Strength training is important for men and women of all ages. Building strength is one of the things that can really help us to stay fit, capable and pain free. But building strength isn’t worth it if your strength training workout injures you or destroys your joints. Low-impact strength training is possible, and we’ve collected a number of great workouts that can help you get stronger safely. Even better, you can do them all in 30 minutes or less.
Swimming is well-known for being gentle on your joints. When you’re immersed in water, you have far less gravity working on you, and that means less jostling for your joints. Swimming is a great whole-body workout, and it can burn a lot of calories. But if you want to turn your time in the pool into a world-class low-impact strength training workout, do some high-intensity interval training.
Instead of just swimming at a slow, steady pace, try for intensity variation. Swim one lap at sprint speed, then swim one lap at a resting pace while you let your heart rate start to recover; or try using a Tabata pattern and go at sprint pace for 20 seconds, then at a recovery pace for 10 seconds. High-intensity intervals can help you to burn calories, build your endurance and build strength all at the same time.
The elliptical is primarily known as an aerobics machine, but just as with swimming, if you add in some high-intensity intervals, you can turn it into some prime low impact strength training. Try to keep the motion smooth, even as you’re going at a high pace.
3. Low Impact HIIT Home Workout Routine
Suppose you want to do some low-impact strength training but don’t have access to a pool or exercise machines. This next workout comes courtesy of shape.com, and it can be performed at home with a minimum of space and without any equipment at all. Perform all of the exercises listed below in a circuit. Perform each exercise at your highest intensity possible for 45 seconds. Then rest for 15 seconds before beginning the next exercise. Do between 2 and 4 rounds of the circuit.
- Stationary skaters
- Jump-free burpees
- Seated tuck jumps
- Planks with kick-through
- Butterfly squats
- Rising lunges
For pictures of the exercises and more detailed instructions, click here.
Biking is another low-impact cardio activity that you can make into a great strength training workout by incorporating high intensity intervals. Tabata intervals were first developed and studied using stationary cycles, and they can be just as helpful for you. Just warm up, perform one Tabata protocol (20 seconds at sprint pace followed by 10 seconds at a rest pace, repeated 8 times), then cool down. You’ll be done well before the 30-minute mark, and you’ll have gotten quite a workout in too!
5. Low-Impact Weight Training Workout
Low-impact weight training is certainly possible. As long as you maintain good form and don’t use more weight than your body’s prepared for, you can care for your joints while pumping iron. This workout from goodhousekeeping.com is a great example of a low impact weight training routine. In this workout, you’ll perform 3 sets of 12-15 reps of each of the exercises. To do these exercises, you’ll need some light dumbbells and a weight bench.
First, start by warming up. Do something to get your heart beating, then do a bit of dynamic stretching. Follow this up with some dumbbell chest presses. Next comes wide plié squats, then dumbbell front raises. Follow this up with lying straight leg raises, alternating dumbbell hammer curls and balanced reverse lunges. Finally, finish up with bent-over triceps kickbacks and Russian twists with a dumbbell.
For pictures and detailed explanations, please click here.
6. Total Body Strength Training and Core Workout Video
If you like following along with exercise videos, you’ll love this strength training workout video from fitnessblender.com. The whole video takes just under 29 minutes to complete, and it includes a bunch of great exercises to work your whole body. The exercises used include push-ups, toe touch crunches, Russian twists, squats, supine push ups, side oblique crunches with leg raises and lunges. Check the video out here.
7. 30 Minute Strength Training Workout for Women
Here’s another great low-impact weight training video. Coming from jessicasmithtv.com, it includes great exercises like single arm row, shoulder press and dumbbell squats, along with some great instruction and encouragement. Find the video here.
What feels low-impact to one person may not always feel low-impact to another. Our bodies are all built different, and each of us are at different levels of fitness. If while performing any of these exercises, you feel joint pain, listen to your body. Ease up or stop the exercise, and make sure that you are performing it correctly. Also, consult with a medical before beginning any exercise routine if you have any concerns.