Which strength program to add to lots of cardio for underused muscles?

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    Which strength program to add to lots of cardio for underused muscles?

    Hi! I am am pretty avid cardio person -- masters swim 2-3 times a week (one distance workout, one pull/arms, one kick), 4 mile hill hike 1-2 times a week, spin 1-2 a week -- and a yoga person. But at 55, I feel like I need to add some basic strength training to address the muscles I don't use much during cardio. I know my quads are quite strong, calves are fine, back is good. Not sure about smaller muscle groups.

    So, I started to use the hip adduction machine at gym -- I'm at four sets of 25 reps at 100 lbs and am not yet sore, just to give a sense of my strength/fitness. I came here to try to find ab routines to add. I love the ones I found, and can just use those 3-5x a week? Or is there some sort of "less used muscles" strength program I can add at home (maybe one that will allow me to skip the adductor machine too?) What I want most is to "balance out" strength, rather than build it all, if that makes sense.

    I'm also cautious about injury, particularly since I will be doing this at home without someone to check my form. Cardio keeps me sane, so I avoid injury at all costs. That means things like burpees/quick movements that are easy to do wrong might not be ideal for me.

    Since you mention the gym, I recommend Ironborn, which is a dumbbell strength program. I have not done it but I have seen lots of good feedback from those who have. Most comment it as fun

    I also recommend Totals or Power Up. Totals is a general fitness program but I feel like it's more strength oriented, but it has burpees and jump squats. Power Up targets tendon strength. It's not exactly about small muscles, but still I think it's pretty different from the usual strength training program.

    Abs wise Total Abs can be your choice.

    And welcome.


      JGro I am still new enough here and sampling my way through the workouts. What I find best is to get into the filter and find something that appeals to me for whatever reason and then to give it a try. Usually that means that I don't go through the full recommendations for sets but instead do one or two of them. If there is something I don't like then I just don't repeat it. Like you I tend to favor full body strengthening.

      That said, I have found a few that I have repeated: The Crawler, Paladin, Shoulder Work and Thief.


        Hey there! I'm mainly cardio based in my workouts as well (mostly running, walking, HIIT, and yoga, however) and, I'll admit, I'm more geared towards using programs that suit my specific goals than I am about parsing through all the 1000+ workouts on DB (though, maybe one day, if I run out of programs to do)... So I can't exactly point out specific work outs for you that would help.

        That said, I would seriously consider the programs Ironborn or perhaps 30 Days of Gravity.

        Ironborn is a dumbbell based program that hits all your basics and doesn't take more than around 20 minutes a day to finish. I wasn't a completely hopeless case when I started, but I was able to do Ironborn and running at the same time so I imagine most who are more athletic than I was at the time could find a way to incorporate it. It's also a genuinely fun program to pick up and made me appreciate weight training a little more (even if that never became incorporated into my larger routine, which admittedly has more to do with the amount of time I have than my enjoyment of it anyway).

        30 Days of Gravity focuses heavily on calisthenics-based strength and has a lot of exercises to failure. I found it to be a little easier than Ironborn was in the first few days, but that changed pretty quickly (see also: a lot of exercises to failure).

        I would also consider looking at Power Up!, which focuses on tendon strength and helping you put more power behind your movements. This might help you out rather specifically in your swimming in a similar way to how it helps me out with running. Although this is possible to do at home in less than 10 minutes, it's notably a pretty difficult one and I'd suggest doing this after you do the rest of your workouts.


          Stay long enough, you'll do all the programs, all fantastic.
          I'm currently doing Power up and this ain't the usual fair and might tick your box.
          find a program to balance and support your cv. Good luck, post what you decide upon.

          Happy sitting Bees. X


            Thanks so much! Since a few of you suggested PowerUp, I took a look at that, and it seems PERFECT to add to my other workouts. Interesting, varied, quick. The idea of working on tendon strength is very interesting for sure. Really appreciate the help! Will start today and post here in a while regarding how it's going.