Archive for the ‘Training & Exercise’ Category

Exercise for Seniors

Thursday, July 17th, 2008

Tough Old Bird

Exercise Program for Older Adults

Source: One of the MANY e-mails my mom sends me.

  1. Begin by standing on a comfortable surface where you have plenty of room at each side.
  2. With a 5-lb. potato sack in each hand, extend your arms straight out from your sides, and hold them there as long as you can. Try to reach a full minute, and then relax.
  3. Each day you’ll find that you can hold this position for just a bit longer.
  4. After a couple weeks, move up to 10-lb. potato sacks.
  5. Then try 50-lb. potato sacks. Then eventually try to get to where you can lift a 100-lb. potato sack in each hand, and hold your arms straight for more than a full minute. (I’m at this level.)
  6. Once you feel confident at that level, put a potato in each sack.

No matter what age you are, being sedentary can be hazardous to your health! From the moment we are born, humans were meant to move. While starting an exercise program is always best done when you are younger, it doesn’t mean if you are currently reading this at age 40 + and never really exercised a day in your life, you should just give up.

Did you know that more adults fear losing their independent than death?

Now is the best time to start any type of exercise plan.

I believe that the human body is the only machine on the face of the earth that wears out and breaks down from not using it enough.” - Tom Venuto

The past surgeon general estimated that ~85% of our most dreaded diseases could be prevented with appropriate exercise. You’ll exercise later? No problem. Join the ranks of thousands each year that have major issues due to inactivity. Now hear this…

I’m not asking you to be the next Mr. or Ms. Olympia but I am asking you to start moving.

Being Sedentary Can Be Hazardous To Your Health

  • 300,000 deaths per year are related to poor diets and inactivity
  • 60% of U.S. adults don’t engage in a minimum amount of physical activity
  • 40% of U.S. adults are not active at all

The list goes on but I think you get the point.

Age is No Excuse for Inactivity

If you’ve not heard, adults in their 70’s and 80’s can achieve a level of fitness associated with people 30 years younger. To put that into some type of perspective, an active 65 year old could be as fit as a sedentary 30 year old. Moreover…

You get fragile as you age? That’s a myth my older friends. Wolf’s Law, named for the German pathologist states:

“The robustness of a bone is in direct proportion to the physical forces applied to that bone.”

In short, if you remain active your bones will remain strong. Weight bearing exercises help to strength bones. You older guys and gals should be participating in weight exercises if you aren’t already.

Adults who lead a sedentary existence increase the risk of fracturing bones in accidents around the home or becoming unable to perform regular routine tasks around the home.

FACT: Unfit people will experience a decline in physical performance of roughly 2% per year while fit people will only decline by around 0.5% per year.

I’m no math expert but I can tell you that take that by 30 years and you’ve got a HUGE difference on your hands. Need more proof? Check out Art De Vany.

“At 70, I am fit and lean and strong at 6?1? and 200 pounds. I am never sick and can do anything I want to do”. - Authur De Vany

Training Considerations

  1. Get some medical clearance first before you bum rush the gym and start doing the latest 3 hour routine you just found in that muscle mag
  2. Have a program designed for your specific issues (ROM, join pain, existing injuries, flexibility, fatigue, medical considerations)
  3. Start off slowly (just like a beginner at any age) until you get a good level of base strength

It can be a little more complex than the above but most professional fitness trainers in conjunction with your doctor can design a program based on your current abilities, medical constraints and pre-existing injuries if any.

However, this isn’t an excuse. I’ve personally witness a 74 year old come into my gym and do pull-ups, 3 times a week with a 45 lb weight. For reps! I’m also in contact with a 65 year old Harley Davidson motorcycle rider who did 405 lb squats last year and aims to beat his record this year… AFTER … having knee surgery.

If you want more proof age is no excuse, check out Fit Over 40 by Jon Benson. His beautiful book is an not only an inspiration to what you can accomplish at any age but it’s a true testimonial that you can build muscle and burn fat no matter what your age.

