Feb08The Importance of Training For Longevity

Walk into most gyms today, and besides the social distancing taking place, what else do you see? Plenty of people chasing short-term goals, pushing heavy weight, or training with high intensity.

While training with great effort is necessary, one has to ask; what am I training for? How long do I want to be doing this? If you want your progress to stick, this has to be a life long process. You might get away with heavy lifts and risky moves in your 20’s, but as you age you have to take things more seriously. Focus on training for longevity with these vital tips.

Train for reps.

Lifting heavy weight is fine and dandy, but as you get older that takes a toll on your body. Constantly pursuing 1 rep maxes put you in a dangerous position, putting you at closer risk of injury.

Instead, focus on training in moderate – and even higher – rep ranges for strength and growth. You will still get stronger with 8-10 reps, and you will still grow muscle. Most importantly, you’re less likely to injure yourself and will save your joints in the long run.

Make no mistake: lifting heavy things is good for you, but try to make the heavy thing something you can lift multiple times. Stop testing your maxes, stop grinding yourself into the ground.

Train a variety of movements.

Many a gym goer trains the same movements every time they workout. Maybe those movements are staples, like a squat, push, and pull; but doing the same 3-4 exercises over years will limit your results and could even open up the door to injury.

The important thing is to hit the main movement patterns:

  • knee dominant (like a goblet squat)
  • hip dominant (kettlebell swing)
  • single leg variation of knee/hip dominant (lunge/single leg DL)
  • upper horizontal/vertical pull (row/pull-up)
  • upper horizontal/vertical push (push-up/overhead press)
  • carry (farmer carries)
  • core movement (planks, chops)

Of course, there’s more to fitness than those movements. Make sure you get different types of core movements, different variations of pulls/pushes/lunges etc. Doing just squats and push-ups is much better than doing nothing, but having a varied fitness routine with yield much better results and keep you injury free.

This might seem like a lot of work, so it might be helpful to have someone program all that work for you. At H4, we have plenty of variety in our workouts, but still make sure to practice the main movement patterns – i.e., “functional” exercises.

Make exercise harder without increasing weight.

The most straightforward way to make an exercise harder is to increase the weight you are using (assuming it’s a weighted exercise). This is fine, but there are plenty of ways to increase difficulty without upping the load; this can lessen the stress on the body, and the variety of movement can keep you injury free and can keep exercise fun.

Some different ways to increase difficulty:

  • increase reps (another obvious one)
  • pause reps
  • pulse reps
  • isometric movements (example: plank)

The options above are just a few ways you can make exercise more challenging. Clients at H4 get plenty of this variety as well (another shameless mention of what we do). They always get a kickass workout, without sacrificing their joints/tissues.