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Strength Move for Walkers: Pushup

Stand taller and walk longer with a stronger upper body.

By Michele Stanten

Ready to get stronger?

If you’re just joining us, feel free to jump right in. The key thing to know about strength training is you should do it at least twice a week, and with the SilverSneakers Million Pound Challenge, you have options. You can take a SilverSneakers class or other group fitness class that incorporates strength training, or try a new gym workout. Or you can follow along with me as I share one new strength move each week to help you build a five-move circuit by the end of the month.

So far, we’ve done the squatbird dog, bridge, and row. This week’s move is the incline pushup, which is easier than a floor pushup but still targets your arms, shoulders, and chest. A stronger upper body makes it easier to stand taller and walk longer. Here’s how to do it.

Step #1: Put Hands Under Shoulders

Doing pushups with your hands elevated makes them easier so you can focus on good form. You can use a wall, counter, table, step, or even stairs.

Step #2: Extend Body

Position your feet so they’re about hip-width apart and your body is in a line from head to heels.

Step #3: Lower and Push Up

Bend your elbows, and lower your chest until your elbows are bent about 90 degrees. Pause, and press into your palms to straighten your arms back to starting position. Keep your abs tight and your head in line with your spine—don’t drop your chin. Aim to do one to three sets of 10 to 15 reps.

Make It Your Own

Like most exercises, you can—and should—customize the pushup to make it work for you. Try this:

  • To make it easier, use a taller object, such as a wall. The more upright your body is, the easier the pushup will be.
  • To make it harder, use a shorter object. If you started using a wall, you can use a counter, then a step, and finally the floor as you get stronger.
  • To create your own circuit, do a set each of squats, bird dogs, bridges, rows, and pushups. Repeat this circuit between three and five times for a five-move strength workout. Rest at least a minute between circuits.

Note: The exercises in this workout may be different or more advanced than those you’ll experience in a SilverSneakers class. Please consult your physician before beginning a physical activity program to make sure it’s safe for you.

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