Someone younger is bound to look at someone older and think, they don’t have a clue. Someone older is bound to look at someone younger and think, you don’t the half of it. The fact is that we all need support, young and old, but as you get older priorities change, your family takes up your time, your body doesn’t seem to respond the way it used to and you find a lot of things harder. But, this perception of yourself, the perception that the young have of you, is not real.
Someone younger is bound to look at someone older and think, they don’t have a clue. Someone older is bound to look at someone younger and think, you don’t the half of it. The fact is that we all need support, young and old, but as you get older priorities change, your family takes up your time, your body doesn’t seem to respond the way it used to and you find a lot of things harder. But, this perception of yourself, the perception that the young have of you, is not real. Your attitude matters and your health matters most of all.
If you’re the fattest, oldest, the least fit person in the gym, you’re an inspiration, and you have just as much right to be there as anyone else, more in fact, as it’s easier to get fit when you’re already fit. We’ve all seen the clips of the crazy 69-year-old grandparent types doing bodybuilding shows, pull-ups, and handstands and they only started 5 years ago.
The only difference between you and them is, they had a thought, they used their experience to be smart and made gains faster than any little twerp that was already strong. I can make any person with no previous injuries, or stress, strong easily. Taking someone that’s been through a lot and is starting from the ground up, well, that’s so much more worthwhile.
Find Your Flexibility
The first place to start is to find out how much flexibility you currently have. If you have not moved much for a number of years – or just never moved – you don’t need to start squatting and deadlifting for your first competition quite just yet. You might have to go to the back of the queue and start behind everyone else you see around you at the gym, and that’s slow, but it won’t be forever.
Take a look at these ultimate mobility sequences. You may not be able to do them at all. I couldn’t when I first tried them at the age of 24. But the more you work at it, the more magical things should start to happen.
Lunges – A Safe Starting Point for Building Strength
There is every likelihood that if you are just trying to move you may have balance or core issues so, squatting may not be for you, yet. The magic of the simple lunge is that it sorts things out for you as you go along.
You can start with the usual lunge forwards, step backward, alternating each side of your body. However, it’s nice to work up to clockwork lunges, demonstrated below, because they strengthen your hips, coming at them from all kinds of wonderful angles.
Working on planks and leg lifts have so many benefits for keeping you strong and coordinated. Yes, you may feel like you are horribly weak and are embarrassing yourself but, keep training because you are doing something that requires no machines or gimmicks and carries over to real strength and stability.
As for the upper body, in general, pulling is stupidly important. Most people end up with rounded shoulders from sitting at desks and just a general decline in their posture as they age. Opening up your chest and strengthening the rhomboids, those muscles that stretch from our scapula to the base of the neck on your back, is essential to correct posture and help you avoid neck pain. Having a TRX or a set of gymnastics rings is a great idea for training, you can’t do enough of these type of exercises. Try ring rows, like I show here.
The Daily Mobility Drill
Finally, at the end of the day, no matter where you are, you can always work on your mobility. Assessing your joints day by day and challenging them ever so slightly will have SUCH a big payoff in years to come! Plus if any of the younger ones are still tuned in, I am finding keeping my joints happier is far more beneficial than any strength program for actually building strength.
Not being in pain all the time means I can actually move more and practice better! You don’t have to get overly complicated with it, and you don’t have to go full yoga, just see how your body moves and what feels.
And if all else fails, dance. If you don’t want to learn to dance, walk up a mountain, race someone in the street. Don’t just sit there.