DAYP 11: 7 Longevity Training Steps For Aging Athletes

This week’s content looks at 7 fundamental ways to bulletproof your body as you get older so you can continue performing the activities you love.

Putting the energy in backwards, makes you more potent to go forward without breaking down.”

– Ben Patrick

This was an awesome straight forward podcast with Ben Patrick (The Knees Over Toes Guy) and Derek Williams, a 40+ year old athletic specimen who has done more forward and backward sled pushes than anyone alive. Sled pushes and pulls which they attribute to fixing their knee issues and other aches and pains. They discuss 7 steps to strengthen and protect your body as you age.

Below are the 7 steps.

Step #1: Start with your toes and your feet

  • Pushing with your toes starts with your feet. Pulling and pushing the sled is great for this.
  • Most leg exercises don’t utilize your feet and toes enough. This includes all the popular ones like deadlifts, squats, leg extensions and hamstring curls.

Step #2: Apply pain free pressure from the ground up

  • We commonly apply pressure from off the ground (think squats). 
  • The sled push/pull applies pressure from the ground, strengthening the joints and ligaments from our toes, foot, calves and upward.

Step #3: Try to move as much backwards as you do forward

  • “100 steps backwards is worth 1000 steps forward”
  • Louie Simmons wondered why Finish powerlifters did so well in competitions. He attributed their strong backs and knees due to the forestry work they did in Finland pulling trees backwards and promoted this knowledge to popularize the sled pulls.
  • Derrick credits his high jumps and ability to dunk with focusing on backward movement training

Step #4: Regress to restore full range in motion

  • Practice full range of motion in leg and upper body exercises, even if it is with less weights. 
  • When you stop bending a joint all the way, your body doesn’t think it’s using it and it eventually weakens.
  • This applies to upper body exercises like the military press as well.

Step #5: Strengthen through length

  • Split squats and Romanian deadlifts are great for this. You use the weight to stretch as well as strengthen.
  • Ben never does static stretches. He always applies weights. This has made him very flexible and strong throughout the full range of the stretch.

Step #6: Leave no weak links

  • Don’t ignore the smaller lesser thought of muscles like the tibialis (muscle that lifts your foot up & down). Most people don’t think of using the tibialis machine to strengthen their legs thus creating a weak link.
  • Other common weak links are the feet, ankles and lower back. Often pain and injuries occur in these places causing people to stop training when they should be doing the opposite.

Tool #7: Finish with your hands and fingers and grip

  • Grip and hand strength have been correlated to longevity and overall health of the body.
  • Use crushing grippers and finger expanders to work your hands and grip out.

References, sources and more:

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"Healthspan is the period of life spent in good health, free from the chronic diseases and disabilities of aging."

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