We keep having the " no bad exercises" arguments. If you follow me on social media you know I certainly think there are bad exercises. On the flip side of that, there are clearly better choices.
My friend Vince Gabrielle sent out a newsletter with an article entitled "40 Content Marketing Title Ideas." Starting with a headline like "The Top 4 Exercises for Clients Over 40" makes writing easy. All I need to do is pick 4. Four is a nice number as it gives us a push, a pull, a knee dominant and a hip dominant exercise.
Exercise 1- Standing Cable Press
Why We Like It- this is the most shoulder friendly exercise I have ever found. Almost every client who says " I cant press" due to shoulder pain does this pain free. It's my go to for re-starting pressing with anyone coming back from injury but is just a great place to start with an over 40 body.
Hidden Benefit 1- anti-extension core work from the standing posture.
Hidden Benefit 2- no familiarity means no preconceived notion about how much weight is "good"
Exercise 2- X-Pulldown
Why We Like It- Adds a frontal plane angle to a sagitaal exercise. Dual handles make it easy on the shoulder joints. Angle of pull ( slight backward lean) almost makes this almost a hydrid between a more conventional pulldown and a row.
Hidden Benefit- independent handles again make this a very "shoulder friendly" exercise.
Exercise 3 - Split Squat
Why We Like It- Everyone who knows MBSC knows that we love unilateral lower body training. Splits squats challenge balance and lower body strength with very low loads. Much like the standing cable press beginners wont rush to load this up like they might some type of squatting exercise.
Hidden Benefit- hip flexor stretch! Most over 40's sit too much so hip flexors are short.
Exercise 4- Reaching 1 Leg Straight Leg Deadlift
Why We Like It- The Reaching 1 Leg SLDL is a great posterior chain exercise that works on balance as well as strength. This is the perfect introduction to posterior chain training for the beginner as it is what Gray Cook calls a self limiting exercise. No one will be looking to add weight any time soon on this one.
Hidden Benefit- the foot and ankle are really working in this exercise. Many people complain about poor balance but, what they are really lacking is hip and ankle strength.
These four exercises are the basis for just about every personal training program we write. They are joint friendly and challenging enough that people quickly see their needs and deficiencies. If you haven't already, give them a try.