7 Strength Tape Exercises Seniors Should Take Advantage of Immediately
Have you seen athletes sporting colored cotton tape while participating in sports? This is not the tape used to wrap injuries for recovery, but a new type of soft tape designed to give you strength while exercising, called strength tape.
Strength tape is made of cotton and spandex. It is designed to add support and stability during strength and endurance exercises and stretching. It can also help to alleviate pain, benefit the lymphatic system, and improve circulation.
Take advantage of strength tape by wearing it to stretch tired or overworked muscles. If you have never used strength tape before, don’t be intimidated. You can find a number of videos online demonstrating how to apply it, and even purchase compression therapy trial packs to get started.
Strength tape is ideal for seniors to use while exercising because it will support and stabilize your muscles, joints, and ligaments, and boost your confidence. Try these seven strength exercises that are even easier with strength tape.
Rotator Cuff Exercises
The rotator cuff can be a cause for tightness in even the most agile seniors. This straightforward strength exercise builds muscle and endurance while stretching the arm. For these exercises, apply the tape to the upper shoulder, lower shoulder, and the upper arm if you experience soreness there.
Side Arm Lifts
Do 10 slow arm circles to stretch out. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Take a deep breath, and raise your arms out to the side. Hold for five seconds, and lower. Repeat 10 times for one set. Complete three sets if comfortable. For an added challenge, add small dumbbells while raising your hands, or hold your arms out longer.
Ankle and Leg Exercises
Your ankles hold a lot of weight, so keeping them in top shape will ensure you stay moving. Apply strength tape to your ankles, and try out these ankle stretches, then move on to the leg lifts if you feel comfortable strengthening your legs. Add some strength tape to your knees, too, especially if you suffer from joint pain.
Sit upright on a chair and stretch out your leg from the knee. Lower back down to about three inches off the chair. Turn your ankle clockwise in three circles, then turn your ankle counterclockwise. Flex your ankle up towards your shin for five seconds, and then point your toes straight forward for five seconds. Repeat this entire stretch routine three times on each ankle.
You can do leg lifts on a leg machine in a gym or at home on a chair. Apply strength tape to your knees and possibly to your thighs and shins if needed for these exercises.
In the gym, sit on the leg lift machine and move the seat to your liking. Choose a light weight to begin with, and lift your shins up to form a straight line with your leg. Do 8-10 repetitions, and three sets if you can.
At home, you can do this same workout on a chair. Add ankle weights if you have them for an added challenge. Do 8-10 repetitions, and three sets if you can.
Sit on a chair in an upright position. Lift your legs up together, so your legs form a straight line. Hold for a few seconds, then slowly lower your legs back down.
Your shoulders can become stiff without stretching and exercise. Try these simple shoulder raises to strengthen your shoulder muscles. Apply strength tape in the shoulder area before beginning.
Sit on a chair and ensure your posture is straight. Make a fist with each hand and push up with your arms as if you were lifting a barbell into the air. Do this 10 times for three sets.
For an added challenge, add low weight dumbbells.
Strength tape placed to support the knees — and the shoulders in the case of weighted squats (a barbell placed on the shoulders) — is a great way to enjoy squats again. Squats engage a number of muscles, including the glutes, legs (mostly quadriceps), and abs, and help improve hip mobility. Apply strength tape to the knees as well as the thighs and shins, if needed, before exercising.
Stand with your legs shoulder width apart. Slowly bend at the knee as if you were going to sit on a chair. You may go until your thighs are parallel to the ground, but stop when it is uncomfortable. Then, return to your starting position. Shoot for three sets of 10 repetitions.
For these, you will also want to add strength tape to your shoulder.
Using a barbell or Smith machine, add a safe amount of weight to the ends of the barbell as you complete the motions for body squats. Try for three sets of 10 repetitions.
Much like the ankle, your wrist takes a beating. It holds heavy objects and helps your arm carry even heavier objects. Treat it well by stretching it daily, especially with strength tape applied to your arms and wrists.
Wrist Stretching & Extensions
Sit in an upright position on a chair. Keep your arms comfortably at your side, and lift your wrists one to two inches above your thighs. Turn your wrists three times in a clockwise motion, then turn three times in a counterclockwise motion. Stretch your wrist upward towards your forearm, then down towards the floor. Hold each of these stretches for five seconds.
For an added challenge, hold a light dumbbell in your hand as you do the stretches.
- Becky McDowell