Ageless Athlete: How to Stay and Feel Young
Most martial artists faithfully train both their art and strength from young ages. And, did you know that your faithful training is an anti-aging elixir?
It is the perfect combination, training balance, coordination, breathing, flexibility, strength, speed and relaxation, all-in-one. Great for the body, excellent for the brain, and exceptional for the mind. The perfect strategy to combat and fight your aging opponent.
The downward spiral of cardiac output, strength, muscle mass, and power are not as age-related as you think. As you get older, use it or lose it, is not just a phrase, it becomes a fact. Being sedentary is what ages you. The body never loses the ability to restore, rebuild, or regenerate. It is the fusion of inactivity and aging that is deleterious to health and life. Aging is a catalyst that speeds up the process that makes things worse.
Let us not look at the glass half empty. There is hope for everyone and it is never too late for the coach potatoes to jump in, to start to feel and see the difference. Depending on when you start determines what will happen. Faithfully training from a young age and maintaining it into your 40's, 50's, or 60's, will roll back the years of the aging process. This roll back can reach up to 30 years. So, at 80 years of age, if you habitually trained throughout your life with your martial arts, aerobics, anaerobic, or strength, you will have the body of a 50-year-old. When you are 50, you will be 20, at 60, you will be 30, and, at 70, you will be 40. I concur with this being 48, I feel as strong and as fast as I was in my 20's, I just need a little more sleep (LOL).
Understand, everything you do when you are young up until the day aging starts, delays aging significantly.
One essential thing you must remember is, as you age there is a point of no return, where training and physical activity are mandatory. Stopping to train during the aging process will affect your youthfulness quickly. Don't fall into laziness, it is aging's way of baiting you in to joining the "couch side". You have to continue to maintain it. It is the reason martial arts is perfect, because it is not just a practice, it is a part of life.
Below is a strength training program that is another tool to put into your arsenal to defend you against aging. Like John Kreese said in Cobra Kai, "Never underestimate your enemy, even if you think they're weaker than you, you have to stay one step ahead of them, that's the only way to guarantee the victory".
Slow Eccentric Training (SET)
First of all, SET, is excellent for everyone. For athletes, SET training takes strength, speed, and power, to a higher level. For the older population, it remarkably slows aging to restore youth.
How it works?
During SET, a whole different process occurs. Eccentric motion is the stretching, loading, adaptation, and developmental phase.
When lowering the weight slowly, the slow eccentric motion increases the time that nerves and muscles are under tension. This generates a high amount of force teaching muscles and nerves to absorb force, not dissipate it, enhancing their force production capabilities.
Muscles dissipate force to prevent injury. Dissipation causes a slower reaction and response from a muscle during movement, resulting in a loss of speed. If muscles cannot sustain force to jump, hop, sprint, etc., then the nervous system will diminish the speed of the movement, slowing the movements down because you cannot sustain force.
- For example, you can hop up and down very quickly to transfer motion up and down fast. However, if you jump off a table, you cannot transfer the force up as fast. So, force dissipates to protect you from injury because your muscles are not strong enough to absorb the force.
SET benefits are dramatically more significant than resistance training.
- It enhances neural firing rate, training muscles to be explosive.
- Boosts concentric output more than concentric training itself.
- Breaks down muscle 10x more, causing more muscle rebuilding than any other training.
- Releases more hormones like GH and testosterone during SET.
- Reverses the aging plasticity of muscles by restoring elasticity and flexibility.
- Tendons become stronger that only become stronger from weight-bearing activities.
- Rapidly improves strength and flexibility.
- Improves range of motion and mobility.
- Improves stability.
SET has several unique and incomparable effects to resistance training and other training methods. All of the aforementioned results are much lower with resistance training.
SET has longer lasting effects that can be done once or twice a week that will boost your martial arts training. You will see dramatic improvements in your martial arts, strength, agility, speed and power.
Do SET for 2 weeks and switch back to normal training for 4-6 weeks. Or just incorporate a few days of SET per week to boost your martial arts.
- Lower down eccentrically for 4-6 seconds.
- Pause for a second or two at the bottom
- Return up, concentrically and fast
- Rest at least 3 minutes between
- Take 3-5 days off before training the same muscles again.
- 3-5 sets for 5 reps/ 75-85% 1RM
SET and Fast Twitch Fibers
Fast twitch fibers activate and respond to tension and force, which is why you get instant results and enhancements across the board. SET mainly recruits fast twitch fibers that are harder to stimulate with normal training and easier to recruit with SET.
SET recruits fast twitch muscle fibers more effectively as well as stimulates inactive ones caused by aging.
SET and Satellite Cells
This is probably one of most important. SET stimulates and re-stimulates something called satellite cells. These cells are responsible for rebuilding and repairing muscle fibers. As you get older, satellite cells become less active. SET reactivates them.
Satellite cell activation is what causes the release of repairing hormones, growth hormone and testosterone, that are released at greater levels. And, when these hormones are released muscles repair and feel youthful again or maintain youth.
For more information about SET visit my social media pages in the Bio or read my book Instant Strength.
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