Easy* Strength Training Routine

*easy because there’s little equipment so you can do it anywhere; moves are slightly challenging.


As much as I tend to skip strength training--I was going to say I hate it, but I usually just never find time for it--I have been doing this routine for 3 weeks so far. I really like it: it keeps me solid and strong, but doesn't feel endless or exhausting. All the exercises, which are mostly suggestions from my friend and trainer extraordinaire Briana Boehmer, are 2 sets of 10-20 reps and require minimal equipment. Upshot? You can, pleas-to-be-wiped and other kid emergencies notwithstanding, finish this in less than 20 minutes.

I say at the end of the video, no excuses. While that sounds kind of harsh and un-Dimity-like, it's also kind of true. It's 40 minutes a week, the amount of time, if you're anything like me, you spend daily frittering time away on e-mail, facebook, and pointless Yahoo stories (just how is Alanis Morissette prepping for her baby? I must know that now!).

I just finished reporting a story on how our bone and muscle health naturally declines from about age 25 on. Depressing stuff, unless you take care of yourself. The number one way to maintain? Strength training. Keeps the bones and muscles forever young. Running is also up there, but running exclusively, as too many of us know, leads to muscle imbalance and overuse injuries. Strength training takes care of those future injuries before they even happen. (It's basically the exercise equivalent of kale: the idea itself isn't super appealing, but the benefits are so great, you just have to try it.)

So give it a go, and let me know what you think. Although I think all of you are whip smart, I know better than to expect your already overfilled brains to remember the routine from a 4-minute video. So here's a pdf of it (strengthtrainRLAM), with exercise descriptions, sets and reps. Print it out and enjoy.

58 responses to “Easy* Strength Training Routine

  1. Love all the routine! Love your headband too! I had a super short cut and am growing it out and my hair is driving me crazy (while exercising and not). Do you know where you got the headband?

  2. Thank you so much for this blog post, I e-mailed your post to a few girlfriends. I couldn’t agree more that strength training has it all over running. A bunch of my girlfriends are stuck in the mindset that running is the key to toning, firming, and losign weight and I keep telling them otherwise. Keep up the great work, I’m really enjoying your blog- Kristie.

  3. Love, love, love this – thank you so much! I definitely need to get better about getting in strength training, and this is defeinitely do-able. Plus, who wouldn’t love how absolutely true to life that video is – priceless! Thanks again!

  4. Oh my gosh…you dog and kids were just cracking me up!! Oh how I remmeber the days! Now when I’m doing anything in the presence of my kids I just get the eye-roll, like “What the ____ are you doing? You look ridiculous.” Love their support!! I may have to put this link on my blog, if it’s ok with you!?!? Maybe we can even have a basement workout together sometimes :).

    Happy Thanksgiving, Dimity! Totally “thankful” to have met you (wish we could get together more often)!!!

  5. This is awesome! I rarely get around to strength training because I rarely have time without kids (4, 2 and 5 weeks) underfoot. This is such a good reminder that I can do it anyway! Thanks, Dimity!

  6. thanks! do you think you could make a note to post to the the site with these? so i could print out and have with me at gym or in the guest room with no computer? i have started doing my “routine” (from Strength Training for Women) again and it feels great, but not runner specific so I want to try yours. and yes, it only takes a few minutes. i am up anyway, lets do it!

    1. Hi Courtney: if you click on the link next to the pdf (StrengthtrainRLAM) it’ll pop up as a separate, one-page workout you can print out. Is that what you mean by a note?

  7. I did these last night! Thanks for the tips! Loved the video – the kids and dog cracked me up! (My dog needs her nails clipped too! It’s on my list!) Thanks!

  8. I have a similar strength routine designed by my physical therapist. After my hip stress fracture she made it clear I really needed to strengthen my glutes and gleefully came up with those tortuous exercises that are made all the more fun with my own kid and grandkid underfoot. If only I had such an awesome, sometimes protective and sometimes bored bird dog to cheer me on.
    LOVED the video!

    1. Hey Sharon: it was the deal of the century. Got it at Crate + Barrel floor sample sale for about 10% of what it costs regularly. I’m not sure if Crate + Barrel still has it…it was about 2 years ago.

  9. So needed to see this! Its one of my winter goals! I am a cross training loser. My running BFF and I met our goal of a sub 2 hour half in September and I have been in *I don’t give a rip* attitude ever since. Need a kick in the pants, and this might help, especially since winter is hitting this week in MI. Thanks for taking the time to do this! Your dog is hilarious and you look fabulous!

    1. Honestly, the dog knows a camera. Every picture we have, she’s lurking in the background. One of those things that bugs you all the time, but is endearing in the long run. Congrats on meeting your goal, Renee, and we’ll see you on the floor. πŸ™‚

  10. Well, THIS looks familiar -and it’s the primary reason I never do my core work. If I’m on the floor, it’s time to pile on mom. Thanks for giving me hope, Dimity!

