9 Strength-Training Challenges to Round Out Your Step Goal

By now, you're probably no stranger to the notion of step counting and wearable activity trackers. If it seems as though everyone you know is wearing one version or another, that could be the case. In fact, one in five U.S. adults wears a fitness tracker. One of the main drivers of wearable devices is goal setting and, if you're one of the many dedicated to your device, you're likely familiar with the universally recommended 10,000 step goal.  

The idea of walking this specific number of steps was originally placed into our psyche in 1965 by a Japanese pedometer named manpo-kei (meaning "10,000 steps meter" in Japanese) or manpo-meter. The pedometer and its step count were widely accepted by the general public back then, and today many people still aim for 10,000 steps as a first fitness milestone, although the step count can certainly be smaller for beginners.

Walking is good for you and your overall health, whether you start at 5,000 or 15,000 steps. The Centers for Disease Control recommends the average adult try for two hours and 30 minutes of a moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week, every second of which can be easily tracked using your device of choice. What you may not know, though, is the CDC also recommends muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days of the week.

If you're hitting your tracker goals, congratulations! Now, it's time to up the ante: Try challenging yourself with some strengthening exercises to round out your aerobic activity. Below, discover three common tracker counts along with recommended exercises you can do at home according to your fitness level. Aim for performing these exercises two to three times a week on top your step goals.

If you track 5,000 steps, try:
1. Squats to help you focus on your quads and glutes. Try to get in three sets of 10 reps to start. You can do these all at once or split them up throughout the day. Squat against the wall for extra support.
2. An effective upper-body workout—work on three sets of 10 single-arm dumbbell biceps curls to shape up your arms.
3. Challenge yourself with a cardio and strength workout from Jessica Smith—all you need are weights and an exercise mat.

If you track 10,000 steps, try:
1. Squats on the wall, but instead of doing sets of squats, hold the squat for one minute. You can do this all at once or split it up into two, 30-second holds.  
2. Add on to the aforementioned biceps curls exercises with dumbbell triceps kickbacks, aiming for three sets of 10 reps.
3. Try this 25-minute Pilates-inspired core workout that will strengthen your abs and add a little cardio work. Add this to the full-body workout you did at 5,000 steps.

If you track 15,000 steps, try:
1. In addition to doing the squats above, add skater squats to your routine to not only work your quads and glutes, but also feel the burn in your hips and outer thighs.
2. Incorporate one-armed dumbbell rows to the biceps curls and triceps kickbacks work listed above. The combination of dynamic moves means you'll work your arms, shoulders and upper back in a short amount of time.
3. This full-body, kettlebell-inspired workout by trainer Jessica Smith that will challenge your arms, lower body and core in less than 15 minutes.

Once you've committed to fitness, why stop at steps? There are so many ways to round out your walking routine, from exercises targeting specific muscle groups to free SparkPeople fitness videos you can do at your own pace, on your own time.

Strength training is an integral part of health and fitness. It improves your balance and stability, builds muscles, increases your calorie burn and more. Counting steps is a great way to get started, but push yourself to incorporate exercises using your own bodyweight or some simple resistance bands or dumbbells. Challenge yourself to step up your tracker game today and continue down the path towards a healthier future you. 
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Member Comments

Thank You for the information. Report
I enjoy strength training actually. I'm 59 yrs old. I want to try to stay as strong as I can especially during my "golden years" Report
Really appreciate this information. Report
My strength training is spotty at best. I reaaally need to up my game. This may be just what I need! Report
This is excellent! Ever since I reach my 2nd goal I've wanted to add in strength training but just couldn't put it all together. It's just what I need, thank you very much! Report
Strength training helps me with my daily activities. Report
Thanks. Report
Good workout. Thanks. Report
thanks Report
Enjoyed this article! I took a class that utilized kettlebells and used them outside of class in the gym, but they were not my friend. Not the best choice for me at this time, I had a lot of trouble with balance and almost wrenched my back more than once, even with the lightest. I guess but there are a lot of other things to do. (Wow the models in the "beginning" kettlebells look so awesome and buff! I could only wish...) Report
helpful Report
Okay, I bought a kettlebell! Step one! LOL! Report
Great info thanks! Report
Thank you for sharing. Going to try to do this. Report


About The Author

Elizabeth Lowry
Elizabeth Lowry
I'm a member of SparkPeople's editorial team and I write, edit and manage the content you read. I am passionate about living a healthy lifestyle and enjoy cooking for my family and friends, running, strength training, teaching weekly spin classes and playing outside with my kids. I also love a good challenge and recently found that in Barre class. That's not to say I don't enjoy a good indulgence once in a while--wine and chocolate are two of my favorite things. I am grateful to be here, helping our members reach their own healthy living goals.