Get fit in five weeks

Fancy a personal trainer but can't afford one? Download our Strength and Flex podcasts and get your fitness coach for free.

Let our virtual trainer coach you through a series of equipment-free exercises designed to improve your strength and flexibility.

The workout instructions and pace are easy to follow to ensure you perform each exercise correctly and in time.

Strength and Flex consists of five 35- to 45-minute podcasts, which are available as a mobile download for MP3 players, mobile phones, iPod and iPhones.

You can easily combine Strength and Flex with our popular Couch to 5K running programme, by following the plans on alternate days of the week.

Strength and Flex features:

  • Free to download
  • Equipment-free
  • Easy to follow
  • Full body workout
  • Video clips
  • Use anywhere, anytime
  • Can be used with Couch to 5K programme

Starting with Strength and Flex podcast 1, your goal is to work your way up to podcast 5 in five weeks. To achieve this, you need to do each podcast at least three times in a week.

By podcast 5, you’ll be doing back, arm and leg stretches along with press-ups and squats with ease. You'll be feeling stronger, more flexible and full of energy to go about your daily life.

You can do these full body workouts anywhere and any time you choose. They can be done indoors or out in the park or garden, on your own or with a friend.

All you need is enough space to walk about freely, a fixed bench, a wall and either some shoulder-height railings or a shoulder-height horizontal bar.

There are Strength and Flex video clips available of all the exercises in this series, so you can check you’re doing each move safely and effectively.

Strength and Flex will ease you into the habit of regular exercise, which will help you burn calories, lose weight and stay healthy.

Podcast 5 is designed to be used beyond the programme. It provides a regular 45-minute workout to de-stress and feel good.

Your coach for the five-week programme is Laura, whose friendly and encouraging voice is one of the reasons behind C25K’s success.

To exercise, wear something that's loose and comfortable in a breathable material, like cotton, and pick shoes that offer support and cushioning.

If you have any health concerns about beginning the Strength and Flex, see your GP and discuss it with them before you start.

Page last reviewed: 31/05/2014

Next review due: 31/05/2016

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The 3 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

Tim1 said on 26 August 2014

Hi this comment is in response to Gary141 but may be useful for other people.

Your android phone will be able to play these podcasts already without any extra software.

The easiest way to do this is as follows:

Using your android browser ("Internet" or "Chrome") search in Google for the keywords "nhs strength and flexibility".

This will lead you to this page.

Click on e.g. Week1. This will popup with a link saying: Download podcast to your device.

Press on this link until a menu is displayed.
Select Save Link.

This will download the podcast to your device.

Go to your "Music" app, and scroll across to Songs.
Your podcast should appear within this panel.
Select the podcast, and it will play.

Hope this is useful.

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Gary141 said on 17 August 2014

just a quick question, the program mentions downloading podcast to use, but I have no I phone or i pad, but I do have and android phone, is their a compatible app for this.

Thanks Gary

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agray58 said on 31 March 2014

I will be starting my Couch Potato to 5k training tonight. I've never been able to run any distance before, only in short, sharp bursts when I was at school so at 55 years old it'll be interesting to see how I get on. Watch this space!

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Strength and Flex videos

Watch video clips of Laura demonstrating all the exercises in the Strength and Flexibility podcast series

Strength and flexibility five-week plan

A week-by-week breakdown of the five-week Strength and flexibility podcast series

Get fit with Strength and Flex

The Strength and Flex plan will help you get up and moving and improve your health and wellbeing in five weeks

Improve your strength and flexibility

Strength and flexibility exercises are great for muscle strength, healthy bones and joint pain

Get running with Couch to 5K

Our C25K plan is designed to get just about anyone off the couch and running 5km in nine weeks

5K+ running podcasts for C25K graduates

Take your running to the next level with new podcasts for Couch to 5K graduates