6 Exercises to Improve Muscle Power
Increasing your muscle power is important for balance, stability and reaction timing. These 6 standing exercises can help you find your power.
We rely on muscle power every day, even if we’re not thinking about it. Many daily activities that are critical to staying independent—standing up from a seated position, climbing stairs, or even catching yourself if you start to lose balance—require power. Pick a few, or all, of these exercises to add to your daily routine. Or, do them throughout the week and see if you notice a change.
Begin with your feet hip distance apart. Step your right foot forward, raising your left heel slightly off the floor, and gently crouch down here. Remember to avoid your chest caving inward, keep your chest up and your back tall. Then, push yourself back up to standing with feet hip distance apart. Now, try it with your left leg in front. Alternate a few times on each side, if you feel comfortable.
Side Lunge Around the World
From a standing position with your feet facing the front of the room, raise your arms as if you’re holding a ball in front of your heart. Then, step your right foot out to the side with feet still pointing forward. Gently bend your right knee, keeping your left leg straight. Take the imaginary ball and bring it to the right side with your lunge, then up over your head and around to the other side. As you bring the ball around, bend your left knee to lunge, keeping your right leg straight this time. As you bring the invisible ball back to center, you’ll find yourself in a gentle squat. Straighten the legs to come back to your starting position and move through the flow again.
Tap Back, Heel Pull In
Start standing with feet a comfortable distance apart. Hinge forward from the hips and stretch your right leg back. Remember to keep your spine long and chest lifted. You should look as if you’re about to begin a foot race. From this position, pull your right leg back in and push yourself back up to a standing position with power and control. Try it a few more times. Hinge forward, stretch your right foot back, and pull yourself back to standing tall with feet hip distance apart. Then do a few more with the left leg stretched back.
Squat with Overhead Push
If you’re familiar with the standard squat, you’ll learn this move in a breeze. Begin standing with your feet at a comfortable distance apart. Bend the knees slightly and draw your elbows back as if to sit on a chair. This is a squat. From here, raise your arms overhead, reach for the sky and push yourself up with force and control. It’s okay if you lose your balance a bit, it’s important to learn how to recover and find your grounding again. Do this move as many times as you like.
Let’s build rotational power to help your reaction timing and balance. Start with your left foot anchored firmly to the floor. Take your right foot and step out to the right side. Your toes should be angled slightly outward. From here, bend your knees to a gentle squatting position, remember to pull back from the hips, keep your chest up and your back tall. Then, use your arms to propel you as you rotate from the waist and push yourself back up to standing. Try it a few times on each side with control and power in each movement.
Double Sidestep + Push
Take two steps to the right, then bring your left arm across your body to push toward the right side of the room. As your body twists with the push, raise your left heel. Then return to facing forward. Next, take two steps to the left and bring your right arm across your upper body to push toward the left side of the room, raising the heel of your right foot on the twist.
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These exercises are key for building and maintaining control and power in your day-to-day movements and activities. As always, remember that safety and good form are key. “It’s not about perfection, it’s about recovery.” Andi says. It’s more important to learn good form and recovery than it is to do a lot of reps.
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