Behold the latest bit of nonsense I came across the other day.
It was all about how your workout should change after you turn 40.
Reading most “mainstream articles” on the subject of fitness is usually a painful experience for me.
This one was not an exception.
First up, we have this statement:
“Train your muscles the way you actually use them—and build what’s called functional strength. For example, in real life you use your quads in coordination with your hamstrings, butt and core to pick up kids, climb stairs, and load Ikea furniture in the car. So skip the leg press and do squats and lunges instead.”
Labeling an exercise “functional” ignores the fact that functionality is not determined by a small number of inputs, such as the use of a specific exercise, but by output.
And by output, I’m talking about a positive change in whatever physical quality – strength in this case – that you’re trying to improve.
The term “functional strength” is a redundant one.
That’s because strength in and of itself is functional.
If you can’t climb the stairs, pick up your kids or load Ikea furniture into your car, then you have a problem.
It’s a problem that’s quite easily solved by getting stronger.
And there’s no good reason why the leg press can’t form part of a program designed to make you stronger.
Having turned 40, we are also advised of the immediate threat posed to our ability to remain upright.
“We often don’t realize our balance is going until we’re toppling over. Part of the problem is that with age, the neuromuscular connections that help keep us upright slowly decline.”
“Take up tai chi, Pilates, or yoga, all of which can improve stability; or adding balance moves (like side leg raises and toe raises) to your usual workout.”
And if that sounds like too much, you can simply work balance into your regular routine by “standing on one leg like a stork while you brush your teeth.”
I find it difficult to believe that such steps are necessary simply because one happens to have travelled around the sun 40 times.
Are you able to deadlift a barbell off the floor?
Can you stand up and press a barbell over your head?
Are you able to do so without falling over?
If so, chances are that balance is not a problem, and you can skip the stork impersonations.
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If you're fed up spending hours in the gym with nothing to show for it, then check out The Muscle Building Cheat Sheet.
It's a "cut the waffle and just tell me what to do” PDF that tells you exactly how to go about building muscle. To download a copy, please click or tap here.
ABOUT CHRISTIAN FINNChristian Finn holds a master's degree with distinction in exercise science, is a former personal trainer and has been featured on BBC TV and radio, as well as in Men's Health, Men's Fitness, Fit Pro, Zest, and Perfect Body magazine.