Strength training: What proper form looks like

Strength training exercises

Strength training exercises are key to burning calories, increasing metabolism and preventing injury. But you don’t need a gym membership or equipment for a proper strength routine. You can try these five exercises at home.


  • Make sure your hands are shoulder-width apart. Angle your hands against the ground in whichever way feels most comfortable.
  • Keep yourself straight. Think of your entire body as a straight line from your shoulders to your feet, and don’t stick your behind in the air.
  • If you have trouble pushing yourself up, clench your glutes, abs or both. Your strength doesn’t have to come entirely from your arms.
  • For a modified version, position your knees on the ground.

 strength training push up

strength training modified push up


  • Spread your feet slightly wider than your hips. Point your toes slightly outward. Keep the weight on your heels and the balls of your feet.
  • As you squat downward, push your behind and hips backwards. Think of it less about bending your knees and more about pushing your body backwards, similar to how you sit down in a chair.
  • Make sure your hips go even with or lower than your knees. Otherwise, you won’t feel the full benefit of the exercise.

strength training squat


  • Forearm planks are more common and slightly easier than extended arm planks. For the forearm version, place your elbows on the ground at shoulder-width, and use the muscles in your abdomen to keep your body elevated parallel to the ground for as long as you can.
  • For a slightly more difficult variation of the plank, extend your arms and keep your body in a straight line for as long as possible.
  • For a modified version, position your knees on the ground.

strength training plank

strength training modified plank

Tricep dip 

  • Find a chair or coffee table that is about the same height off the ground as your knees. Place your hands on the edge of the surface and slide yourself forward, keeping your arms straight and your body close to the chair.
  • Lower your body until almost sitting on the floor and make sure your arms — not your legs — support your weight. Repeat as many times as you can.

strength training tricep dip

Originally published Dec. 5, 2016. Last updated Oct. 11, 2019.

Leave a Reply