increase speed, power, and stability. Try one of the following exercises:

  1. Superman
  2. Straight-Leg Hip Bridge with Feet Elevated (Use a sturdy chair.)
  3. Bird Dog

Muscle group: side core

Your obliques and gluteus medius connect the front and back sides of your core. You can actually target both of them in a single do-anywhere exercise:

  • The Side Hip Bridge (aka Side Plank on Knees)

When you do this exercise, aim for hold time instead of reps. Start with 10 seconds, and gradually work up to 90 seconds over several weeks or months. 

Build a program 

Now that you’ve got these strength-building exercises on your radar, you need a program.

  1. Pick one exercise from each muscle category. 
  2. If the exercise is new to you, start with no external load (extra weight). Build up to 3 sets of 20.
  3. Once you can do 20 reps with good form, find household objects to increase the load to the point that you sense muscle fatigue at 12-15 reps. Then challenge yourself to complete 3 sets of 15.
  4. Once you achieve step 3, add more external load. Aim for 3 sets of 8-12. 
  5. Once you achieve step 4, you are ready for a new program!

Repeat the process, selecting different exercises. Changing your exercises each month keeps you getting stronger, while minimizing wear and tear on your joints, ligaments, and tendons.