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  • Al Painter, BA, NASM-CPT, CES, PES


I love lifting heavy things, always have. However, as I've gotten older lifting heavy things requires a lot more precision from the planning perspective in terms of how much and how often.

I still do Goblet Squats, swings, chest presses, single arm rows, etc. They just need a little more supplementation to ensure my body still works well after each workout. For me this means using more suspension training and exercise bands to fine tune my fitness over 40.

I've always been a fan of building fitness with exercise bands ever since I read my first Juan Carlos Santana book. My admiration for this kind of training went up even more when I discovered Dave "The Band Man" Schmitz's training methodology. For me, bands have become the fountain of youth and allowed me to move better.

If you want to train to gain core strength, mobility, stability, balance and torch body fat, bands are great. I find suspension training does all of that in addition to being incredibly joint friendly, as welll as offering a big bang for your buck in terms of improving hip stability and core strength.

The Right Tools For The Job

On top of eating well and everything mentioned in Fine Tuning Fitness After 40 Part I and Part II, you've also got to pick the right tools for the job when it comes to how you exercise. If your knees scream in agony when you squat, chances are box jumps aren't "optimal" for lower body work. A hip dominated hinge motion may be the way to go with your feet planted on terra firma. Some bridging on the floor might also be a good option.

Work with your body, and it will work with you. Work against it, and you won't be doing much for a while. If you train the right way you can keep exercises in your program that you prefer once you find the right variation or regression. The key to this is dialing in basic movement patterns to enhance compound movements that reflect the way we move in the real world.

This means use smart programming (I can easily help you solve this issue). If backs squats hurt, don't do them. Find the squat variation (or pullup variation, bench press variation, lunge variation, etc) that still connects your mind to your body so you can enjoy your time working out.

For me, this means barbell RDL's have been replaced with the trap bar, exercise bands hip hinge standing on a plyo box, a total body TRX/Jungle Gym XT total body hip hinge, Single leg squats, Bulgarian Split Squats and loaded hip thrusts with exercise bands to name a few. My body likes these variations a lot better and it improves my real world every day performance.

Again, paint on the canvas you are given in the gym, and your fitness levels are easier to improve. This includes learning the right way to stabilize your core, spine and hips.

"Think about keeping your core muscles tight to stabilize your spine as you’re engaging in activity," Says Dr Jamie Wong, DPT from Revolutions in Fitness. "No exercise, machine, or weight is inherently bad, however, improper body mechanics paired with too heavy of a load in weight training, or pushing through fatigue in cardiovascular training once your movement mechanics and posture has declined can increase risk for injury."

Dr Wong also recommends asking a trusted trainer or physical therapist to watch you move, put it on video, and then go over it together. This will give you a better understanding of what the movement should look like and your execution.

Fine Tuning Your 40+ Fitness: The Workout

Now that we've gone through all of the pagentry of the best ways to approach fitness after you celeberat the 11th anniversary of your 29th year, here is a sample workout that is pretty joint friendly, not too mention core and hip centered.

These moves assume there aren't any aches and pains associated with the movements. If there are, GET THEM CHECKED, MANAGED, AND ELIMINATED BEFORE you try this workout. That's a hint about where a thorough eval can help quite a bit.

The Warm Up

Please DO NOT use a treadmill, exercise bike, cardio machines to get warm. These methods provide a poor way to prepare your nervous system to do some work. Which is what the warm up achieves.

Dan John's "Get Back Up" Series will get both your nervous system system ready to move and break a non-impact sweat at the same time.

It is a seemingly benign set of movements, until you do them. I've plugged these into my group classes and they have done a great job preparing people to workout.

You can also do a great job getting ready using the Original Strength warm up series. If you select moves that take you up and down from the ground, you'll warm up quickly and be ready to go.

The Workout

I like doing each exercise for 30 seconds then resting 15-30 seconds depending on the goal of the workout. Click on the links below to see each exercise.

These are very fundamental exercises, but practiced enough, they can be the foundation of solid movement patterns that will allow you to move with variety, strength, power and control. If you live in the Palo Alto, Mountain View, Los Altos, Sunnyvale or Menlo Park areas, contact me and let's set up time to meet to create your ultimate strategy to fine tune your fitness.

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