Research Shows That People Who Do Strength Training Live Longer—Start With These 10 Simple Workouts

While we know that exercising regularly is crucial to overall well-being, it’s important to understand that every exercise offers different benefits. Take cardio, for example—it promotes heart health and boosts circulation. Swimming, on the other hand, is a more low-impact workout that can improve endurance and strengthen and tone your muscles.

Strength training is one of the most popular types of fitness that can build muscle mass while also contributing to weight loss. And according to a recent study, it can also help you live longer. Researchers found that people who engaged in strength training one to two times per week had a lower mortality risk compared to those who did not.

Ready to start lifting? Here are some trainer-approved workouts to help you get started:

10 Strength-Training Workouts

Lateral Step-down

“This exercise should be working the front leg (leg that is on the chair) so make sure to keep the majority of your weight in that leg and move slow,” says Kaisa Keranen, NASM-PES certified trainer and C4 Energy Ambassador.

How to do it:

  • Make sure you have a sturdy chair or stool to start.

  • Start by standing on the chair, making sure your entire foot is firmly planted.

  • Slowly hinge at the hips and lower yourself down towards the ground

  • When your back foot hits the ground, pause and make sure to keep most of your weight on the front leg (leg that is on the flesh).

  • To come back up, press through the front foot’s heel and return to the start position.

Related: What to Know About Functional Strength Training, the Type of Exercise That Makes Everyday Life 10 Times Easier

Single-Leg Hip Thrust

From Keranen

How to do it:

  • Find a bridge position, making sure your upper shoulders are on the chair/couch and the heels are right under your knees.

  • In the top position, make sure you are squeezing your glutes and creating a straight line with your body from your head to your knees.

  • Lift one leg off the ground before beginning.

  • As you come down, think about creasing at your hips and lowering down to the ground slowly.

  • Come back up to the start position by pressing through your heels and squeezing your glutes at the top.

  • Make sure to pause at the top and hold the position for a second before lowering yourself back down. Ensuring that you have come to the full thrust position with glutes squeezed and torso in a straight line.

Side Lying Hip Raise

From Keranen

How to do it:

  • Start in a side-lying position (similar to a side plank) with your knees stacked on top of each other and one elbow on the ground right under your shoulder.

  • Think about pressing through the bottom knee and elbow to raise yourself up into a side plank position. As you do so, raise the top leg into an “open clam” position.

  • Make sure to keep your knees bent and hold the top position for a second or two to ensure that the glutes are fully squeezed.

  • As you come to the top position, think about pushing your hips forward as if you are trying to hit a “wall” in front of you.

Modified Dumbbell Deadlift

From Emily Skyetrainer and creator of the fitness program, Emily Skye FIT

How to do it:

  • In this modified deadlift, you only need to lower the weights to just below your knees—this will help you build up strength and good form before taking on classic deadlifts.

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart, core engaged, and arms straight so you are holding a dumbbell in each fist, in front of your thighs.

  • Now hinge at the hips, lowering the dumbbells towards the top of your feet.

  • Return to a standing position with a strong core, and repeat.

dumbbell squat

From Skye

How to do it:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand up at your shoulders.

  • Drive your hips back and down into a squat, keeping your core engaged, then push against the floor to rise back up, squeezing your glutes at the top of the movement.

  • Repeat.

kettlebell swing

From Skye

How to do it:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, core engaged and holding a kettlebell handle in both hands.

  • To start the swinging motion you drive your booty back, allowing the kettlebell to swing back between your legs.

  • Then, drive your hips forward until your body is straight and the kettlebell swings up in front of your chest.

  • Continue, making sure you’re using your glutes to drive the movement, your arms or momentum.

Related: These Trainer-Approved Dumbbell Exercises Will Strengthen Your Back—and You Can Do Them in 15 Minutes or Less

shoulder press

“Shoulder presses help build shoulder strength and muscular development along with building core strength and stability. These muscles help in everyday life like grabbing something off a high cabinet or simply tossing a ball while playing fetch with your pet. I love doing single arm presses to fix strength imbalances,” says Eiryn Hernandez, NCSF-Certified Personal Trainer and NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach.

How to do it:

  • Stand holding a dumbbell or kettlebell racked on your shoulder, with your arm bent and palm facing inward.

  • Tighten up the core and press the weight over your head until your arm is straight up.

  • Slowly lower the weight back to the starting position and repeat for as many reps as programmed.


One arm rows, when done correctly, helps you build a stronger back and help fix strength imbalances by focusing on one side at a time, Hernandez explains.

How to do it:

  • Grab a dumbbell with one hand and bend the opposite knee and hand over a bench. Be sure that your hand is placed directly under your shoulder and your knees should be positioned directly under your hips. With your back flat and head aligned with your spine.

  • Extend the arm holding the dumbbell towards the floor without allowing your torso to rotate or your shoulder to move towards the floor. Keep the shoulder back.

  • Slowly pull the dumbbell upwards towards you. Keep your arm close to your body and continue pulling the dumbbell up until you are unable to lift any further without rotating your torso.

push ups

“They’re not fancy, they don’t require anything other than an even surface and yourself. But push-ups are an awesome exercise to strengthen your upper body and core as well. It is after all just a moving plank,” says Hernandez.

How to do it:

  • Get into a plank, placing your hands slightly wider than your shoulders.

  • Lower your body towards the floor while your elbows are at 45 degrees

  • Push yourself back up to the starting position.

Glute Bridges

“This workout is better for bad knees,” says Jaydon Corby Potter, ISSA Certified Personal Trainer from The Camp Transformation Center. “Like squats, glute bridges help develop that posterior muscle, but it takes pressure off the knees by putting your core to work and shifting weight to your feet.”

How to do it:

  • Lay with your back, shoulders and feet flat on the floor, and bring your feet toward your body so that your knees form a peak.

  • Keeping your head, neck and shoulders planted (but relaxed), raise your back and posterior off the floor. Squeeze your glutes as you raise your body until there’s a flat “ramp” from your chest to your knees.

  • In a fluid but controlled motion, raise and lower your body 15-20 times to complete one set.

  • Hold a weight across your hips to make the exercise more challenging.

Next up: These Are the Very Best Workouts for Building Muscular Strength—and They’re a Lot More Straightforward Than You Think


  • British Journal of Sports Medicine: “Dose–response association of aerobic and muscle-strengthening physical activity with mortality: a national cohort study of 416,420 US adults”

  • Kaisa Keranen, NASM-PES certified trainer and C4 Energy Ambassador

  • Emily Skye, trainer and creator of the fitness program Emily Skye FIT

  • Eiryn Hernandez, NCSF Certified Personal Trainer and NASM Certified Nutrition Coach

  • Jaydon Corby-Potter, ISSA Certified Personal Trainer from The Camp Transformation Center

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