I often get asked if there’s a real different in training between somebody who’s younger (30) and somebody who’s older (50+). A few of my fitness colleagues believe there’s different routines for older people.

HOGWASH!

Jim Flanagan said it best when being interviewed by Dr. Darden.

“Today, I train just as hard, but not as frequent. I allow for more recovery…”

That’s the real difference. RECOVERY. In fact, you might argue that if you are older, you have to train harder in order to keep those gains coming.

Don’t let age be a factor in anything you do. And don’t get suckered into training programs for older people.

Scott “Old Navy” Hults didn’t even start bodybuilding until age 59 if I recall. He’s won several big name competitions in the Master Pro Bodybuilder category. He trains just as hard as any younger guy. Maybe harder. Most of his training partners are guys who are half his age. He doesn’t do any special exercises for seniors. He started off slow just like any beginner would and he increased his level of fitness. Now he can train at an advanced level.

In short for those who hate to read, Scott didn’t do some special old man exercises or buy into a program for seniors because he was over 40.

While there are considerations for older adults based on their current fitness levels and medical considerations not present in younger people, it’s still the same principles.

We all should know by now that life is a never ending series of choices. While it’s true that advanced in technology have lead to the decline of many diseases, it’s hard to argue that a change to ones lifestyle and environment have the GREATEST impact. Even the smallest changes can result in significant and life altering benefits.

Go out and get some exercise…. please.

Additional Resources:

Top 10 Fitness Trends

BodybuildingSenior

Authur De Vany

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Different Pushup Exercises

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

There’s so many different pushup exercises that when I went looking I found this video showing some pushup variations. Below you’ll find a very simple and easy to follow pushup workout to increase your pushups so you will be able to do 100 in a row.

I tried to do 100 pushups in a row and only did 60 non-stop. After all the training programs I’ve done, I figured that I’d easily get to 100. Boy was I wrong! Anyhow…

I Did The HundredIt took me a few seconds in Google to find a very nice site called One Hundred Pushups that has a serious but simple progressive workout plan. My last test, I was able to do 87 in a row. Frankly…

There’s more benefits to the standard pushup that most would think.

  • Release of growth hormone with higher repetition sets
  • Holding the proper pushup position actives the core and strengths your abdominals
  • Trains 3 muscle groups in a single motion (chest, tricep and deltoids)

Even with all the dumbbell and barbell and machine exercises I do on a regular basis for chest, when I started doing just standard pushups independent of my training and not just as a supplemental to my training, I noticed something fantastic. My chest…

STARTED TO GROW!

In fact, so much the results were significant enough for several people to comment. And the ONLY change I made was just adding standard pushup workouts on Monday, Wednesday and Friday following the outlined progressive pushup program.

This body weight exercise added inches to my chest that years of direct chest work never did. You can bet I’ll be adding this into my regular workouts for a growth explosion and strength increase that using weights just can’t duplicate.

By the way, I participated in an Underground Chest Training seminar where I gave my very best tips on building a great chest. There were 5 other experts who chimed in on the action. Pushups, v-bar dips, chin placement and many other top notch chest exercises and techniques were covered.

It’s about that time again to see if I can best my previous record of 87 pushups in a row.

How Many Pushups Can You Do?

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Rotator Cuff Exercises

Monday, May 5th, 2008

One of my best friends complained for over 2 years about his shoulder injury from a snowboarding mishap.rotator cuff injury

Another friend ended up in surgery with a torn rotator cuff after falling on a railing doing some crazy trick.

The latest story from another individual was a popped shoulder and yet another rotator cuff injury where the actual shoulder bone was sticking out!

Don’t even ask me how many men over 35 I’ve talked to at the gym who’s #1 complaint is…

MY SHOULDER HURTS!

