30-Minute Strength Follow-Along Workout

By the Editors of SilverSneakers |

Tone your whole body with this effective routine that you can customize for your fitness level.

In some fitness circles, strength is measured by how much weight you can lift or how many reps of an exercise you can do.

Of course, those matter to some extent. But there's another way to think about strength: how well your muscles-along with your bones and joints-can work together to move your body as one unit.

“We build strength in moving all different ways, using all of our limbs,” says SilverSneakers fitness expert David Jack. “And our core stays in the center of it all.”

This 30-minute strength follow-along workout will guide you through a routine that tones your whole body and emphasizes total-body coordination. Like our other follow-along workouts, “you can always make it harder or make it easier,” Jack says. “You’re in charge of your fitness.”

How the 30-Minute Strength Follow-Along Workout Works

You'll need a set of dumbbells, a mat, a towel, some open floor space, and water if you want it. If you'd like support during exercises, feel free to use a wall, chair, or counter.

The best way to do this workout is to press play and follow along with the video. You can also see exercise pointers below.

As always, safety is key. The exercises here may be different or more advanced than those you’ll experience in a SilverSneakers class. If you have a chronic condition, an injury, or balance issues, talk to your doctor about how you can exercise safely.

Set Yourself Up for Success

As with all workouts, good technique is the key to safe, effective exercise. Use these tips.

Choose a weight that’s lighter than you think you can use now. “A lot of times, we don’t need to use heavy weight. We can use lighter weights to really focus on the movement,” Jack says.

Place your dumbbells on a chair if you don’t want to keep bending down to the floor to grab them.

Set your base of support before starting any movement. That means making sure your feet are secure on the floor, and your knees and hips are aligned as needed.

Take your time to get down on the floor and back up safely. Use as many contact points—a wall, a couch, the floor—as you need to guide yourself.

If it’s uncomfortable for you to get on the floor, march in place or skip ahead. You’ll still get plenty of good exercise.

1. Warmup: Shoulder Opener

Bend your arms so your palms are in front of your face. Keeping the bend in your elbows, gently open your arms, and then close them back to starting position.

2. Warmup: Center to Overhead

Bring your palms together in front of your chest. Press your arms up as high as comfortable, rotating your palms to face forward. Bring your arms back down to starting position.

3. Warmup: Wring-It-Out

Take a wide stance, and stretch your arms wide at shoulder level. With your arms extended, gently rotate one palm to face up and the other down as you reach from side to side.

4. Warmup: Hurdle Step

Take a narrow stance. Take a high step out to one side as if stepping over an imaginary hurdle, and step back in to return to center. You can pick up your foot as high-or as low-as you want.

5. Warmup: Half Squat

Take a comfortable stance, and bring your hands together in front of you. Bend down slightly into a half squat, and push through your heels to return to standing.

6. Warmup: Calf Raise

This is a move you may want to do by a wall, counter, or other sturdy object. Take a narrow stance, and press into your toes, lifting your heels. You'll feel a little squeeze in the calves. Lower back down to starting position.

Circuit #1

Perform the three exercises below as a group, resting as needed. Aim to do two rounds of the circuit.

7A. Dumbbell Upright Row

With a dumbbell in each hand and your arms down in front of you, pull the weights up the front of your torso to shoulder level. Pause, and lower your arms back to starting position.

7B. Cross Curl

Set your feet. With a dumbbell in each hand and your arms down in front you, alternate raising each dumbbell across your body to your opposite shoulder. To make it harder, reverse the movement: Start with the dumbbells at your chest, and alternate lowering your arms.

7C. Triceps Kickback

Take a narrow stance with your right foot in front and your left foot behind. Brace your core, and hinge forward slightly from your hips. Rest your right hand on your right thigh, and hold a dumbbell in your left hand with palm facing in. Row the weight up to your waist. This is your starting position.

Push the weight behind you. Pause, and lower your arm back to starting position. Perform all reps, and switch sides.

Circuit #2

Perform the three exercises below as a group, resting as needed. Aim to do two rounds of the circuit.

8A. Dumbbell Chop

Grab one dumbbell. Take a split stance with your left foot forward and right foot back. Hold the dumbbell with both hands, and raise it to your right shoulder.

Gently swing the dumbbell across your body and down to your left hip, letting your shoulders turn and back foot pivot. Aim to keep your chest up so it doesn't collapse forward. Perform all reps, and switch sides.

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8B. Bird Dog

Get on all fours with hands under shoulders and knees under hips on the floor, using a mat, pad, or pillow to cushion your knees. Make sure you have clear space around you.

Extend your arm and opposite leg to tap the floor. To make it harder, extend your arm and opposite leg so they're parallel with the floor.

8C. Dumbbell Side Step

Grab one dumbbell. Stand with feet hip-width apart, and hold the dumbbell at your chest. Step out to one side, landing in a squat. To make it harder, press the dumbbell in front of you as you step out.

Circuit #3

Perform the three exercises below as a group, resting as needed. Aim to do two rounds of the circuit, performing the first round slowly and the second round quickly.

9A. Row

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Brace your core, and bend your knees slightly. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, squeeze your shoulder blades together as you bend your elbows to pull the dumbbells up to the sides of your torso. Pause, then lower the dumbbells to starting position.

9B. Power Curl

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with arms at your sides. Moving with control, pop up to stand tall and curl your arms up. Lower your arms back down as you bend your knees, getting ready to pop back up.

9C. Dumbbell Squat

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with the weights curled up to your chest. Keeping your eyes up and heels down, push your hips back, and bend your knees to lower your body into a squat. Push through your heels to return to standing.

10. Cooldown

Take a few deep breaths to bring your heart rate down.

Reach across your body or over your head to stretch your arms.

Take a wide stance, sit your hips back, and keep one leg straight to stretch your inner thighs.

Stand with your feet together, put one heel on the floor in front of you, sit your hips back, and keep your chest up to stretch your hamstrings and calves.

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