If you’re on a workout kick, there are quite a few strength training exercises you can add to your daily repertoire to keep the momentum going. Certain low-intensity moves can be done every day — not only as a way to build and maintain your strength, but also to help you feel more mobile, improve your posture, and more.
Just like a daily stretch or walk, there are so many benefits to be had by strength training every day, says Michael Hamlin, NSCA, CSCS, a personal trainer and founder of Everflex Fitness. Not only will a round of squats or a couple of push-ups help you stick to a routine, but he says regular movement can also help boost your mood, increase your bone density, and enhance your functional fitness levels — aka your mobility and stability.
When choosing exercises to do every day, Hamlin recommends going for a variety of moves so that you target different muscle groups to prevent soreness and over-exertion. For the same reason, he suggests keeping things at a low to moderate intensity. Think: the difference between a couple of lunges in your living room versus a heavy deadlift at the gym.
Also, keep in mind that it’s necessary to take breaks, says Hamlin. If you feel sore, tired — or you’re just not in the mood to do planks — then go ahead and take the day off. It might also feel right to sprinkle these moves throughout your day to prevent overtraining. That said, here are the 10 best strength exercises to do every day if you’re down for some movement.
1. Bodyweight Squats
To work your glutes, try a round of bodyweight squats whenever the mood strikes. This classic move also works your quads and hamstrings, Hamlin says, while helping to improve your overall mobility.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Lower your body by bending your knees and pushing your hips back as if you're sitting in a chair.
- Keep your chest up and back straight.
- Push through your feet to return to a standing position.
- Start with one to two sets of 10 to 15 reps.
- Progress to three sets of 20 to25 reps as you get more comfortable.
2. Modified Push-Ups
A quick set of kneeling push-ups is a great way to build arm strength, says Hamlin. This move also engages the core without being too intense.
- Start in a plank position.
- Place your knees down and your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Bend your elbows to lower your body until your chest is close to the ground.
- Push back up to the starting position, fully extending your arms.
- Start with one to two sets of 10 reps per day.
- As you progress, aim for three sets of 15 to 20 reps.
3. Glute Bridges
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor about hip-width apart.
- Keep your arms at your sides, palms facing down.
- Lift your hips off the ground by squeezing your glutes and pushing through your heels.
- Hold the bridge position for a moment, then lower your hips back down.
- Start with one to two sets of 12 to 15 reps per day.
- Progress to three sets if you like.
ACE-certified trainer Mary Sabat MS, RDN, LD recommends doing planks on a regular basis. “Planks are excellent for core strength, stability, and improved posture,” she tells Bustle. “They also engage your shoulders, chest, and back.”
- Get into a push-up position with your hands on the ground, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. You can modify by doing this on your forearms.
- Keep your body in a straight line from head to heels.
- Engage your core muscles to stay steady.
- Keep your neck neutral and your shoulders relaxed.
- Hold the plank for 20 to 30 seconds.
- Gradually increase the time as you get stronger.
- Lie on your side with your legs bent at a 90-degree angle.
- Keep your feet together.
- Lift your top knee as high as you can while keeping your feet in contact and hips square.
- Lower your knee back down.
- Repeat for one to two sets of 12 to 15 reps on each side.
- Work your way up to three sets.
6. Bent-Over Bodyweight Reverse Flys
This bodyweight exercise zeros in on your upper back and deltoids to help improve your posture and strengthen your upper body, says Hamlin. As a bonus, it also feels really good after slouching at a computer all day.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
- Bend at your hips to lean forward while keeping your back straight.
- Extend your arms straight down in front of you.
- Raise both arms out to the sides until they are parallel to the ground.
- Lower your arms back down to the starting position.
- Try for one to two sets of 12 to 15 reps.
7. Walking Lunges
Fitness coach Lisa Thompson says walking lunges are great for overall leg strength as well as your joint mobility. Try them the next time you’re going across your living room.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart, chest up, and shoulders back.
- Take a step forward with your right foot.
- Simultaneously lower your body by bending both knees.
- Bend your front knee 90-degrees and hover your back knee just above the floor.
- Keep your torso upright and avoid leaning too far forward or backward.
- Push off of your right foot and bring your left foot forward, taking a step to continue walking the lunge.
- As you step forward with your left foot, bend both knees to create a lunge position with your left thigh parallel to the ground.
- Continue this alternating lunge and step motion, moving forward in a slow, controlled manner.
- Aim for 20 reps.
Another way to gently work your core is with a couple sets of Supermans. This move works your lower traps and glutes and also improves core stability, says Hamlin.
- Lie face-down on the ground with your arms extended straight in front of you.
- Lift your arms, chest, and legs off the ground as high as you can.
- Hold this position briefly, engaging your lower back muscles.
- Lower your arms and legs back to the ground.
- Begin with one to two sets of 12 to 15 reps.
- Work your way up to three sets.
9. Modified Side Planks
Side planks work your obliques to help strengthen your core, and they’re another move Hamlin recommends for the daily. To modify it, lower your bottom knee to the floor as you lift your hips.
- Lie on your side with your legs straight.
- Support your upper body on your forearm, with your elbow directly beneath your shoulder.
- Bend your bottom knee and lift your hips off the ground, creating a straight line from your head to your bent knee.
- Hold for the desired amount of time, then switch sides.
- Begin with one to two sets of 15 to 30 seconds on each side.
- Progress to three sets.
10. Bodyweight Side Luges
This simple move works your inner and outer thigh, your glutes, and your adductors to boost your lateral mobility, says Hamlin.
- Stand with your feet together.
- Take a wide step to the side with one leg, bending the knee and sitting the hip back.
- Keep your other leg straight.
- Push through the bent knee to return to the starting position.
- Alternate sides with each repetition.
- Start with one to two sets of 10 to 12 reps on each leg.
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Mary Sabat MS, RDN, LD, ACE-certified personal trainer
Lisa Thompson, fitness coach