After age of 40, strength declines massively. Strength is like balance, if you don’t use it you lose it. Strength is about moving your body efficiently through all different ranges.
How can we increase and improve our strength?
There are 4 different exercises that we have found to improve strength throughout the body. We will start with the least intense exercise and move towards something more complex.
Exercise 1: Squats
Squats can be done two different ways: focusing on the downward movement and the on the upward movement.
- Step 1: Start by standing up in front of a chair. Slowly squat down and sit on chair. Once seated, use arm rests of chair to help you stand back up. This is going to focus on the downward movement of the squat.
- Step 2: Start seated in a chair. Without using the support of the arm rests, stand up. This is focusing on the upward movement of the squat. Once standing, use the arm rests to assist in sitting down in the chair.
Once you feel comfortable with both of these exercise, the more complex movement is focusing on both parts together with no support. This will help in mobilising your ankles, knees, hips and spine.
- Step 3: Start standing and slowly lower your body down until you gently “kiss” the chair. Once seated, stand up slowly with no support of the arm rests until in a standing and upright position. Work on this exercise until comfortable and successful in each movement.
Exercise 2: Lunges
Like squats, lunges can be done 2 different ways. We will start with a basic lunge and then with a twist to add complexity.
Step 1: Start standing, step forward and drop down. Go up, then down. Make sure that the knee of your leg that is forward is not going past your foot when down in a lunge. If it is, the front foot needs to be moved a little more forward to do this properly.
Step 2: Same exercise as before, but adding a twist. Go down in a lunge, once in the downward position, twist your body to the side that is “open” and then twist back to the front. Go up, then down, twist, untwist, got up.
Practising Exercises Off Centre
It’s important to practise exercises off centre and be strong from both sides. Doing this will give you strength and support from more than one direction.
Exercise 3: Calf Raises
Step 1: In a standing position, feet shoulder width apart, raise up on your toes and then down. Do this is a slow consistent movement. It is not about speed, but the movement. Start out with 5-10 and works towards 20.
Exercise 4: Hanging
Step 1: If you have the opportunity to use a bar, fantastic! If not, use a wall. The and reach arms overhead and let your body hang and let your arms take the weight of your body.