Who says you need equipment to get a good workout? Use your own body to build strength with these two moves from SilverSneakers Master Trainer Andi.
When it comes to building functional strength and stability, bodyweight exercises are hard to beat. That’s true no matter your fitness level, but especially if you’re new to strength training.
“Tools are great to strengthen our muscles, but we don’t always need them,” says SilverSneakers Master Trainer Andi. “Bodyweight exercises can be just as beneficial.”
That’s because you create your own resistance by working against gravity and consciously squeezing your muscles as you move. Many bodyweight exercises have the added benefit of mimicking normal movements, such as pushing and pulling, which makes everyday activities easier.
Plus, bodyweight exercises are incredibly convenient. You only need your own body, a little floor space, and maybe a chair, wall, or table.
There’s no shortage of options. Here, Andi shows us two of her favorite bodyweight exercises for older adults.
How to Use These Bodyweight Exercises
You’ll need a sturdy chair and open space. You can simply press play on the video above and follow along or check out the step-by-step instructions below.
Do up to three sets of six to 10 reps per side. To get the most out of each move, focus on maintaining good posture and consciously squeezing your muscles through the full range of motion. “Find the resistance that’s just right for you,” Andi says.
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.
Bodyweight Exercise #1: Upper-Body Push and Pull
Begin in a seated or standing position with your chest up and your shoulders back and down. If you’re seated, sit forward in your chair.
Bend your elbows at a 90-degree angle, and close your hands into gentle fists. Lift your elbows out to the sides to shoulder height, and then extend your arms and hands out in front of you as if you are pushing something heavy away.
Pause, then reverse the movement. Pull your arms back in while keeping your elbows at shoulder height, and then squeeze your muscles to lower your elbows back down.
Bodyweight Exercise #2: Single-Leg Glute Push
Stand tall and place a hand on the back of a sturdy chair for support. Shift your weight into one foot, and lift your other foot off the floor and flex it. Bend the knee of your standing leg slightly.
From here, hinge forward from your hips, and push the heel of your flexed foot back—imagine you are pushing something heavy away.
Pause, then reverse the movement. Hinge back up to return to standing position as you bring your extended leg back in, tapping your toes on the floor or keeping your knee lifted. Perform all reps, and then switch sides.
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