With summer here, everyone wants to get outside, but our bodies might be a bit rusty from the winter. Hiking, bicycling, paddling, and even gardening and household maintenance all require some level of total body engagement. To get ready, let’s look at two exercises you can do anywhere to boost flexibility, mobility, strength, and balance.
Squat to overhead press
To strengthen your legs, find a bench or chair to support your sitting weight. Grab a dumbbell or another object that weighs a few pounds. If possible, position yourself in front of a mirror to check your form. Your legs will be in line with your hips. We want a 90° bend from your hip to your knee and another 90° bend from your knee down to your ankle. Hold the weight to your chest. Place pressure and weight between the center of your foot and your heel while standing up from the sitting position. Avoid pressure on your toes and do not let your knees jet out past your toes. Keep your knees in line with your hip, not caving inward or bowing out. Use your arms to lift the weight upward while performing the squat. You should feel this working in your legs, glutes, and arms. Practice engaging your core and mid-back for stabilization. This exercise can be modified with changes in speed or weight to increase or decrease difficulty. The movement is great preparation for activity that requires you to focus on strength, endurance, and stability for your lower body.
Push-ups do not need to be done on the floor. Anyone who wants to work their way up to floor push-ups can use an elevated surface to increase strength without risking injury. Look for an extremely solid object such as the back of a heavy couch, a park bench, or even a wall. Place your palms against the elevated surface with your arms at 90° to your upper body. For greater stability, have your feet apart about hip width or shoulder width apart. For increased strength stability, have your feet together. If you have shoulder difficulties, you may have to scoot yourself farther in toward the wall so that your elbows can be a little bit lower. Focus on lowering your body down slowly and pushing away about the same speed. We are not trying to go fast. Focus on your breathing; breathe in while coming down and exhale while pushing up. Focus on feeling the muscles through the chest, shoulder, and even the back when you come down. This exercise will help with core and lower back strength along with shoulder stability and mobility.
Both exercises should be done in three sets of 12-15 repetitions. Do them at home, at a gym, or in a park. If you have had any shoulder or joint issues, talk to your doctor for safe modifications. Remember, exercise is a preventative medicine to avoid injuries—and these exercises will get you ready for summer adventures and your daily activities, too.
Kyle Ciminski is a personal trainer and Fitness Manager at the Fidalgo Pool & Fitness Center in Anacortes. He holds over 30 professional certifications, and you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 360-969-1386.