When you have a long list of desire for energy, vitality, tone, balance, strength, better memory, and little time you want the best exercises for getting the most results in the least amount of time. That’s what this post is all about. I’ve selected some big needle movers that should be a part of your workouts.
The 3 Best Exercises for Strength
These strength exercises earn the title as best exercises based on results. They are three exercises that provide the most return on investment (ROI). You get the most results in the least amount of time. If you’re a Flipping 50 TV fan you know that’s the mission of all my recommendations. Time is the most often sited obstacle to exercise for any of us.
These exercises provide bone density (when weight selected is heavy enough for overload), and a metabolism – boost through fat loss and lean muscle increase. Collectively, those benefits add up to longevity with your health in tact. We’re not just looking for a longer lifespan, after all. We’re looking for a longer “healthspan.”
- Leg Press
- Seated Row
- Chest Press
It’s typical for a fitness professional or a doctor perhaps to recommend 8-10 exercises for your 8-10 major muscle groups. Yet, if you dig deeper often those recommendations are based on decades-old text book recommendations and position statements.
Isolate or Integrate?
Today we know that exercising one muscle group in an exercise is isolating muscle groups. That’s like a solo performance.
In life your muscles perform like an orchestra. No one instrument sounds good without the other. So it is for your muscles. You’ve got to have the whole thing functioning. So while isolating muscles going from one machine to the next machine can be a good place to start, moving on to a new way of moving more muscles at one time provides the best return on investment.
I always, always, include these best exercises for strength in my personal strength workouts and in workouts I design for adults over 50. I also do functional movements but I never do variety for variety’s sake.
You’ve noticed, if you follow Flipping 50 blogs or the podcast regularly, that I don’t do exercises that come with a poor risk: reward ratio. With dozens of exercises to choose from there’s no reason to do that.
Don’t start with heavy weight, even if you’re without joint issues and able to go heavy later. Begin with weight you can do 15-20 times at least. Follow the ABCs below over a period of weeks (even 2-3 months is optimal).
- Slow and controlled
- To fatigue
- Add power
The Best Exercises for your Fast Twitch Muscles
We lose fast twitch muscles twice as fast as we do our slow twitch muscle fibers. They’re important for reaction skills. When you almost slip, almost being the optimal word, your fast twitch muscles help you respond and right yourself. When the sidewalk is a little icy, you have to put on the brake quickly while driving, or you catch something about to fall off the counter… thank your fast twitch muscles.
But if you haven’t been training them on purpose you’ve lost some of them between 30 and whatever age you are now. You can reverse losses and get them back. Here are three ways. This list is by no means all-inclusive, it’s just a few you can begin with. All you need is 2-3 minutes a day of quick moves.
3 Moves to Try
If you dance, you know this is a foxtrot. Nothing against the waltz but the slow controlled flow of waltz is not helpful for your fast twitch muscles. Stand beside a ladder (tape one on the floor, use one in the gym, or imagine one) and step two feet into the ladder then out on the other side using the quick-quick-slow rhythm.
Imagine stepping into the squares of a ladder on the floor. The trick though is to practice leading with your non-dominant side. Does it feel awkward? You need it more.
- Forward-back side repeat
Imagine facing a ladder on the floor from the side. The length of the ladder is spread out to your right. Step in to a square with your right, then left foot. Step back with your right then left foot. Then do the same in the next square to the right, and continue all the way down the ladder. Do the same on your left foot.
Feeling unstable? You don’t want to risk a fall trying to prevent one! So do any of these drills in the water where you’ll still activate fast twitch muscles without any risk of falling.
Three Best Exercises for Better Balance
You go to yoga to improve balance. You don’t worry about falling in yoga. Why not? Because it’s quiet, calm, with no distractions so you can just focus on balance. That’s really not helpful. You’ll fall when there are tons of distraction from moving people or objects, noise, obstacles on the ground or people bumping into you. So create it once you’re really ready to improve your balance in real life. Three ways to take any standing yoga pose further:
- Add Noise
Flip: Falls rarely occur when it’s quiet and you have no distractions. Be on an uneven surface, not always in shoes or flooring designed to make it easy.
The Best Exercises When Your Balance is Compromised
If you’ve got a history of falling in your recent past or your balance isn’t optimal, you want to keep yourself safe. It could be you with an inner ear or vestibular challenge, an injury, or it could be a parent.
I observed my mom this week attempting to do two things at once while we were out and about. Why wouldn’t she? It’s what we do, right? We multitask. Yet, when it’s less the norm than the exception and you’re defaulting to something you used to do but don’t so regularly any more, these situations present an increased risk. For example:
- Walking down the hall to her apartment she tried to unzip her purse and fish out her keys.
- Walking up the stairs to her second floor apartment she continued to talk with me.
Flips for more stability:
- Walk to the door then get the key out
- Pause conversation and focus on the stairs
- Practice balance-enhancing activities in a supported environment until you’re more stable. If you don’t regularly challenge yourself in a progressively safe environment don’t attempt to do exercise that’s challenging when falls are high risk.
Include the strength exercises in your fitness routine twice a week. (contrary to popular belief, more is not better) Include the fast twitch fiber exercises every time you exercise as “finishers” in the last few minutes. Also include balance nearly every day for a few minutes either at the end of a workout or just random times when you’re waiting in line at the store or the bank, when you’re doing your bicep curls or triceps press at the gym.
Are you on Instagram? Follow me for IGTV videos coming with exercises and the WHY they’ll help you and how to do them.
Prefer YouTube? You’ll find lots of videos there, too.
If you like your videos organized into programs for you, check out this blog about the Flipping 50 exercise video options.