Strength Exercises To Try if You Don’t Like Strength Exercises

I’m not super into high-intensity exercises, particularly because I’m rather unfit by the time the end of semester rolls around, so I need to start slow and build up my muscles before jumping into burpees and jump lunges. During these times, there are a few strength exercises that I always do to build muscle in a low-intensity way. They aren’t too hard and they don’t hurt to do. While a bit of muscle strain/pain is how you know you’re working hard, a lot of muscle pain is not my cup of tea.

With these exercises, all you need to do afterwards is some good stretches and then you shouldn’t have much aching the next day. This is the kind of exercise routine that I can get on board with. While high intensity is fun when you’re fit and strong, it’s not very fun if it’s painful.

I’m no personal trainer and this list is not extensive, but I find these exercises to be good ways to start off your strength exercises to build your muscles up. Then, you can increase the intensity later on. Or not! Whatever works for you.

Strength Exercise 1: Hip Thrust

The ‘hip thrust‘ makes me think of Elvis Presley or the Rocky Horror Picture Show, but it’s actually a really good stretch to build up your glute muscles (butt area). I like this exercise because it’s rhythmic, not too hard, and I can do it lying down. While the hip thrust how-to that I’ve linked here has it shown with weights, I just do it without weights. My personal trainer first showed me this exercise on the floor, and that’s how I like to do it, but most how-to posts will show it done from a bench or couch. It’s up to you!

Strength Exercise 2: Walking Lunges

The good old-fashioned walking lunge. It’s something that my netball coach was obsessed with, which sort of put me off them for a while, but I do find them to be a pretty easy and straightforward exercise. They can get to be quite hard after a while, but I generally find them pretty agreeable and, above all, simple. Lunges stretch out and strengthen your glutes, hamstrings, calves, and quadriceps (thighs). They’re great for your legs and butt, and I find them to be a much more manageable exercise than squats while still doing essentially the same thing. If you’re looking for more leg exercises, I also find scissor kicks to be super easy and, another bonus, you can do them on the floor. Calf raises are also easy too.

Strength Exercise 3: Tricep Dips and Other Arm Exercises

Moving on from legs and on to arms, we have the tricep dip. Depending on your arm strength, these could be the most difficult exercises on this list. You can do them from a low bench or from a chair, depending on what works best for you. I like the tricep dip because it feels effective, even if it can get difficult after a while. I find arm exercises in general to be relatively good for beginners, because when you use small weights they don’t cause much pain and are easy enough. Try bicep curls, overhead presses, or lateral arm raises. I find all of them to be relatively easy and together they provide a good all-round arm workout.

Strength Exercise 4: The Plank

Before you start complaining that I said that this wasn’t going to be hard, let me just remind you that planking doesn’t have to go for 5 minutes. It also doesn’t have to be on your toes. Planking on your knees for 2 minutes is a super manageable exercise. You can then take a quick break or do another exercise before coming back and doing another 2 minutes or less, and then perhaps another. It doesn’t hurt much and it makes your abs feel nice and tight. For me, a person without visible abs, this is very encouraging. It also uses most of your muscles so I often use it as my final exercise before stretching and warming down. In any case, it’s a very good place to begin.

*Libby has now graduated from her degree and ventured off into the wild blue yonder, but she left us with a few last posts that we’ll be publishing over the next few months.

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