The current and recent trend in the ‘fitness’ industry has been to focus upon intensity masquerading as functionality and ‘sport’ being packaged as a suitable daily training endeavor for the general population.
The reality is that the general population needs to train in the way that best facilitates the formation of an effective hedge against the aging phenotype. In order to identify what that training base may look like, lets first discuss in brief what makes up an aging phenotype.
As we age, we all begin to suffer from metabolic syndrome, osteopenia (loss of bone density) and sarcopenia (loss of muscle mass). Typically these will be accompanied by a man-made side effect of aging, polypharmacy. Medical professionals will typically prescribe a multitude of medications to offset the side effects of when other, more holistic interventions can effectively address the same symptoms, whilst avoiding the unwanted side effects that so often come with pharmaceutical interventions.
Aging bodies suffer from what we term ‘anabolic resistance’ Put simply, metabolic syndrome side effects of things such as decreased nutrient sensing (ability to use and respond to nutrition, especially protein), the degeneration of the neuromuscular system and other potential risk factors such as insulin sensitivity.
Osteopenia comes with a host of side effects that will be detrimental to the human organism. Namely, increased risk of injury during a slip or fall. Osteoporosis can result in serious bone fracture risk to the hips and spine.
Sarcopenia being a decrease in muscle mass means decreased force production potential, motor control, and frailty. When put hand in hand with metabolic syndromes, anabolic resistance and decreased bone mass, we have an undesirable situation and need to make a non-pharmalogical intervention. We will do this via the delivery of training protocols as medicine. Formulation and dose being the program design. Get an introduction to programming strength to resist the aging phenotype here.
Strength and resistance training will give us the greatest dose and formulation response to allow a client to overcome osteopenic and sarcopenic outcomes. The compression, tensive and moment (torque) forces which are experienced under a barbell will allow for the greatest disruption to the aging process. Wolff’s law (that an organism will adapt to the loads under which it is placed) results in increased bone density and tensile forces such as those experienced at muscular end ranges and in movements where gravity is pulling the body downwards (such as the pull up) will have a positive response on muscle mass and soft tissue resilience. Aside from the effects on the bones and soft tissues via strength training, resistance training at 70-90% of one-rep max as well as sub-maximal efforts to failure has been shown to be effective at the regulation of muscle protein synthesis. This will go a long way to reversing muscular atrophy. Take a deep dive into the back squat, one of the big three strength movements here.
In terms of specific formulation dosage, here at OPEX we have a strength lifecycle, which will enable you to assess clients and place them along a strength continuum. This understanding of contractions and how each type of training phase will impact each phenotype will be critical to the development of strength for a lifetime.
Strength is an elusive thing to develop. But with the proper education on the strength lifecycle, it doesn’t have to be. Learn how to program to resist the aging phenotype and the strength lifecycle with our newest course, Programming: Strength.