Push-ups don't require equipment and can be done anywhere, even if you're on the road. They're one of the best ways to maintain overall upper body and core strength. I used to dread push-ups until I gained some upper body strength (by doing push-ups.) Now I look forward to the challenge. You can work up to full push-ups gradually by starting with your knees on the floor. Once you can complete 20 proper knee push-ups, move to using a weight bench. We like the Flybird Adjustable Utility Bench because it's sturdy and you won't feel like you're going to tip it over. It's also adjustable to 6 back positions and 4 seat positions so you can use it for a multitude of other exercises. It's the only weight bench you need for your home setup. Place your hands on the weight bench and your legs out straight with your feet on the floor so you're at an angle. Master 20 of these. At that point, you're ready to hit the ground and knock out full push-ups. It's not required, but a set of Perfect Health Perfect Pushup Grab Bars relieve a significant amount of strain on the wrists. You'll be amazed at the effectiveness of four sets of 20 pushups.
2. Overhead Presses
Overhead Presses are another one of the best ways to maintain overall upper body and core strength. They also help maintain posture. When interviewing Roxy Fit Club members, a few mentioned that they generally avoid lifting their arms over their heads. Don't accept this as part of the aging process. It's not. It's a slow erosion of upper body strength that can be remedied with exercise. Presses can be done with a barbell or dumbbells. This CAP Barbell 40-Pound Adjustable Dumbbell Set with Case is great for home or office. It takes little space and can be used for a variety of strength training exercises throughout the day. If you have room for it, try this Club Quality 4-Weight Deluxe Barbell Set by Step Fitness. Don't cheap out on a barbell set. You'll need a solid bar that comes as one solid piece. I see a lot of barbell sets that include a collapsible bar. These are dangerous and really pretty useless. Four sets of 20 overhead presses will have you reaching for the stars.
Some people call squats the perfect exercise because so many secondary muscle groups are trained along with the primaries: the quads and glutes. They're key to maintaining lower body strength and bone density, two essential needs as we progress through life. Wall squats can be done anywhere you can find a wall. No excuses. You can even do a few sets of 20 at work on a quick break without having to change into gym clothes. You can also use the Club Quality 4-Weight Deluxe Barbell Set by Step Fitness you used for overhead presses. Lift as much as you can on your own without a squat rack. That means you'll hoist the loaded barbell to your shoulders and perform perfect squats without assistance. Four sets of 10 squats are a great workout.
Deadlifts are another exercise that targets multiple muscle groups. You're maximizing your workout time and ensuring strength and stability when you incorporate deadlifts. These focus on the posterior chain: hamstrings, the gluteus maximus, erector spinae muscle group, trapezius, and posterior deltoids. In many cases, back and knee pain is alleviated by strengthening these muscles. The deadlift may seem too easy. You're basically lifting heavy weight not very far off the ground, but they're one of the most effective moves you can perform for lower body strength. You can use the same Club Quality 4-Weight Deluxe Barbell Set by Step Fitness you used for overhead presses and squats. Four sets of 12 deadlifts will have you walking tall in no time.
We invite you to quit your traditional sit-up routine. Trade it for planks and you'll really see some improvement in core strength. Planks challenge all of your core muscles at once, even the ones sit-ups and crunches miss like the obliques. Planks are versatile. You can incorporate movements to focus on the obliques or the erector spinae or the serratus anterior. These are all smaller muscles that are often neglected but make a significant difference in posture and everyday movements. A strong core eliminates many back pain issues. It's easy to plank on the floor with just a yoga mat. We use these extra-large yoga mats in one of our exercise suites. They provide a nice cushion and some extra room to breathe. Studies show that people work harder when they work with a partner. An app works great when an in-person partner isn't available. Using a smart home device like the Amazon Echo to guide you through a 15-minute plank routine makes a significant difference in the amount of effort you exert. Most people's 30-second count is more like 17-20 seconds. There are several plank routines available and some even coach you with encouraging words.
Even if you do little else in the gym, these exercises will keep you limber for life. They focus on the larger muscle groups and core which are often underutilized if you have a desk job or are otherwise fairly sedentary. Toss in a brisk 1/2 hour walk or bike ride after lunch and dinner and you're good to go.