Whole-Body Wellness Challenge: Squat to Overhead Press Combo

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Use this four-in-one functional exercise to build power in your legs and strength in your upper body—and to stay independent for the long haul.

The Whole-Body Wellness Challenge is rooted in the understanding that health isn’t just about fitness. This month, we’re sharing fun and easy ways to bring everything you love about SilverSneakers classes and your time at the gym to other areas of your life. You’ll find workouts, tips, and activities to help you build strength, eat healthier, sleep sounder, and be more present in your life so you can feel good—body, mind, and spirit.    

When you were younger, you probably didn’t think twice about all the bending, twisting, and reaching that’s part of everyday life. Getting down on the floor to play with (or clean up after) little ones? No problem. Picking a package up off the porch? Easy-peasy. 

“But as we age, it’s important to keep practicing these types of everyday motions to hold on to our mobility, strength, and independence,” says SilverSneakers instructor Shannon Thigpen.  

Making functional exercise fun is one of our specialties here at SilverSneakers. So many of the moves we incorporate into our classes have a dual purpose: to keep you fit and train your body to handle everyday activities with ease.   

“Today, I’m going to take you through one of my favorite functional exercise sequences that mimics bending down to pick up a box, taking it inside, and placing it on an overhead shelf,” says Shannon. Let’s get started!  

How to Use This Squat to Overhead Press Combo 

You’ll just need yourself and some open floor space. Once you get the hang of the movement, feel free to hold a pair of light weights. If you don’t have weights, you can also use household objects like water bottles to add a bit of resistance. 

When you’re ready, simply press play on the video above and follow along with Shannon. She’ll take you through a combination movement that involves a squat to a biceps curl, a back step, and then an overhead press. Then she’ll show you simple ways to make this move more challenging.  

As you try this exercise, be mindful of your form:  

  • Brace your core 
  • Keep your weight over your heels 
  • Align your knees over your ankles (don’t let them cave in) 
  • Breathe in and out throughout the movement   

If standing through this whole move isn’t for you, don’t worry: “You could use your chair and practice standing up from that squat,” advises Shannon. You’ll still be building power in your legs and strength in your upper body.  

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As always, safety is key. The exercises here may be different or more advanced than those you’ll experience in a SilverSneakers class. If you have a chronic condition, an injury, or balance issues, talk to your doctor about how you can exercise safely.    

Bonus Challenge: Try a  SilverSneakers Enerchi Class 

Do you like how Shannon combined these moves together to make a functional flow? Then you’ll like SilverSneakers Enerchi. It’s a 45 to 60-minute class for beginners that takes modified tai chi forms and flows them together in a slow sequence to progress balance and focus. It’s really relaxing! And it’s offered both in-person at participating SilverSneakers fitness locations (review the gym’s schedule for exact times), or online with SilverSneakers LIVE. See the latest SilverSneakers LIVE schedule and RSVP for classes here.   

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