The other day, one of our members asked how we would train someone in the 50-80 range, versus someone a little bit younger.
It’s a great question, and one I’d love to dive into here today!
Develop Flexibility and Mobility
If you believe in a basic movement hierarchy or pyramid as we do here at IFAST, there’s a certain “sequence” you need to follow to get someone lean, strong and athletic.
Unfortunately, while flexibility and mobility may not look all that sexy, they are absolutely critical for giving someone a good movement foundation.
With our older clients, maintaining or improving flexibility and mobility are critical. Just hopping on the foam roller, or performing mobility drills foucinsg on key joints such as the ankles, hips and shoulders can improve quality of life tremendously.
Furthermore, working on flexibility and mobility gives us the foundation to do more cool stuff as well.
Some may think it’s counter intuitive – why would I want to get stronger when I get older?
Let’s be honest – you may not be looking to set world records, but getting strong (or maintaining strength) should be a critical goal as you get older in life.
For me, personally, I like to think about quality of life. I feel like if I can maintain my strength for as long as possible, that’s going to allow me more freedom to do things that I want.
Play with grandkids.
Work around the house (I can hear my wife snicker as I type this).
And for me personally, lifting weights is fun.
So keeping yourself strong not only allows your more freedom and independence, but I feel it will help you enjoy life more.
The key here is to strength train using free weights, and performing movements that you would do outside of the gym. Mindlessly cranking away on a selectorized machine will do little other than build showy muscles that don’t transfer to real-world movements.
If you remember the Karate Kid, Mr. Miyagi used to make Daniel San do all kinds of random tasks around his house.
Wax the car. Paint the fence. Etc.
That’s a lot like what we try to do here at IFAST.
That trap bar deadlift? You use that pattern every time you pick something heavy up off the ground.
That farmers walk? Looks a lot like carrying a bag or two of groceries.
That pull-up? Well, you may not do that everyday – but it still looks and feels awesome!
While many feel robbed of their youth and athleticism as they age, strength training with fundamental movement patterns is a sure-fire way to stave off those feelings and make yourself feel years younger.
Last but not least, one of the first things to go as we age is power.
And while you may no desire to go throw a shotput or power clean a new personal best, power is still important for average everyday tasks.
The key to power training as we age is trying to find safe and effective methods that minimize stress on our joints.
Instead of doing jumps? Try a set of kettlebell swings.
For the lower body, try doing med ball throws.
The bottom line is, there are tons of ways to train power as we age. The key is finding exercises that are not only effective, but spare the joints as well.
One of our mottos here at IFAST is that everyone is an athlete.
Whether you’re 18 or 85, the physical qualities I listed above can help anyone move and feel like an athlete.
As we age, the key isn’t to do less – it’s to do more of the right things, albeit with less volume and (hopefully) being a little bit more sane and rational in our approach.
If you’re between the ages of 50 and 80 and want to see what IFAST can do for you, give us a call at 317.578.0998 or e-mail us at [email protected] to set-up an initial consultation. We’d love to discuss your goals, and see if we can help you achieve them!
All the best
Hi Mike. All of the benefits you outline are so critical to leading a healthy life as we get older. I am 63 and work constantly at improving my flexibility, mobility, agility, strength and power in the gym, the pool, on my bike and throughout all of life’s activities. The young guys in the gym think I am closer to their age than I am. It’s great to see their faces when they find out I am as old as their grandfathers! I am writing this to add that additional benefits include healthier heart, minimal dependence on drugs and good libido. I’m sure there are many more. I read your blog, watch your videos and use some of your programs like Bullet Proof Knees. Thank you for that. I hope more older people will take up your challenge. Peter
Peter – Thanks for the kind words! I’m really glad to hear about your success, and I’ll do my best to keep putting info like this out there.
Thanks again and keep up the good work!