5 Activities for Muscular Strength

Woman in exercise class holding weights
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Increase muscular strength to appear more physically fit and attractive as you reap the benefits of improved sports performance and ability to handle daily activities. Do resistance training exercises, using an ever-increasing amount of weight or resistance to build muscular strength. Researchers at Tufts University found that resistance training for just two days per week increased muscular strength in the study group by 75 percent, compared with members of the control group who lost muscular strength without strength training.


Calisthenics for Muscles

Use the weight of your body against gravity to provide muscle-building resistance. Perform situps, pushups and pullups. Use resistance bands, similar to giant rubber bands, to provide muscle-strengthening resistance while performing simple calisthenics. Learn to do simple gymnastics to push your entire body weight against the force of gravity during moves such as handstands and cartwheels.


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Lifts and Body Weight

You may dance to improve your cardiovascular health but moving your body against the force of gravity adds a strength-building component to ballroom, hip hop, jazz, ballet and tap. Dancing with a partner builds muscle, from lifting a partner's body weight to holding a partner in the air to tensing muscles and holding a position when lifted. The better you get at performing dance, the greater challenge it can be to master new combinations and maintain high energy for longer stretches of music.


Free Weights

Lift dumbbells two to three times per week. Start with small, 5-pound hand weights and perform exercises like biceps curls to strengthen your arms. Wear ankle weights to do leg abduction exercises in which you raise your extended leg to the side and back again to increase power in the lower half of your body. Ask a spotter to help you lift barbells at your local gym. Lift progressively heavier weights and add more repetitions to build muscle mass.


Take the Stairs

Run up the stairs and skip elevators or escalators whenever possible. Climbing stairs strengthens your legs and increases your endurance, allowing you to exercise longer. Use the stairs to go up two floors or down three while carrying dumbbells or ankle weights. Increase the speed at which you ascend and descend stairs to add a cardiovascular feature to your strength training workout.


Power Rowing

Rowing a boat or using a rowing machine increases muscular strength in your arms, legs and core. Rowing tones muscles, enhances cardiovascular health and improves muscle power throughout your entire body. Indoor rowing machines let you adjust resistance and pace -- use lower resistance when going long to combine strength-building with a cardio workout. Increase intensity by increasing resistance and stroke rate together to avoid injuring your back.




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