Guess what? It’s pretty common to have some type of shoulder injury as you get older and while it’s bothersome to plain out a life ruining experience, surgery isn’t always the answer and there’s things you can do to alleviate some of the pain.

A rotator cuff injury can affect any age group. Younger people usually experience this pain beginning with some type of traumatic event or injury. Older people defined as “Over 40″ start to feel some pain in shoulders with typical wear and tear.

What is a Rotator Cuff? It’s the set of muscles that attach to the shoulder blade and tendons that ends on the shoulder, together know as the rotator cuff.

It is estimated that more than 3 million people seek advice and care from a physician for rotator cuff problems.

What is a Rotator Cuff Tear in the Shoulder: Potential Signs and Symptoms

  • pain when lifting the arm away from the body
  • pain sometimes accompanied by weakness
  • difficulty in sleeping on the injured side
  • basic overhead repetitive activities cause pain

There’s a lot of talk about prevention of a rotator cuff injury. Maybe you should engage in rotator cuff strengthening exercises? However, the real truth is that most orthopedic surgeons agree that the research isn’t clear on whether strengthening the rotator cuff itself tends to prevent injury.

The best tool is awareness.

Advice for a Possible rotator cuff injury:

  • changing the technique and reducing the activity that aggravates the issues is important
  • seek medical advice if the problem does not go away with rest and anti-inflammatory medication

Only 1 person out of the 3 stories I told you about in the beginning sought medical advice. That’s 33% of the individuals who had shoulder pain that was persistent actually asked for professional advice. The rest, let it heal, the pain persisted for months and over a year and never did fix itself. In fact, the tear probably got worse and while they could have used rotator cuff exercises at home, they did nothing but wait and the tear got too large to just let go.

Seek medical advice! The sooner you get it diagnosed, the quicker you can get on the road to recovery.

In reality, people with shoulder pain should get some type of medical evaluation by a specialist. The signs of a good examination will be one that evaluates not only the rotator cuff but the possibility of nearby bone spurs. The best diagnose comes from an X-Ray and an MRI.

Did you know that a bone spur around the shoulder area can place a person at a higher risk for a tear?

Not every rotator cuff injury means surgery. Even though tendons don’t repair themselves, it’s possible with physical therapy and cortisone injections to reduce the pain significantly. There’s even some rotator cuff exercises you can do at home to help with the pain.

If the pain is significant and does not go away, rotator cuff surgery might be the only option. Treatment options have gone through a significant evolution over the last 5 to 7 years.

A decade ago, any rotator cuff surgery usually meant an open incision. Today, many rotator cuff injuries can be done arthroscopically. This lesser invasive approach allows for a few tiny incisions to be made. As a result, this type of surgery gives the patient reduced healing time, rotator cuff rehabilitation is faster and pain control is better.

In some cases where a bone spur is the problem, it’s possible to treat it with a laser technique.

All of these rotator cuff surgery options can be performed on an out-patient basis. Many times with the patient awake. It’s a significant change from only a few years ago.

The absolute best prevention of a rotator cuff injury is awareness.

If you suspect something, changing your activities or the motion is one way to avoided the potential for a more serious shoulder problem. You can use some rotator cuff exercises to help strengthen the area and do some physcial therapy options at home to reduce the pain. If the pain doesn’t go away, seek medical advice. Many times, surgery can be avoided. If not, the sooner you get the area diagnosed by a specialist, the smaller the tear may be and less invasive prcedures can be used. This speeds up healing time, rehabilitation and allows for better pain control.

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Photo of a the rotator cuff surgery by r.rosenberger. Used under a Creative Commons license.

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Sports Injuries - What to Do If You are Injuried

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

Weight training, weight lifting and bodybuilding all come with the greatest prize of them all. The chance of an extended life and a better quality of living. On the other, for those who are sloppy, don’t bother to learn anything about weight lifting or embark on a short-term quest to do a 300 workout without the slightest idea of their physical abilities, the same sport that offer the gift of better health, can give you a lifelong injury.

