Dr. Phil Shares: 9 of the Most Effective Strength Training Exercises You Can Do at Home

9 of the Most Effective Strength Training Exercises You Can Do at Home

Benefits of Strength Training Exercises

Sense of accomplishment not enough? The advantages of weight and resistance training offer plenty more reasons to expand your fitness routine.

Burn fat

When you do an intense resistance training program like A Week of Hard Labor or Body Beast, the “afterburn effect” of excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) keeps your metabolism elevated for up to 72 hours afterward. That facilitates the burning of fat long after a workout, compared with lower- and moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise.

Build muscle

Fat loss is just one component of any body transformation. The other is muscular development, which can go just as far in determining how you look. For men, that may mean added size, while for women it will most often mean shape, as they lack the hormonal makeup to gain that kind of mass.

That’s even more important if you’re losing weight — 25 percent of which may be muscle — to dieting and low-intensity cardio. Strength training exercises can help preserve and even build muscle fiber that might otherwise be lost, which is especially crucial for those in their 30s and beyond, when muscle mass naturally decreases.

Boost metabolism

It takes energy to sustain muscle, so the more of it there is, the more calorie-burning capacity you have. That makes your body more metabolically active and efficient, even while at rest.

Strengthen bones

Bones under stress respond not unlike muscles under stress, stimulating the release of osteoblasts that build new bone tissue. An estimated 1.5 million people suffer an osteoporosis-related fracture every year, so resistance training is a natural complement to calcium and vitamin D intake.

Reduce injuries

Strength training builds stronger ligaments and tendons, and promotes more balanced body mechanics, decreasing the likelihood of injury during exercise and in daily life.

9 Essential Strength Training Exercises You Can Do at Home

The following exercises should be part of any rounded resistance program, like the many found on Beachbody On Demand. Incorporate them into the appropriate workouts to ensure proper development of the body’s major muscle groups.

Weightlifting Exercises With Dumbbells

Dumbbell bench press

Target muscles: Chest, as well as the triceps, shoulders

  • Lie on a flat bench holding a pair of dumbbells directly above your chest with your palms facing forward. Your head, upper back, and butt should touch the bench, and your feet should be flat on the floor.
  • Slowly lower the weights to the sides of your chest, keeping your elbows close to your body (not flared).
  • Pause, and then push the weights back up to the starting position.

Dumbbell squat

Target muscles: Quads and glutes, but also hamstrings

  • Stand with your feet hip- to shoulder-width apart, holding a pair of dumbbells at arm’s length by your sides.
  • Keeping your back flat and core braced, push your hips back, bend your knees, and lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  • Pause, then push yourself back up to the starting position.

Bent-over row

Target muscles: Back, as well as the shoulders, biceps, and core

  • Stand with your feet hip- to shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Brace your core, push your hips back, bend your knees slightly, and lower your torso until it’s nearly parallel to the floor.
  • Let the dumbbells hang at arms length with your palms facing back. Engage your shoulder blades to keep your shoulders pulled back (i.e., don’t hunch). This is the starting position.
  • Without moving your torso, and while keeping your chin and elbows tucked and back flat, row the weights to the outsides of your ribcage as you squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  • Pause, and then lower the weights back to the starting position.


Standing dumbbell curl

Target muscles: Biceps

  • Grab a pair of dumbbells and let them hang at arm’s length by your thighs, palms facing forward.
  • Keeping your elbows tucked and your upper arms locked in place, curl the dumbbells as close to your shoulders as you can.
  • Pause, and then slowly lower the weights back to the starting position.

Lying triceps extension

Target muscles: Triceps

  • Lie face up on a bench with your feet flat on the floor, and hold a pair of dumbbells above your chest with your arms straight and your palms facing each other.
  • Without moving your upper arms, bend your elbows and lower the dumbbells to the sides of your head until your forearms dip below parallel to the floor.
  • Pause, and then return to the starting position.

Single-leg calf raise

Target muscles: Calves

  • Hold a dumbbell in your right hand by your side and place the ball of your right foot on an elevated surface with your heel hanging off.
  • Cross your left ankle behind your right, hold onto an immovable object with your left hand for balance, and lower your right heel toward the floor (but don’t touch it).
  • Rise up on the toes of your right foot as high as you can, giving your right calf an extra squeeze at the top.
  • Pause, and then lower yourself back to the starting position. Do equal reps on both sides.