    1. really, lisa, trying to focus so I wouldn’t say “umm” a million times. usually, I’m like, O.k., enough guys: go find a toy! (because, as you can tell, we don’t have any the basement…nothing but me to entertain those kids.)

  11. You crack me up.

    I really needed this – the routine, and the reality check. If I want to stop envying runners and really be one, I have to stop making excuses and get down among the little farts and exercise.
    This is a post I will be sharing. Love you guys…

  12. I am not a mother but most of the women around me are mothers. I am sure they can all relate to that lack of personal space. πŸ™‚ You still did it and stayed focused with all those distractions. Just one of the many reasons moms rock!

  13. Had to laugh when your kids went under you doing the bird dog pose. For a while when the twins were about 3 or so I would attempt to follow a core yoga program on public television. It typically fell during nap time. However, nap time was getting spotty at that time and so often I would be yelling upstairs to quiet down or they would be coming downstairs and crawling under and over me while I was attempting to do poses. My frustration levels went through the roof a few times while the soothing yoga person was telling me to “let everything go, don’t be afraid to fall, find my peaceful place….” They obviously didn’t have children!!!
    good for you doing the workouts. Always think about doing planks at home, never do.

  14. Just coming back to let you know that doing plank with your palms facing up is seriously harder than the way I’ve always done. Definitely felt it more in my abs at the end and could not hold it as long. Never thought I was gripping, but clearly I was. Thanks for the tip…. I think πŸ™‚

  15. This is great – thank you! I also have kids crawling underneath me whenever I do planks or something like that — my concentration isn’t as good as yours though — I usually end up gasping at them to get out.

  16. Thank you so much for the video. The subtitles made my day, as did the fact that your kids and dog have to be right there for all 4 minutes of it. I always think it’s just me!

    I’m looking forward to trying the routine, especially because my strength training has been seriously lagging lately.

  17. Thanks for the great tips! I will add some of these moves to my routine. I always like to throw in some pushups af the end — on or off the ball, for good measure.

    1. Oh push-ups for good measure. Good idea, Rose. I just didn’t want to demonstrate them. I can seriously go down about an inch, when I’m resting on my toes, not my knees. Such a girl I am…

  18. Thank you! This is exactly what I was asking for when you were asking for suggestions and feedback on the website, and now I have no excuse but to go and try this routine. And to keep up with it…

  19. Dimity…not only are you a fabulous writer, runner and inspiration, you are also a comedian! Loved the video and it made me laugh with your commentary!

  20. I am so glad you did this for us! I totally know I need to be doing it, and based on how many times it shows up in my blog, the time for procrastination is over! With a marathon relay just two weeks away and my first half marathon this spring, it’s a done deal…I have to do this!

  21. Thank you. I always put of strength training too. I *know* I should do it, but…(insert preferred excuse here). I just printed it out and saved it on my computer so there are no excuses. Thanks, Dimity!

  22. I have not even read the workout yet and I love you for this!! I have been struggling with the strength training and I know it is the only thing that really changes my body. I usually go to yoga 1-2x a week. But this morning I did the Jillian Michael’s 30-day shred and I am just not sure I need her to bark at me at 5AM πŸ™‚ Wednesday morning I am giving this a try!! Thank you!

  23. Thanks for the great workout tips! (and reality check too with kids and dog!) Whenever I lay on the floor to stretch, my puppy insists on sitting on my chest and licking my face.

    1. She’s a Weimaraner: adopted about 9 years ago. Total uncanny sense of knowing when the camera is around…she’s always in front of the lens. Maybe she was America’s Next Top Model in her former life…and pants: love them. Lululemon capris. My only two complaints: they’re gray, so they show every (unsightly) sweaty patch, and I had to cut the connected drawstring so I could tie them so they wouldn’t migrate when I run. πŸ™‚ Thanks for reading.

  24. Dimity, these are GREAT exercises! I just learned hamstring curls last week in my personal training workout. OUCH.

    I just love the dog and kids in this. Great captions throughout. You’re a model of fitness, my friend.

  25. Dim – You are a “customer service” goddess! I cannot BELIEVE how responsive you have been to requests for tweaks on the site. Thank you for your dedication to us and helping to meet the needs and fulfill the desires of some Serious Bad Ass Mother Runners. I hope you take a big fat break from all of this and have a great Thanksgiving!

  26. I love this! I hate going to the gym for strength training. It always seems so boring and tedious, although I know its good for me. My husband is a power lifter (and, therefore known as ANTI-cardio), so I hear the strength-training sermon from him quite often. Thanks for posting a great workout! πŸ™‚

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