Finding a workout routine that sculpts your physique while enhancing your balance and mobility is like stumbling upon fitness gold. That’s because the ability to build and maintain lean muscle typically means sacrificing flexibility and agility—the twin pillars of a mobile body. However, incorporating the below free weight exercises into your workout routine will increase your strength while boosting your mobility and balance. We spoke with Nadia Murdock, CPT, a certified fitness instructor at Garage Gym Reviews, who shares 10 stellar free weight exercises to improve your balance and mobility that you can easily work into your daily fitness regimen.

“There are several benefits to using weights in your workout routine, especially if you’re looking to improve your balance and mobility,” says Murdock. “One of the key things to focus on when maintaining balance and mobility is the strength of your core, knees, hips, and ankles. All the muscles in your body work together cohesively, so you want to make sure they’re in sync and equally strong.”

Research shows that maintaining balance and mobility is essential for healthy aging. As you age, your risk of falls increases, making it essential to engage in activities that enhance balance and mobility to reduce this risk and associated injuries. Additionally, the following exercises can boost joint health and functional strength.

Read on to learn more about the 10 best daily free weight exercises to improve your balance and mobility. After you’re finished, be sure to check out the 10 Best Exercises To Improve Your Muscular Endurance as You Age.

Single-Arm Overhead Press

single-arm overhead dumbbell press

This free weight exercise will target your deltoids (shoulders) and engage your core for balance. Incorporating this movement into your routine will boost upper-body mobility and overall functional fitness.

“This move can be performed with your back against a stability ball pressed against a wall to increase the difficulty,” says Murdock. “With a dumbbell in one hand, push upward, bringing your shoulder blades down and together.” Do this for three sets of eight to 12 reps.

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Rear Lateral Raise

rear lateral raise exercise

This movement helps improve posture and shoulder stability.

Murdock instructs, “While standing hip-width apart, bend at the waist until you’re parallel with the floor. Grab a challenging weight with a slight bend in the knees. Keeping your spine aligned and core engaged, slowly raise both weights to shoulder height.” Aim for three sets of 10 to 12 reps.

Standing Pull-up with Kettlebell

The standing pull-up engages the back muscles while integrating kettlebells for added resistance and increased strength gains.

“Standing with your feet hip-width apart, hold the kettlebell with both hands. Slowly raise the kettlebell toward your chest, keeping your elbows pointed outward. Lower the weight back to the starting point,” says Murdock. Repeat for three sets of 15 reps.

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Chest Pass

medicine ball chest pass

Using a medicine ball, the chest pass involves explosive movements, engaging your chest, shoulders, and core. Adding these into your routine will increase functional strength and boost your balance.

“Grab a medicine ball and get to work,” states Murdock. “Throw a six to eight-pound medicine ball against a wall while standing. Use force and catch it each time at chest level.” Complete four rounds of 25 reps.

Dumbbell Halos

This exercise involves circling a dumbbell around your head, engaging the shoulder muscles in a controlled manner. Including dumbbell halos in your routine can improve shoulder flexibility, an essential component for maintaining upper body mobility and balance.

“Not only is this move good for your core, but it’s also ideal for upper back and shoulders,” Murdock explains. “You’ll want to begin with your feet hip-width apart. Hold a dumbbell at a desirable weight. Make sure to hold the dumbbell end to end at the right hip. Keep a soft bend in your knees. Slowly bring the dumbbell up to your opposite shoulder and then halo it around the back of your head. The dumbbell should end down at your left hip. Repeat by alternating for a set amount of repetitions, make sure you do the same amount of reps on each side.” Aim for four rounds of 25 rotations.

Side Lunge with Dumbbells

man doing lateral squat/lunge with dumbbells illustration

This exercise engages the muscles in the thighs and buttocks while promoting balance and stability.

Murdock tells us, “Standing with your feet together, step your right leg to the right and bend your right knee. Having dumbbells in each hand will want to frame the leg and get as close as possible to the ground, keeping a proud chest. Then, return to the center and repeat on the other side. This works your inner thighs. Adding the weight provides an additional challenge.” Complete three sets of 12 to 15 reps per leg.

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Standing Oblique Crunches

This exercise targets the oblique muscles in your midsection while challenging your balance, making it a fantastic movement for boosting stability and mobility.

“Standing helps you to enable your core and legs at the same time, activating the entire body,” says Murdock. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart. Have one hand at the back of your head and the opposite arm extended by your side, holding a weight plate. Bend at the waist as you crunch or “dip” down to the side the weight plate’s on, then back up. Perform three sets of 15 reps per side.

Glute Bridge

glute bridge with dumbbell press
Rebecca Blankfield / YouTube

This simple yet effective move is a classic glute and hamstring builder—two muscles that promote lower body strength and stability.

“For this move, you will need a yoga mat and loop,” says Murdock. “Loop a short band around your knees and lie on your back. Bend your knees and keep them about eight inches apart with your feet rooted into the mat. Squeeze your glute muscles and elevate your hips no higher than hip height off the ground. At the same time, hold a set of dumbells just over your chest with your hands shoulder-width apart. Press the weights straight and hold as you perform the glute bridge. Hold this position for three to five seconds, then return your hips and arms to the beginning.” Do three sets of eight to 10 reps.

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This unique movement improves hip mobility and strengthens the muscles around the hips for a serious boost to your balance.

Murdock instructs, “Lie on your side using your elbow as support with your knees bent. Place a weight just on top of your thighs. [Keeping] your knees stacked, open and close your top leg over the bottom while maintaining the weight on top of your thigh.” Perform three sets of 10 to 15 reps per side.

Squatted Side Steps

Squatted side steps engage the muscles in your thighs and buttocks, helping to promote better balance and mobility.

“Sit back into a squat position while keeping a heavy weight just in front of your chest,” says Murdock. “Hold the weight with both hands. From the low position, make sure your knees don’t surpass your toes. Keep your feet at least eight inches apart during the entire walk.” Take 10 steps to the right, then 10 steps to the left. Repeat for four rounds.

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