Shoulder press

Target muscles: Shoulders, upper back, and triceps

  • Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart, and hold a pair of dumbbells in front of your shoulders with your elbows tucked and palms facing each other.
  • Press the weights directly above your shoulders until your arms are straight and your biceps are next to your ears.
  • Pause, and then lower the weights back to the starting position.

Strength Exercises Without Equipment


Target muscles: Core

  • Assume a push-up position, but with your weight on your forearms instead of your hands (your elbows should be directly beneath your shoulders).
  • Squeeze your glutes and brace your core (imagine someone is about to punch you in the gut) to lock your body into a straight line from head to heels.
  • Hold for time.

Single-leg elevated-foot hip raise

Target muscles: Glutes, quads, hamstrings, and core

  • Lie face-up on the floor with your arms by your sides, your right foot on a bench (or other immovable object), and your left foot elevated so your thighs are parallel.
  • Squeeze your glutes and push through your right foot, raising your hips until your body forms a straight line from your right knee to your shoulders. Make sure to keep your hips parallel with the floor throughout the movement.
  • Pause, then return to the starting position. Perform equal reps on both legs.


Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health

Power of Protein

Protein is the building block of life. We all need protein. Even when we crave sugar, sometimes it really means we need protein. Protein will help us feel full longer and is deserves to be part of a balanced meal. Athletes may require more protein than their sedentary friends. This is because athletic training break down muscle tissue and then protein is required to re-build stronger and bigger muscles.

6 Purposes of Protein

We all need protein!

  1. Tissue building and maintenance
  2. Neurotransmitter creation
  3. Making hormones
  4. Involved in enzymes to perform chemical reactions
  5. Synthesis of energy
  6. Regulation of metabolic pathways.

Protein used in athletes can enhance anaerobic exercise  (lifting weights, sprinting) capacity, strength, and gains in muscle mass when weight training.

How much?

General needs of protein per kg of body weight is 0.8g/kg.

This is higher in body-builders (1.0g/kg)

and even higher in endurance athletes (1-1.5g/kg).

Spread your protein intake out over the course of the day. 20-30g at a time at each meal generally works well for most folks.

Eat Real Food

Not all protein is the same. Protein sources differ on their amino acid profile and the methods of processing or isolating the protein. Concentrated forms of protein include meat, poultry, egg, fish, and dairy. Animal based proteins are complete in their amino acid profile. Animal based proteins are the best and most predominant natural source of B12 and iron. Grass fed/ pasture raised and responsibly raised or organic meat may seem more expensive, but pound for pound it packs a lot more nutrients.

Pasture raised animal based proteins

  • pasture raised animal meat, dairy and eggs will have more nutrients, fewer toxins and less likely to have antibiotic resistant super-bugs
  • grass fed bison has four times more selenium the grain fed bison. Selenium is important in thyroid function.
  • Wild caught salmon has a better ratio of Omega 6:Omega 3 – making it so much more healthy.

Compared to grain fed, grass fed beef has:

  • 7x  more beta carotene, which your body coverts to vitamin A – important for skin and eyes.
  • 3x more vitamin E, which stabilizes cell membranes and keeps blood flowing smoothly.
  • higher levels of glutathione, which is important for detoxification
  • 2x the amount of B2, involved in the production of energy in the body
  • 3x the amount of B1, plays a role in production of energy and nucleic acids (RNA, DNA)
  • 30% more calcium, adding strength to bones, teeth and aids in muscle contraction
  • 5% more magnesium, a co-factor in over 300 different enzymes and helps muscles relax
  • Natural source of CLA – conjugated linoliec acid which reduces risk of heart attack and breast cancer

Plant based protein is found in soy, chick peas, lentils, legumes and nuts and seeds. Plant based proteins often need to be combined to reach a complete protein profile.

Protein Powders

Protein powders are convenient and a suitable way to get in extra protein when whole food is not available. The base food is processed to extract the protein content out of it. So having rice protein, for example, is different than eating a bowl of rice, which is primarily a source of carbohydrate. Watch the protein powder mixes for unnecessary ingredients like sugar, multiple ingredients and flavourings. Simple is often best.