Let me tell you a few things you can do if you are injured.

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How to Get Six Pack Abs

Friday, January 18th, 2008

I keep seeing ads and promotions about How to Get a Six Pack. And thru all the hype,How to Get Six Pack Abs nobody ever points out some simple facts that really connect the dots.

Here’s some simple statistics about the abdominals (the elusive 6-pack) you just don’t read a lot about. Put 2+2 together, and you’ll see what I mean in a second…

FACT: 19.7% average guys’ body fat

FACT: 60% of men and women want toned abs more than any other body part

FACT: 10% is the average body fat percentage needed for cover model abs

FACT: 5-6% is about the average Men’s Health and Fitness models body fat

My strong hunch is that you’ve just put 2+2 together and figured out that…

Hello? McFly! (Back to the Future Reference in case your too young to remember that classic - shows my age doesn’t it!)

Your nutrition is the key to the six pack. And the simple reason why is that no matter how strong your abs are, or how big and sweet they might be, if you can’t see them, you won’t have that six pack. You don’t lose belly fat by doing crunches for hours or rubbing some *new* transdermal cream on the area.

My friend and colleague Mike Geary came up with this unique training system that’s simple and cuts thru the crap . I have to say that it’s brilliant what he’s come up with. See for yourself below…

The Truth About Six Pack Abs

To make matter worse…

Getting to 10% body fat requires some work for the average guy.

Getting to 5-6% requires some serious nutritional strategies. So it adds up to this…

Focus on your nutrition and other fat burning tactics if you want six pack abs and train them 2-3 times a week, not to failure, like any other muscle group.

Simple, right? Common sense!

You absolutely MUST HAVE a nutrition-plan you can live with for life.

And that’s what this is.

Mike even has his “5 Things You MUST Understand if You Are Ever Going to Lose Your Belly Fat & Get Six Pack Abs” list that is pretty spot on…

The Truth About Six Pack Abs

is pretty much everything you need to know about six pack abdominal exercises, flat ab workouts or how to lose belly fat.

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Building Biceps

Tuesday, October 9th, 2007

Building Biceps in 3 Easy Steps:

Jeff+Anderson" rel="tag">Jeff Anderson, known as “The Muscle Nerd” created a neat video on the concepts of 3 things you can do for bigger biceps in the gym. Having tried these techniques myself for a few years, I can vouch that they do indeed work. Maybe you are doing these? If so, great! If not, then listen up for the next 5 minutes because what you will learn could mean the difference in several inches.

For the record… Jeff knows he misspelled the word “squeeze.” :-)

See this site if you are interested in Optimum+Anabolics" rel="tag">Optimum Anabolics by Jeff Anderson Optimum Anabolics program.

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Supersets: Get More Work Done In Less Time

Sunday, September 16th, 2007

What if there was a safe and natural way to build more muscle in less time? Considering the spread of information today, most people including bodybuilders have turned off their radar to any more hype and become skeptical. The more advanced ones are already doing this and it’s not news to them or maybe they know about it but aren’t utilizing supersets to their full potential. But considering my e-mail inbox is full of questions about “my routine this and I have little time for working out,” it seems obvious that some of you.

Are quite possibly skipping out of the best opportunity to do more work in less time with supersets .

What is this method of building more muscle in less time? It’s called Supersetting and Craig Ballantyne of Turbulence Training does a cool job of explaining it even if he’s only using the 10 pound dumbbells. :-)

Tom Venuto said, “There are three primary categories of supersets: 1) same muscle group, 2) agonist-antagonist, and 3) staggered sets.”

In Craig Ballantyne’s video above, he’s demonstrating a stagged superset. It’s not really the same muscle group or an opposing. He’s just doing one of three types. Supersets are a method I’ve used for several years for some significant muscle gains.

For those of you interested in the full superset article now that you get the concept, here’s a resource on supersets along with many examples.

