Muscle building exercises for Diabetes
Medically Reviewed iconMedically Reviewedcevron icon

10 Exercises To Gain Muscle for People With Diabetes

People who have diabetes can exercise safely, but always check with your doctor before you start. Strength Training is a great option for people with diabetes and should be done twice a week. Along with this you can also include some cardio exercises like walking, swimming, or cycling for half an hour everyday. Always remember to stretch afterwards and reach out to a coach or trainer for better techniques and discipline.

Getting started with a Strength Training Routine

Before getting to the actual strength training exercises, here are some ground rules you should know.

  • For each exercise, begin with 1 set of 18 Reps where you repeat the moves 8 - 12 times.
  • Take rest for 30 seconds before you start the next one.
  • Use Light Dumbbells'/Resistance Bands to help focus on smooth, controlled weight-lifting and lowering.
  • Switch to heavier weights once once you have gotten used to the light ones.

So now that you're all prepped for your strength training routine, here are ten exercises you can do at home to work on your essential muscles.

  1. Upper Body - Standing Biceps Curl : Keeping your hands straight down, palms facing your thighs, take your starting position, standing, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Squeezing your biceps, lift the dumbbells. Going up, rotate your forearms till your palms are facing backwards, on either side of your face. Slowly bring the weights to the start position. Don't depend on momentum when you bring them down. The movement must be controlled right through.
  2. Upper Body - Triceps Extension : Stand, one foot a tad in front of the other one, and hold one dumbbell with both hands gripping the handle. Lift the dumbbell slowly, over your head. Extend and open out your elbows as you raise the weight upwards. Next, fold in your elbows slowly and lower the dumbbell. Your upper arms should remain firm and perpendicular to the floor. Maintain your shoulder blades’ position down and to the back as you do the reps.
  3. Upper Body - Shoulder Press : This can be done sitting or standing. Hold a dumbbell, one in each hand. Raise both hands until they are on the same level as your ears. Ensure your elbows are bent at a 90-degree angle at this start position. Next, propel the weights upward until your arms are fully extended. Slowly bring down to the start position.
  4. Upper Body - Chest Press : Lie face upward, keep with your knees bent, and keep your feet fully on the floor. Grip a dumbbell in each hand at the level of your chest. Raise the dumbbells up over your chest till your elbows are straightened out but not tightly locked. Hold for a second. Then slowly lower your hands with the weights towards your chest.
  5. Upper Body - Seated Row : Sit on the ground with your feet placed together. Keep your knees bent. Hold the end of a resistance band or a dumbbell in your hands. Keeping your arms straight out ahead of you, your palms must face inward. Keep your back straight; bend your elbows, and then pull the bands or dumbbells towards yourself at the sides. Keep the elbows touching your body and extend your arms out slowly.
  6. Core - Classic Crunch : Lie on the mat, facing upwards. Place your feet on the floor, flat. Bend your knees. Lace your hands, supporting your head from behind. Pull in your shoulder blades and keep your elbows back. The elbows should point sideways and stay in that position. Pull your abs in tight, and bend your shoulders along with the upper part of your back. Use your core muscles to pull them up off the floor. Lower slowly down. Keeping your lower back always pressed to the floor, take care that you don't use momentum when you do the reps.
  7. Core - Plank : Lie facing down with your elbows exactly under your shoulders, palms down, and your toes tucked under. From this start position, slowly tighten your glutes, abs, and back muscles. Lift your body and thighs off the floor. Do this till your forearms on top and toes below are supporting your whole body, like a plank. Hold this equilibrium for about 5 seconds. Keeping your back straight, slowly return to the starting stance.
  8. Lower Body - Squat : Stand, keeping your feet shoulder-width apart. Now, bend your knees and, as though you are sitting in a chair, lower yourself down. Ensure you keep your thighs on a parallel line with the floor and keep your bent knees within the level of your toes. After a pause, stand up now, leaning forward a bit. You may also use a stability ball if it suits you. Keep it behind your back against a wall, as and as described above, practice the squats.
  9. Lower Body - Lunges : Stand, keeping your feet as wide apart as your shoulders are. Take your right leg one step back. Bend the knee toward the floor, making sure you don’t allow it to make contact with the ground. Your left thigh should be almost in a parallel line with the floor. Next, press down on your left heel and bring your right leg back to the neutral stance. Do 8-12 reps. After this, change sides, this time stepping back with your left leg. Try making these lunges even more fun and difficult to push your limits - hold some weight like a dumbbell in each hand, and repeat!
  10. Lower Body - Hamstring Curl : Stand, holding on to a chair-back. Stretch out your left foot and bend your knee back and bring it up. Do this till your heel touches or almost touches your butt. You may keep your other leg a bit bent. Now, bring your left foot to the ground again. 8-12 reps later, repeat the process with the right leg. You can make this exercise more challenging by wearing ankle weights, but check with your doctor first!

Bottom Line

Taking care of your health must be of utmost importance. Make sure that you are comfortable in the workout you choose to do. Constantly monitor yourself and consult a doctor whenever needed. Happy exercising!

Book a Free Session




This website's content is provided only for educational reasons and is not meant to be a replacement for professional medical advice. Due to individual differences, the reader should contact their physician to decide whether the material is applicable to their case.