Top 3 Strength Exercises to Keep You Healthy for Work and Play

If you’re interested in making significant changes to your health and fitness, there’s no better time to start than now. There are many resources out online to help you, now more than ever. As a sports physical therapist, I wanted to help you cut through the noise and provide you some of my best tips to making 2020 your best year yet.

Look, injuries happen, but prevention is really all about keeping your risks low. One of the best ways to keep your injury risk low is to be the strongest you can be. Believe it or not, stretching has been found to have no effect in preventing injuries. So I wanted to share with you the top three strengthening exercises you can do throughout the year to keep you healthy for work and play.

[This post is contributed by Dr. Ryan Balmes, Sports Physiotherapist and Owner of ENDVR Health]

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Say it with me…squats are my friend. You’re welcome to yell it one time for the people in the back too. Exercise nerds like me love squats because the exercise involves many joint movements in the body— also known as a compound exercise. So when you’re working in many parts of the body in one exercise, I call that getting the most bang for your buck. And when you actually stop and think about it, you squat everyday… it’s called getting out of your chair.

My recommendation? Consider body weight squats every morning to wake up your body and lubricate all the joints. Stand tall with your arms out in front of you. Then squat down as far as you can while keeping balanced then stand right back up. If you’re looking to get even stronger, go heavy with the squats in the gym. Just please make sure you have proper form!

If you want to get a jump start on a new morning routine consider my 30 day squat challenge: Perform 20 bodyweight squats every morning for 30 days. 


Planks are hands down one of my favorite core exercises. And in case you’re wondering, the “core” consists of the following muscles: rectus abdominis, internal oblique, external oblique, and transverse abdominis. You now can go kill it in trivia nights—you’re welcome 😉

And not only do planks exercise your core, planks require help from your arms and legs, too, so planks get another gold star from me for being an exercise with the most bang for the buck.

I’d recommend you perform 30s holds for the plank and side plank for each side. Add these in at the end of any workout as a “burnout” set of exercises to challenge your body when it’s already tired.

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Upper Back

If you’re like most of my clients, you likely have a desk job. Sitting at a desk for hours could really change your posture to make you look like a sloth, so any exercises that address your back muscles can really help. 

Don’t forget, too, that gravity is always our enemy. Getting our back muscles as strong as they can be can help us sit and stand confidently with upright posture.

I’d recommend you perform a high amount of reps to build the endurance needed in your back muscles to keep you upright all day. This means you’re doing sets of 12-15 repetitions.

Your New Foundation

Add these 3 exercises as your foundation for your new year and beyond. Remember that building a strong body can help lower your risk of injury. Be on the lookout for more helpful articles here on The Fit Atlanta, where I’ll share an article every month this year.

Follow Dr. Ryan Balmes, Sports Physiotherapist on Instagram

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