Strength week: 5 creative ways to build strength

Kettle bells

Strongman Andrew Durniat, an Ohio resident, shows off a little bit by juggling a pair of 70-pound kettle bells.

It takes lots time and effort to build brute strength.
For many people that involves lifting both free weights and using machines, and you should be doing cardio workouts as well.
However, it makes training more interesting to change things up now and then.
With that in mind, here are tips for creative strength training:
1. Use kettle bells – Instead of dumbbells and exercise machines, try using kettle bells. These are one of the fastest growing workout methods and a great way to build flat out raw, functional strength.

2. Get a grip on things – Would you like to really improve your grip? Then hunt around online for the many strength gripper options, or check out a local fitness store and try some out in person.
In addition to grippers, you can improve your hand and forearm strength with things lying around your house: like squeezing a baseball or tennis ball.

3. Get strong on the go – Some people who are really into strength training think about ways to get strong throughout their day, even when not at the gym. If you want to really be dedicated, then do things like calf raises when you’re brushing your teeth, or do lunges when walking to check your mail, or bust out pushups and sit-ups every hour. I know a guy who carries 45 pound weight plates when he walks over to visit his friend – and an athlete I reported on used to walk to school with a backpack full of weights. It all depends on just how strong and extreme you want to get.
If you’re at work, find ways to do little strength workouts on hourly breaks, like getting some calf raises in or dips against your desk.

4. Change up your treadmill-elliptical
– When doing cardio, every now and then set your machine to higher resistance levels and go for strength rather than speed. This is a real good way to build up your leg power.

5. Back it up – In addition to the legs, the back muscles must be properly trained while you’re on a strength program. If you have a bad back, the weight workouts are not going to go too well.
Make sure to stretch and incorporate exercises that will strengthen your back.
One of the simplest, but best ways to strengthen the back is to lie on your stomach, plant elbows and hips on the floor, arch up your back and hold at top for a 5-10 count. Do sets of 6-10 of these several times a day and it will stretch and strengthen your spine.

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at