What exactly is 'Strength and Conditioning', you might be wondering? Well, simply put strength exercises help you become stronger and conditioning exercises help your condition, in this case, your fitness and physical condition.
Strength and conditioning exercises will improve your:
- range of motion,
- physical performance,
- physical and mental health,
- posture and
- muscle mass, which will boost your metabolism.
It can also help you recover from existing injuries faster as well as prevent injuries from occurring.
These exercises can also assist you if you are trying to lose body fat or define your muscles. If you want to become stronger try to focus on doing a lower number of repetitions with heavier weights. This can bulk your muscles up as it increases the production of long-lasting strength fibres that stimulates the building of bulk. If you don’t want as much bulk then increase your repetitions and decrease your weights. You should be able to complete all repetitions in good form, however, your last rep should be a near failure. That is how you know you have the right weight. If it becomes too easy, or it is too hard to complete, then adjust your weights accordingly.
You should try to incorporate strength and conditioning exercises into your workout routine at least 2-3 times a week for around 15 minutes per session – that’s about 30-45 minutes per week.
Below we have listed a few of our favourite strength and conditioning exercises and you can even check out our specially selected ‘Strength and Conditioning’ range we have for you, right here.
- Bear Crawl
- Glute Bridges
- Romanian Deadlift
Continue reading below for guidance on how to perform these exercises.
BEAR CRAWL (Focus: Arms, Back, Core, Hips & Quads)
- Get down on all fours onto the ground.
- Then lift your knees off the floor and balance yourself on your hands and feet. Your knees should be bent so that your legs are at a 90-degree angle.
- With one leg move it forward and with the opposite arm move that one forward the same distance as the leg. Now one side of your body should have your arm and leg close to each other and the other side of your body should have your arm and leg further away from each other.
- Once there, pause and then switch sides and move your back leg forward to surpass your other leg whilst simultaneously moving your opposite arm past your other arm. This should mean that the other side of your body now has the arms and legs closer or farther apart than before.
- Repeat this movement so that you are crawling across the floor on your hands and feet.
Inhale: As you pause.
Exhale: As you crawl/take a step forwards.
DEADBUG (Back & Core)
- Lie on your back on the floor. Raise your arms towards the ceiling so that they are vertical. Lift both legs up and bend the knees to 90-degrees so they too are towards the ceiling.
- Next, with your core tight, straighten and lower one leg out so that it is hovering over the floor. You can also lower the opposite arm behind your head. Your back will want to arch but don’t let that happen. Squeeze your core to prevent arching.
- Hold and then raise your leg and arm back to the original position.
Inhale: Raising your leg and arm to the starting position.
Exhale: Lowering your leg and arm.
GLUTE BRIDGES (Core & Glutes)
- Lie flat on your back and bend your knees so that your feet lie flat on the floor at hip-width apart.
- Place your arms down the side of you with your palms flat on the floor.
- Engage your glutes as you lift your hips off the floor making a straight line of your body, from your knees to your shoulders.
- Pause in this position for a second and slowly lower your hips down to the ground.
Inhale: Lower your hips to the ground.
Exhale: As you thrust your hips up.
LUNGES (Core, Glutes, Hamstring & Quads)
- Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart.
- With one leg, step in front of you leaving the other leg in its original position.
- Bend both knees to a 90-degree angle, so that the back knee almost touches the ground and the forward thigh is parallel to the floor.
- Once there, push up by squeezing your glutes and bring your forward leg back towards your starting position. Repeat this movement on the same leg or alternate legs.
Inhale: On your way down.
Exhale: Lift up.
PLANK (Focus: Arms, Chest & Core)
- Get down on your hands and knees, placing your hands shoulder-width apart.
- Move your feet back and straighten your legs so your whole body is in a straight line. Your arms should be vertical from the floor, not angled.
- Make sure your whole body is engaged (tensed), especially your core.
- Hold this position for as long as you can.
Inhale and exhale deeply during this exercise.
PRESS-UP (Focus: Chest, Core, Shoulders & Triceps)
- Get down on your hands and knees, placing your hands just outside your shoulder line.
- Move your feet back and straighten your legs so your whole body is in a straight line. Your arms should be vertical from the floor.
- Lower your body until your chest almost touches the floor, bending your arms at the elbow.
- Push your body back up, tightening your core and glutes for better stability.
Inhale: Lower down.
Exhale: Press up.
PULL-UP (Focus: Back, Forearms, Glutes & Hamstrings)
- Stand directly below a stable and secure bar and place your hands just outside your shoulder line. Your palms should be facing away from you.
- Lift your feet off from the ground so that you are hanging from your bar, crossing your feet behind you. To stabilise your body you need to engage your core. (To do this just suck in your belly button so your stomach becomes tense.) You should also pull back your shoulders and keep them down throughout the exercise, so don’t shrug your shoulders up.
- Engage your arm and back muscles and pull yourself up until your chin is above your bar (or as far as you can go). Keep your core and glutes tense throughout this movement so your body remains as still and stable as possible. Do not swing your legs about.
- Lower yourself back down in a controlled manner without dropping yourself.
Inhale: At the bottom and top of your movement.
Exhale: When lifting and lowering yourself down.
ROMANIAN DEADLIFT (Focus: Back, Forearms, Glutes & Hamstrings)
- Stand up with your feet shoulder-width apart. Have your arms down holding your barbell in front of your body palms facing towards you and your grip just outside your shoulder line.
- With a straight back, shoulders pinched, knees slightly bent, and your bum out. Lower your chest and shoulders down until your hands and barbell are past your knee, about mid-shin level. (Remember, this is not a squat only go as far down as you need to go.)
- Lift your body, using your glutes and hamstrings, until you are standing straight again.
Inhale: As you lower yourself.
Exhale: Pull yourself up to a standing position.
SQUATS (Glutes, Hamstrings & Quads)
- Stand straight and space your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Tighten your core and bend your knees like you are going to sit down. Make sure your back is kept straight and your arms are out in front of you or tucked in near your chest. Keep your knees just above your toes and your thighs should be parallel to the floor.
- Once you’re down, straighten your legs back up.
Inhale: Going down.
Exhale: Going up.