Close this search box.

10 Smart Resistance-Based Exercises to Shape Your Body

Don’t be intimidated when your friends talk about “resistance-based” exercises. Resistance Training means exercising using some opposing force. Even gardening counts.  You might’ve already been participating; just not aware you were. Resistance training can be done anytime, anywhere. No need for a gym membership. Beaches, backyards, basements, or offices, are great settings.  If you’re contracting  muscles against some external force, mission accomplished!

Resistance training can be done with bands, dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, even with your own body weight. If you’re in a wheelchair, there are many variations.

Start with light weights, until your form is perfected. Do 15 repetitions of each exercise, 3 times over, resting for 30 seconds, in between sets. 

Eventually, when 15 “reps” seem too easy, increase the dumbbell weight, or the resistance band strength. You might be switching up faster for your arms, than for your legs. Be kind to yourself. You’re building. Muscles must adjust to loads.

  1. Bench-press

Please have someone standing behind you, until you’re certain you’re capable of lifting the bar.

With your body lying on a bench, plant your legs on the floor, ensuring you have a slight natural arch in your back. Press your latissimus muscles into the bench. It may feel odd at first, pressing them backwards while you’re pushing the bar upwards, but this ensures you won’t injure your back. Position yourself under the bar, with your hands holding onto it. Push the bar above your chest, slowly, extending your arms, and then slowly lower it to your chest. 

This exercise is great for your upper body, and very cohesive. When lifting the bar becomes easy, put equal light weight plates on each side. 

  1. Squats

The utilitarian importance of squats cannot be overstated. Squatting properly, ascertaining the strength of your legs will prepare your body for life. Everyone wants their quads to look great, but getting these muscles into shape is key. Start with a resistance band. Stand on the middle of the band, and wrap each end around each hand, to prevent slippage. Slowly squat down, as though you were about to sit in a chair. Hold there, for just a second, and then slowly come back up, squeezing your glutes. Your legs, hips, and upper body will all be engaged. After you perfect the form, which takes a bit of time, you’ll advance to squatting, while holding a dumbbell in your hand, or a barbell across your shoulders! 

  1. Chin-ups

Taking years to perfect, chin-ups, utilize your shoulders, back, arms, core, and hands, requiring the lifting of your bodyweight. Start off just hanging, to prepare your body. When you build enough strength, you can lift yourself upwards. Start this one by lying under some sturdy equipment, as you will then not have to hoist your entire body weight, yet still manage to familiarize yourself with the motion. Be patient with yourself.

  1. Barbell Curls

Let’s face reality: who doesn’t want amazing biceps, especially in Summertime? Start with light dumbbells, and slowly lift them, ensuring your form is right, your elbows are next to your body. Lift slowly on the way up, and lower slowly on the way down. Use heavier dumbbells when they stop challenging you. You can also do these unilaterally.

  1. Wall push-ups 

 Put your hands shoulder-width apart, on a wall, standing a bit back. Heals lifted, bend your arms, and move towards the wall, slowly, and then push back to your original position. To advance, the floor will become the next platform from which you’ll push. 

  1. Leg Press

This machine is excellent, not only for strengthening your muscles, but for building bone density, as well. Start lightly, and keep increasing the weight.

  1. Sit-ups

No one loves sit-ups, but they engage your core, and challenge every muscle, including your brain. Do them slowly, feeling your muscles contracting as you move upwards and downwards. You can hold a band hooked onto a solid piece of gym equipment, until your body familiarizes itself with the motion. 

  1. Lateral raises

With a light weight in each hand, raise your arms out to the sides, palms down. 

You’ll feel this immediately. Keep your shoulders back. They’ll be tempted to cave in.

  1. Planks

Holding planks utilizes your entire body. The core engages, as your shoulders scream. This body-cohesive exercise is effective. You’ll become stronger and hold it for longer, if you practice consistently. Hold until you can’t. 

  1. Swimming! 

Every muscle will be toned and strengthened. Experiment with assorted strokes!

Look forward to better balance, improved sleep, increased bone density, and feeling 

and looking stronger!

Cheryl Struzer | Staff Writer

Spring 2024

Check out the new digital issue.



Get The latest from Debu, straight to your inbox

Let us guide you to live a peaceful and happy life.