Strengthens: the back of your arms, your shoulders, your chest and your abs
Most people run for the hills when they hear the word "push-up," but with a little modification, there's no need to fear this titan of arm exercises. "Push-up is the jackpot exercise when it comes to upper body — it works your shoulders, chest and arms," says Freytag, who regularly trains women in their 50s and 60s. Of the options below, whichever position feels the most comfortable for you is the right one to start with.
Beginners can start by doing wall push-ups: Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and your arms extended straight out from your shoulder, palms flat on the wall. Bend your arms in a push-up motion, keeping your body in a straight line, and extend your arms back to straight.
Then move to table-top push-ups: Grip the edge of a table, extend your arms straight and position your feet far enough away from the table so your back and legs form a straight line, and do a push-up that way.
Feel confident? Move on to kneeling push-ups: Position yourself on the floor with your palms below your shoulders, your knees down, and your back and thighs in a straight line, and do a push-up that way.
When you're ready, proceed to full push-ups, with your knees lifted.
The most important thing to remember when doing any type of push-up is to maintain a straight line from your head to your toes (or knees, if down), says Sullivan. "Sometimes people are so focused on their shoulders, they ignore their back and let their pelvis sag," he says. If you hold your body in a line, you get the most strength-building benefits, plus you protect yourself from a potential back injury.