I’d like to preface that I am NOT 30….yet! So let me hold on to my last two years in the twenties but let’s face it, I’m close enough. There are a lot of things that men between 25 and 40 have in common in relation to health and fitness. Many of us have retired from the organized sports that we enjoyed in college and high school. Back then we didn’t have to put much thought into our fitness. We showed up to practice and did our thing. We also didn’t mind going to the gym as much. Why? Because we fucking looked good. I think I went to the gym for 3 years without ever wearing sleeves. We’d watch Pumping Iron and then do 60 minutes of bicep work followed by 60 minutes of tricep work. You know I’m gonna blast my calves if I have time.
Then things change. Our testosterone levels have already peaked. We are working our 9-5’s just to pay our school loans because we went to college just to get our 9-5’s. We are starting to miss the coaches that we use to hate. Why measure your the guns if the girlfriend is “happy with the way you look” and throws out all your “nasty” cut-offs. We are no longer called out on the field or court and working out just isn’t the same. NOOOO!
What a downer I am, right? Well, I’m here to help point you in the right direction to make you feel like the stallion out to stud that you use to be just a short time ago. Beyond what I mentioned above there are some changes that have taken place leaving you less athletic. Mainly your hormone and chemical profile has changed and that job has left you fairly inactive without the accountability of going to practice and the joy of training at a public gym. Those things add up to fat gain and lack of mobility.
We are smarter now so we should be working out smarter, not harder. Let me give you an important piece of advice. Maintaining movement results in strength. That means that if your goal and training protocol is centered around restoring and maintaining functional movement that our amazing bodies were meant to have you will remain strong and require much less direct strength training than you think to feel and move well.
Let me give a digestible definition for “maintaining movement”. Think of being a child on the playground. We run, climb, jump, roll, etc. Has a child ever come off the playground and said, “I need to take it easy my hamstring is tight”?
No, it has not. In fact the kids pissed off because they have to come in for dinner. Yup, along time ago you’d rather exercise than eat. Wrap your head around that. Children have yet to fuck up their mobility, stability and movement patterns and at that same rate they are developing functional strength to conquer whatever fun task is at hand. So far in their lives they have avoided a couple important things; sitting at a desk for long periods of time and unnecessary, dysfunctional strength training. Both of those things rob us of mobility and force us to develop unnecessary loading and movement patterns.
How do we right the wrongs? For one, stop focusing so much on isolated strength exercises unless your truly enjoy the sport of bodybuilding but even then I encourage you to supplement it with mobility programming. I know bench pressing mad weight is awesome but to be honest performing a spider push-up is more functional and will test your mobility, stability and core function getting you closer to feeling like a kid on the jungle gym. You don’t need to hang up the barbell both through some other shit in too.
Allow me to compile a list of objectives for your next trip to the gym:
- Include dynamic mobility exercises to your warm-up.
- Choose exercises that move your body through multiple planes. (moving backwards, side ways, pushing away, pulling up, rotating etc.)
- Choose exercises that place your body facing different directions. (hanging, inverted, supine, prone, etc)
- Change your points of contact with the ground. (quad -hands and knees, half kneeling position, hand stands, standing on one leg, etc)
- Add ballistic exercises like throwing. ( med ball slams, wall balls, rotational throws, keg toss)
- Center your program around global movements (barbell thruster, KB swings, burpees, etc)
At your age you still have the ability of restoring movement before wear and tear has set in and has permanently stolen range of motion throughout the body and your energy and enthusiasm is still high enough to really get after it in the gym. Now that you know more than your younger self there really isn’t a reason you can’t be as productive physically as you ever have been.
– Josh Gould ( Boston Personal Trainer )