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Modified Exercises for Multiple Muscle Groups

By Angela Kaltenborn, MS, EP-C, CPT, FMFA
Medical Fitness Coordinator at Augusta Health Fitness

These exercises work multiple muscle groups, and can be modified for many fitness levels.

Are you interested in starting an exercise routine? First, we recommend that you consult with your physician prior to beginning a new workout. Once cleared, you will find 4 exercises listed below to assist women in gaining overall strength. To start, perform 1 set of 12 repetitions, building up to 2 or 3 sets.

Sit to Stands

Purpose: Strengthen the muscles of the front upper thigh (quadriceps muscles) and improve balance.

Movement: Begin by sitting on the front half of a stationary chair. Place both feet on the floor shoulder width apart, knees bent to 90 degrees. Cross your arms and slowly rise to a standing position, ensuring that your knees never cross the frontal plain of your toes. Once standing, gradually sit back down in a controlled movement. Repeat as necessary.

Steps demonstrating the Sit to Stand exercise

Variation: Use a higher chair to make the movement easier.

Wall Push-up

Purpose: Strengthen the muscles of the upper body, including the arms, shoulders and chest.

Movement: Face a wall and stand arm's distance. Place your hands on the wall, slightly wider than shoulder width apart and chest level. To begin, keep your arms straight, but not locked. Begin to bend your elbows, leaning your body towards the wall. While keeping your body straight, come as close to the wall as comfortable. To complete the movement, push yourself back to the starting position. Repeat as necessary.

Wall Push-up demonstration

Variation: To make the movement more difficult, perform this exercise laying on the ground, either on your knees or make it even more difficult by using your toes. Be sure to keep a straight back during all variations.

Demonstration of push-up variations

Chair Dips

Purpose: Strengthen the muscles on the back of the upper arms (triceps).

Movement: Begin by sitting on the front half of a stationary chair with arms. Place your feet flat on the floor shoulder width apart, with your hands on both chair arms to the side of your torso. Sitting up nice and tall, push yourself up from the chair, using your arms only, until your arms are straight. To complete the movement, slowly lower yourself back into the starting position. Repeat as necessary.

Pro tip: Avoid shrugging your shoulders during the entire movement.

Chair dip demonstration

Variation: To make the move more difficult, straighten your legs when seated, placing your heels on the floor.

Chair dip variation

Plank

Purpose: Improve overall abdominal/core strength.

Movement: For this exercise, begin by holding the position for 10 – 30 seconds. Increase time as tolerated. Find a comfortable place on a mat, or stretching table, to lay face down. Place your elbows directly under your shoulders, with arms at 90 degrees. Keeping knees on the mat, lift your body and straighten your back, forming a horizontal line from your shoulders to your knees.

Plank demonstration

Variation: To make this more difficult, switch from using your knees to using your toes. Maintain the straight line from your shoulders to your toes.

Plank variation demonstration

If you are interested in learning more, we offer a free 14-day trial at Augusta Health Lifetime Fitness. Our staff is also happy to answer any questions you may have!