Anti-Gravity

Anti-Gravity

Getting down and up is empowering – literally – because you use the most powerful muscles in your body. Being able to move your entire bodyweight against the force of gravity is critical to thriving and surviving.

In this video you see a group of fit CBF exercisers, in their 50′s, 60′s and 70′s, repeatedly navigate an obstacle course to develop anti-gravity skills, along with shoulder strength, core strength, coordination and cardio-endurance.

The Younger Games is different from most other exercise programs designed for older adults.  We design them to be more demanding, varied and total body focused.

Skills demonstrated in this video come in handy in everyday life, whether to play with kids, hike a trail, or escape a fire. It’s fitness with a purpose.

 

 

 

 

 

Trained to Play

Trained to Play 

Hard core CBF exercisers crave motion like bears do honey. There’s nothing better than a game to put a body in motion, especially when mixed with some friendly competition and teamwork.

Here are some of the high level physical skills they display, though that’s the last thing of their minds because they are just having fun:

  • Spatial awareness while moving quickly in different directions.
  • Lower leg power enabling jumps and leaps.
  • Hand-eye coordination.
  • Dynamic balance.
  • Force generation from strong shoulders and cores.
  • Fast reactions.

Note they played the game right after completing a challenging circuit workout. It’s in the circuit exercises, week after week, where the body is conditioned to perform these skills without muscle pulls and sprains - in a game like this that requires reaching, jumping, twisting and sudden, force-generating movements.

They have trained hard to play in a game in the gym, and better yet, in the big game of life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gray Power

Gray Power

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Here’s what gray power looks like.power

This CBF exerciser performing high-speed palm thrusts in the Younger Games. She is smashing a heavy bag, right along with stereotypes of older adults and the types and intensity of exercises they can and should do.

She’s not training to fight (although she’ll be better prepared should the need arise). More important, she’s training to stay healthy and function at a high level in her everyday life, right now and for years to come.

When somebody asks you why should an older person strike a heavy bag like a boxer, here’s your answer:

Power - The ability to generate force is necessary to do everything from opening a stuck screen door to warding off an over energetic grandkid or drunk in a bar. Exercise routines that don’t include speed and force, noticeably absent from “senior” exercise programs are incomplete to develop physical skills for real life.

Growth hormones - To generate the speed (look at the blur of her right hand), she’s using a type of muscle fiber and energy system that is totally idle in the standard globo gym aerobic dance routines and yoga boutique. This energy system can only be tapped for about a minute (she hit the bag for 40 seconds) because it leaves you breathless, but releases natural anabolic hormones that have numerous health benefits.

Cardio-respiratory fitness – The biggest discovery in exercise science in recent years is that short bouts of higher intensity exercise improve heart-lung function better than jogging on treadmills or other non-demanding classic cardio exercises typically recommended for older exercisers. Short, varied and intense is better for heart health than long, repetitious and un-challenging..

Joint stability and mobility – Muscles, tendons and ligaments in the feet, knees, shoulders and wrists are suddenly stressed, making them stronger, more resilient and elastic. As power is transferred upwards, the hips and torso provide a stable platform for the shoulder and arm to deliver force into the bag. Without that torso stability, you are like a rag doll and prone to injury because you cannot maintain balance when you have to push or pull.

Neuromotor coordination - Look at the toes of the left foot. The force originated there and is transmitted up the left leg and transferred into rotating hips then across to the right side of the  body. This sequenced, contralateral movement from left to right and right to left is the root of crawling, walking and running, abilities you need all your life.

Loaded range of motion – Much more crucial than simply being flexible to be useful in the real world is to be able move multiple-directions – upwards, downwards, sideways – against resistance. In this case, she’s rotating against the heavy bag. Outside the gym, you might be hefting a bag of dog food or shoveling snow or lifting your body out of bed.

Now you know. Do it.

 

 

The Turkish What?

The Turkish What?

One exercise we practice again and again in the Younger Games is the Turkish Get-Up (TGU). It’s such a special exercise that if you were going to get stranded on a desert island and could only take three exercises with you, it would be one of them because it’s not just one exercise.

As the ACE’s Pete McCall, MS, explains in this detailed article on the TGU, “The most significant benefit of the TGU is that it is not just one single movement pattern; rather, it is an almost perfect combination of sequencing stability and mobility throughout all segments of the body.”

TGU

Although the video with the article shows a bulked-up male gym rat demonstrating the TGU, it can and should be used by almost any person, assuming no major skeletal problems. In fact, when properly done, the TGU can improve problems in the rotator cuff, hips, and low back.

Very few sequenced exercises can rival the TGU for improving and preserving strength, coordination, balance, and endurance. It’s one of the great classics like yoga’s Salute to the Sun.

You don’t just up and do the TGU. You train for it, step by step. Often in the Younger Games, we include a TGU movement as a circuit station. At first, you don’t use any weight at all other than your body. Over the weeks you develop the strength and confidence to complete the full sequence and finally add an additional challenge with a light weight (Burly Russian strong men do it with 100 lb kettlebells, but who wants to be a burly Russian?) to keep it safe and effective.

The TGU is down-and-dirty primal. You have to work directly against the forces of gravity – while bending, turning, and lifting through space – as you transition from being on your back to standing up. It’s functional exercise at its most basic.

Once learned, your ability to complete a TGU on both sides of your body will be a reliable indicator at any age of your overall fitness for life outside the gym, out there in the real world.