If you’re like most people, you probably take your joints for granted. But if you don’t take care of them, they can start to wear down over time. Here are some exercises on how to strengthen your joints and keep them healthy.
Exercise 1 – Pushups
The classic pushup is a staple chest-building exercise that can benefit everyone from soldiers to baseball players. Although you may think it’s strictly an upper-body move, pushups actually engage your core muscles for stability and make your shoulders and triceps work hard against gravity to keep your body stable. To do the perfect pushup, follow these steps: Assume a high plank position with hands directly under shoulders, abs braced, and legs extended behind you, maintaining a straight line from head to heels throughout the movement. Bend elbows 90 degrees and lower chest until almost touching the floor before pushing back up to the starting position. Repeat for one set of 10 reps.
If you are doing the classic pushup make sure to take a look at your form. If you can not do 3 sets of 10 perfect reps with good form then regress the move by putting knees on the floor, this will still engage your core to keep you stable.
Exercise 2 – Decline Pushups
They’re called decline pushups because they really zero in on all three heads of the pectoral muscles—the upper, middle, and lower pecs—that lie underneath your regular old flat-bench pecs. To do them, lie back against an elevated surface like the bottom half of a bench press station or even just two sturdy chairs set about 18 inches apart so that your feet can rest comfortably on the floor. Support yourself on your hands, keeping your elbows close to your body, then bend them until forearms are even with the ground and fingertips pointing behind you. Extend arms back to starting position. That’s one rep. Repeat for 10 reps. If this is too many pushups try 3 sets of 5-8 reps until you build up strength in your chest muscles. You can also place a weight or medicine ball between your ankles which will serve as resistance against which you have to work during the exercise making it slightly easier than straight decline push-ups
Exercise 3 – Handstand Pushups
These are just like they sound—pushups performed while you’re inverted! The good news is that since your center of gravity is shifted outside of your body, you’ll be able to perform a fair number of reps if you can hold a handstand position. Just prop yourself up against a wall with feet shoulder-width apart and toes planted firmly on the ground before bending elbows and lowering your chest toward the floor as low as possible without scraping it. Push back up to the starting position to complete 1 rep. Repeat for 3 sets of 10 reps or until you reach muscle failure. If this is too many pushups try 2 sets of 5-8 reps until you build up strength in your chest muscles.
Exercise 4 – Feet-Elevated Pushups
This variation starts out just like its name: With hands elevated above head and feet elevated off the ground. The difference is that you’re in a pushup position. Bend elbows and slowly lower chest toward floor until it nears the ground before pushing back up again to complete 1 rep. Repeat for 3 sets of 10 reps or until you reach muscle failure. If this is too many pushups try 2 sets of 5-8 reps until you build up strength in your chest muscles.
Exercise 5 – Handstand Hold Against Wall
Although not technically a movement, the handstand hold is an effective way to learn and practice handstand technique and coordination while challenging your core and stabilizer muscles since a balance must be maintained during the exercise; It will help improve mobility, stability, flexibility, and balance all at once. To perform it: Kick up to a wall and hold yourself in a handstand position for as long as possible. If you can’t kick up to the wall simply place your hands shoulder-width apart against a door frame or something similar at about eye level, bend your knees, and tip forward so your upper body is now vertical against the wall. Resting on toes and fingertips so legs are together with shins along the wall, relax glutes slightly to avoid hyperextending lower back then hold that position. When you can’t hold it anymore come down slowly and do it again 5 times.
Exercise 6 – Handstand Against Wall Walk-Ups
The handstand walk-up begins by putting your feet against the base of a wall with arms alongside you. It’s okay to place them a bit wider than shoulder-width apart, but you’ll want to keep your arms close to your torso as you walk up the wall into a handstand position with toes touching the wall. This will be your starting position. From here, breathe in and tighten up all of your body parts including hands, wrist joints, biceps, triceps, deltoids (shoulders), quads (fronts of thighs), hamstrings (back of thighs), glutes (your rear end), and abs to maintain body tension throughout the exercise.
These tips can be a great way to keep your joints healthy. Do you have any other ways that work for you? Let us know in the comments below! We would love to hear from our readers and learn more about what they do. Stay tuned for future blog posts with joint strengthening exercises