How to Build More Muscle in Less Time with Supersets

Supersets are something I tell my clients to do all the time. They work, they build muscle and you chat less and work harder. If it’s muscle gains you are after, this is an incredible concept that will raise the intensity levels of your workouts but keep them shorter in time and ultimately more work is done.

Thanks Craig for putting together a quick video to explain the concepts of weightlifting supersets.

In case you didn’t know…

Craig Ballantyne is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and writes for Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, Maximum Fitness, Muscle and Fitness Hers, and Oxygen magazines. His trademarked Turbulence Training fat loss workouts have been featured multiple times in Men’s Fitness and Maximum Fitness magazines, and have helped thousands of men and women around the world lose fat, gain muscle, and get lean in less than 45 minutes three times per week. For more information on the Turbulence Training superset workouts that will help you burn fat without long, slow cardio sessions or fancy equipment, visit www.TurbulenceTraining.com

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Lower Abdominal Exercises - Ivan is a Glutton for Punishment

Saturday, September 8th, 2007

Ivan Nikolov is one Bulgarian bodybuilder who’s a glutton for punishment. In fact, this lower abdominal exercise really should just be labeled as a core exercise that will give you six pack abs within no time. While we all know, or should know that abs are about a low percentage of body fat and having that nutritional program in place, there’s still something to be said for doing specific exercises. The argument could be made (and I believe) that there’s no lower or upper abs, it’s all the core and every exercise works the whole muscle area.

Fine… but this one is still going to make it FEEL like it’s a lower abdominal exercise.

Ivan told me, “Today I asked my friend at the gym to film me doing my favorite abs exercise.”

You cannot have a weak core or abdominals if you are able to do this exercise.

I’ll be honest, I haven’t tried and I’m not sure I’d be able to do this without the weight!

Take a look, it’s cool to watch. I wonder if Ivan was sore the next day?

Just hit the Play button arrow and let it buffer for a second. It will play.

If you want to learn more about Ivan Nikolov or his Fitness Nutrition Advisor (FitNA) program, you can check out his site. He’s got a fantastic newsletter and a very good website just slammed full of informative fat loss, muscle building and other lower abdominal exercises you can learn about.

Check Out Ivan’s Fitness Nutrition Advisor

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Pushing Yourself to the Edge: Symptoms of Overtraining

Wednesday, September 5th, 2007

Have you ever visited a message board or been told by a trainer the following?Physical and Psychological Signs of Overtraining

* If you train a muscle group more than once a week, you are overtraining.

* If you train more than 5 days a week, you are overtraining.

* If you workout more than once a day, you are overtraining.

Folks, while overtraining is a real concept, it’s not as simple as slapping down some magic number. It does require that you evaluate each situation and the signs and symptoms below in order to effectively evaluate a potential overtraining situation.

The next time somebody tells you are overtraining without getting all the facts based on situation, blow them off.

Myth: Overtraining is defined is a set number of days a person workouts. Training 5 days in a row or more is too much and that is overtraining.

Fact: Overtraining is different for everybody based on several factors. It’s not as simple as “if you train 6 days a week, you are overtraining.” That is incorrect. A person can suffer from symptoms with fewer days and somebody else can suffer no symptoms and make fantastic gains with 7 days a week. It cannot be defined by slapping down a number for every single person in every single case.

Here’s some signs and symptoms to be aware of in regards to overtraining and overreaching. They are grouped into physical and psychological categories.

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Free Workout Routines

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007

If your workouts are a bit stale, you can spice them up with some free workout routines courtesy of Global Health and Fitness.

Just today somebody e-mail me and was begging for my help. free workout routines and exercise demonstrations

“I’m BORED! Same old damn routine I’ve been doing for months. Progress? What progress. I just don’t know what to do. I need a new workout routine. Can you please suggest something for me? Anything that’s new will do.”

You’ve studied the masters. You have the desire to succeed. You were born with the talent. So what can be holding you back from making the biggest gains in the gym?

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