Embarking on the journey to acquire a new skill in your later years might initially seem intimidating. However, let us approach this with a self-assured mindset. At Devanney Strength, there is a common adage that you may have encountered if you've visited us previously – "Aut viam aut faciam.!" This motto applies to all age groups.
Throughout your lifetime, you've achieved an array of skills, demonstrating your perseverance and tenacity. Now, we prepare to venture into one more endeavour - united.
You might wonder who once declared the renowned saying - "Do or do not. There is no try." These insightful words are shared by none other than Master Yoda. These words resonate profoundly as they underline the necessity of dedicating oneself fully to a task and pursuing it with determination, rather than simply attempting it once, encountering difficulty, and conceding defeat.
In this blog, we will go through the importance of proper form and techniques, a step-by-step guide on foundational movements, and how these can be adapted to make them scalable and manageable.
Achieving Excellence through Correct Techniques in Strength Training
It may seem self-evident, yet bears emphasising that the appropriate form and technique are fundamental to conducting strength training both safely and efficaciously. Mastering correct movements positions you advantageously to manage daily tasks, even when faced with unforeseen events.
Any individual can enter a gym, seize a hefty object and commence lifting. Yet, maintaining optimum form whilst pursuing personal peaks is a discipline mastered by few.
Here are a few benefits of honing this discipline:
Minimise injury risks
Enhance efficiency in lifting and movement
Improve daily life performance
Instil confidence in one's abilities
Encourage robust and healthy joints, promoting mobility and flexibility
Everyone's technique will look different due to variations in body structure - arm, torso, leg lengths, and the depth of hip/shoulder sockets. It's about figuring out the best and most efficient way to lift for you and your body structure.
The following are step-by-step guides for performing some foundational movements:
How to Squat
Position under the barbell: Stand under the barbell with both feet and place the bar on the fleshy part of your shoulders. Choose your preferred style: low bar, high bar, or a combination of both.
Set upper back position: Create a strong and tight position for your upper back by trying to bend the bar across your shoulders and bringing your hands as close as possible to your shoulders.
Establish your stance: Step back with one foot and let the other follow. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart and angled slightly outwards.
Breathe and brace: Take a deep breath into your belly and brace firmly to increase trunk stability. Maintain this position.
Begin your descent: Work to your full range of motion, aiming for a minimum of a parallel depth. If not attainable, work towards it. Control your descent.
Rise from the bottom position: Stand up, ensuring hips and upper back rise at the same pace. Repeat for all reps.
Maintain balance: Focus on balance throughout each rep. The bar path should travel over the mid part of your foot and apply even pressure with the entire foot.
How to Deadlift
Position yourself: Stand over the bar with the barbell over your mid-foot or laces.
Breathe and brace: Take a deep breath into your belly to increase trunk stability. Bend over and grasp the barbell.
Pull yourself into position: Sink your hips down and bring your arms close to your body until your shins lightly touch the bar.
Lift the barbell: Once you've removed the tension from the barbell, pull it up aggressively by driving your feet down and away, and push your upper back towards the ceiling.
Return the barbell: Reverse your actions to lower the barbell. Begin by slightly bending your knees and moving your hips back while keeping the barbell close. Once you're just below knee height, bend your knees to lower the weight to the floor.
How to Bench Press
Establish your starting position: Begin by lying on the bench with the barbell positioned directly above your line of sight to avoid striking any objects during the press.
Determine your grip: Place the edge of your thumbs at the beginning of the knurling and measure one thumb's width space from there. If you have a wider build, adjust your grip width accordingly for more shoulder mobility.
Secure the barbell: Grip the bar firmly (avoid a "thumbless grip") and set your shoulders by retracting your scapula and locking your shoulders in place.
Prepare for the lift: Start with the barbell directly aligned with your shoulder joint - this will be the strongest position for your starting and finishing postures.
Lower the barbell: Slowly lower the barbell down to your chest or sternum area (approximately nipple level). Touch the bar to your chest and keep your elbows angled slightly, not flared out.
Complete the lift: Squeeze the bar firmly and push it back to the starting position. Maintain contact between your feet and the floor throughout the movement to ensure stability.
How to Pendlay Row
Stand over the barbell: Position yourself over the barbell similar to a deadlift, ensuring the bar is over mid-foot.
Grab the barbell: Hold the barbell and lower your hips until your torso reaches a nearly parallel position to the floor.
Keep shins vertical: Ensure your shins are almost vertical to avoid interference. This will result in tension in your hamstrings.
Set your trunk and start pulling: After setting your trunk, maintaining a neutral spine and balanced stance, pull the barbell up to your chest or sternum while maintaining your body angle.
Pull with intent: Lead the movement with your elbows. After you've pulled the weight, lower it back down to the starting position.
Pause between reps: Allow for a brief pause between repetitions to avoid undue bouncing or catching during the exercise.
Adopting a Personalised Approach for Optimal Strength Training
Indeed! Individuals embark on their strength training journey from various starting points. As experienced professionals, it's our responsibility to cater to this variance and prescribe suitable, individualised exercises. For instance, should you find executing a full-depth barbell squat challenging, we can modify it to a box squat or a goblet squat instead. Subsequently, we would focus on addressing the issues inhibiting you from performing the ideal lift.
At the heart of our approach to fitness, we possess an expansive array of tools designed to help you transcend your limitations and reach unprecedented physical peaks. Our arsenal, abundant with numerous regressions, progressions, and innovative techniques, meticulously tailored to each individual's needs, aims to foster an environment for you to evolve into the fittest, strongest, and most resilient version of yourself.
With fitness, there's no one-size-fits-all solution. Therefore, our regressions are ideal for beginners or those reacclimating to fitness routines. They provide a gentler introduction or re-introduction to exercises, ensuring you don't push yourself too hard, too soon. We believe that it's essential to bolster your confidence and capabilities before gradually advancing to more challenging variations of exercises.
On the other hand, our progressions are brilliantly designed to challenge those who have been consistent with their training and are ready to step up their game. They provide the necessary resistance to help stimulate muscle growth, boost metabolism, and enhance strength and endurance. With these advanced variants of exercises, you can venture out of your comfort zone and aim for more significant gains.
Leading the charge in the cutting-edge of fitness, we also embrace and incorporate a wealth of innovations in our programming. These span from tech-forward fitness-tracking devices to novel exercise protocols that are constantly sprucing up the landscape of health and fitness. By maximizing on these fresh, research-backed practices, we help ensure your training is not only engaging but also evidence-based, thus bound to yield results.
As we journey together on this path, remember that the goal is not just to look fitter, but to develop a body that can withstand life's challenges. It's about being able to enjoy a day out with your grandchildren, get down to garden without stress, and carry your groceries without strain. It's about being able to age gracefully, maintaining your independence, and enjoying a high quality of life.
To all our senior adults embarking on this promising journey of strength training, remember that it's never too late to start. Your age is not a barrier; it's a testament to your will and resilience. Take one step at a time, be consistent, listen to your body, and celebrate every bit of progress. Retire the narrative that you're too old. Instead, aspire to be the living proof that strength, resilience, and vitality have no expiration date.
With each squat, with every deadlift, and in all your efforts, you're not just weight training -- you're also training for a healthier, stronger, and more fulfilling life. Let's break down barriers, one rep at a time, and age not just gracefully, but powerfully. The best version of yourself awaits you. So let's get started on your journey to strength, resilience, and vitality.
Jordan & Dean Coaches at Devanney Strength