Let’s chat muscle. And no, we’re not talking about how to get super bulked up, but rather why it’s crucial to build up your lean muscle mass as you grow older. Let’s face the facts: Aging comes with many new and exciting chapters, but also many unexpected changes and hurdles. As the years pass, you won’t only spot grey hairs; there’s also a lot going on inside your body that you should be aware of. We’ve put together the #1 floor workout to build lean muscle as you age, but before we walk you through it, here’s how aging impacts your health.
According to the Mayo Clinic, a typical change that occurs in your cardiovascular system is that your arteries and blood vessels become stiff, making it more laborsome for your heart to pump blood. The muscles in your heart adapt to this change, but when performing physical activity, your heart rate won’t increase like it did in your younger years. This heightens your chance of developing cardiovascular issues such as hypertension.
In addition, aging gives you the not-very-exciting gift of your bones decreasing in density and size, making them weaker. Your muscles aren’t as strong and flexible as they once were. They lose their endurance, too. That’s why it’s necessary to follow just the right healthy habits, including getting your fill of vitamin D and calcium, along with making physical activity a regular part of your routine, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Muscle is a solid indicator of longevity that keeps you healthy and fit. If you’re looking to maintain the best quality of life, then you need to perform strength training a minimum of three times a week. In addition to strengthening exercises, floor workouts are a stellar way to build lean muscle. Using the resistance from your body weight helps recruit muscle and improves stability.
Here’s a sample floor workout to build lean muscle as you age. Perform three to four sets of the following movements.
Kick off your lean muscle-building workout with Pike Pushups. Get onto the floor and assume a standard pushup, keeping your palms flat and outside your shoulder span. Your feet should be together and your legs out straight.
Next, walk your feet up to your hands as you lift your glutes into the air. Press up through your palms, flexing your triceps and shoulders at the top of the motion. Then, return back to the starting position before performing another rep. Complete three to four sets of 10 reps.
It’s time to set up for Alternating Reverse Lunges. Take a long stride back with one of your legs. Firmly plant your heel, then lower yourself into a lunge until your back knee touches the floor. Get a solid hip flexor stretch at the bottom of the motion, then push up with your front leg to return to standing, flexing your quad and glute to finish. After you come up, perform the lunge on the other side, alternating back and forth until all reps are finished. Complete three to four sets of 10 reps for each leg.
Next up, let’s get into Single-Leg Glute Bridges. Begin by lying on your back and bending both knees. Pick up one leg, keeping it straight as you raise it into the air. Make sure your core stays tight as you drive through the heel of the leg that’s on the ground. Flex your glute hard at the top of the motion for two quick seconds, then come back down. Complete three to four sets of 15 reps for each leg.
Get ready for some Floor Dips. Set up by sitting on the floor with your arms behind you and both knees bent. Push yourself up by driving through your palms, extending your arms out as far as possible. Flex your triceps hard at the top of the motion, then come all the way down until you’re seated before performing the next rep. Complete three to four sets of 15 to 20 reps.
Kick off this final exercise—the Cross-Body Mountain Climber—in a classic pushup position with your feet fully extended and your shoulders lining up with your wrists. Keep your core tight as you take one knee and drive it up to the opposite elbow, flexing your obliques at the end. Bring your leg back to the pushup position before doing it again with the other leg. Alternate back and forth, maintaining tension in your abs the entire time. Complete three to four sets of 10 reps for each leg.
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.