Years ago, Vladimir Janda presented the distinction between the “tonic” muscles and the “phasic” muscles. The tonic muscles become tighter with age (pecs, biceps, hip flexors) and the “phasic” muscles become weaker with age (deltoids, triceps, abs, glutes).

 

About three years ago, I trained a client who was preparing for a bikini competition. Before that, I had been working with the over-50 population, so this was going to be a new challenge for me – or so I thought. For the next few months, she trained in a way that was almost identical to my clients who were over fifty, using the concepts Janda outlined in his work. She pressed weights overhead, swung kettlebells, and did lots and lots of hip thrusts. In the end, she ended up taking third in her first bikini competition.

 

If something worked so well for both a bikini competitor and baby boomers, then it will probably work for anybody. Taylor Lewis has recently made this concept popular by sharing his experiences working with professional baseball players and people with cystic fibrosis. These two populations would seem to be at opposite ends of the training spectrum, but they aren’t as different as we think. They need a lot of the same things.

 

This is why I’m a huge fan of the Rite of Passage Program (without the pull ups) mixed with kettlebell swings and hip thrusts. This type of program will help a bikini competitor look great on stage, and it will also help a baby boomer feel better and play with the grandchildren. 

 

Here’s an example of what a workout based on these principles might look like:

 

3-5 rounds:

  • 1A: Hip thrust (glutes): x10 (weighted or unweighted)
  • 1B: One-arm overhead press (deltoids and triceps): x2ea
  • 1C: Hip thrust (glutes): x15 (weighted or unweighted)
  • 1D: One-arm overhead press (deltoids and triceps): x3ea
  • 1E: Hip thrust (glutes): x25 (weighted or unweighted)
  • 1F: One-arm overhead press (deltoids and triceps): x5ea

 

5-10 rounds (on the minute):

  • 2A: Hard style KB swing (glutes): x 10
  • 2B: Ab wheel rollout (abs): x 5

 

1 round:

 

Remember, this is just an example. Insert whatever exercises you feel comfortable using that are most relevant for your goals. The key is to focus on strengthening the “phasics,” while stretching the “tonics.” Let me know how it goes!

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