Types of Protein Powders

  • Whey Isolate
  • Rice
  • Pumpkin
  • Hemp
  • Pea
  • Beef Isolate
  • Soy

If you are dairy sensitive, whey may make you feel bloated and gassy. Not everyone can digest soy. When starting pea protein, start with small amounts and build up.  This will help prevent gassiness. To get a complete amino acid profile, it is best to combine the plant based proteins. Beef isolate is a newer one on the market and is helpful for those who are grain, legume and dairy sensitive.

This information is for educational purposes only. It does not intend to treat or diagnose any individual condition. To find out what’s best for you, consider an individual appointment.

From the heart, mind and research of Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND.

More about naturopathic medicine here.

Gaby A. 2011. Nutritional Medicine. Fritz Perlberg Publishing Concord, NH.
Kresser K. 2014 The Paleo Cure: Eat Right for Your Genes, Body Type, and Personal Health NeedsPrevent and Reverse Disease, Lose Weight Effortlessly, and Look and Feel Better than Ever. Little Brown and Company, New York.
Temple N, Wilson T, Jacobs DR. 2006. Nutritional Health—Strategies for Disease Prevention 2nd ed, , Humana Press, Totowa, NJ.


Dr. Phil Shares: 8 Tips for Exercising in Summer Heat

Staying hydrated starts with drinking enough water.

Summer is the perfect time to go outside and have fun. It’s one of my favorite times of year because there are so manyoutdoor activities to choose from. Everything is more fun outside, whether you’re swimming, running or cycling.

But the summer heat can be a problem if you’re not careful, particularly in areas with extreme heat and humidity.

After experiencing the Badwater Ultramarathon (a 135-mile run through Death Valley) and the Marathon des Sables (a six-day, 152-mile endurance race through the Sahara Desert), I’ve learned a few things about exercising in the heat.

For me, the biggest problems were staying hydrated and maintaining my body’s electrolytes and salt. When you sweat, your body loses not only water, but electrolytes and salt, too. This delicate balance of water and electrolytes is crucial to keep your body functioning properly.

If you don’t drink enough water, you can get dehydrated and suffer from light-headedness and nausea. If not recognized, dehydration can even result in kidney failure and or, in extreme cases, death. However, if you drink too much water without replenishing your electrolytes, you can experience hyponatremia. This can lead to confusion, nausea, muscle cramps, seizures or even death in extreme cases.

You may not be racing in the desert, but there are some things to keep in mind when it comes to exercising in the heat:

  • The time of day is important. Unless you are training for an event that takes place in the daytime heat, avoid exercising from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It’s the hottest part of day. Generally, the early morning is the best time to workout, especially if it’s going to be scorcher that day.
  • Wear loose, light-colored. The lighter color will help reflect heat, and cotton material will help the evaporation of sweat. You may also want to try specially designed, “hi-tech” running shirts and shorts. They are often made from material meant to keep you cool.
  • Sunscreen is a must. I use SPF 45 just to be safe. It’s important to protect your skin. You can get burned and suffer sun damage to your skin even on cloudy days.
  • Stay hydrated. Before you go out, drink a glass or two of water. Carry a bottle of water or even a hydration pack such as the CamelBak. Take a drink every 15 minutes, even when you’re not thirsty. When you’re done with your workout, have a few more glasses of water.
  • Replenish your electrolyte and salt intake while exercising. I like to use SUCCEED capsules–small, simple packs of sodium and electrolytes that keep my system in check.
  • If you can, choose shaded trails or pathways that keep you out of the sun.
  • Check the weather forecast before you start your workout. If there’s a heat advisory, meaning high ozone and air pollution, you might want to take your workout indoors. These pollutants can damage your lungs.
  • Most importantly, listen to your body. Stop immediately if you’re feeling dizzy, faint or nauseous.

If you’re looking for some specially designed clothing for working out in the sun, check outSun Precautions.

Active Expert, Joe Decker is an ultra-endurance power athlete and renowned fitness trainer who has helped thousands of people get into shape. He has completed many of the world’s toughest endurance events, including the Badwater 135, and the Grand Slam of UltraRunning. In 2000, Joe broke the Guinness World Records? Twenty-four-hour Physical Fitness Challenge to help inspire and motivate people to get fit. He is recognized as “The World’s Fittest Man.”