Friday, April 3, 2015
Your Legs Are Your Wheels
Ever since my accident and learning to walk and train again, I have made a vow to go into deep research on training the legs and making them stronger not just in the muscles but more importantly the tendons and ligaments. As we age, one of the first things that starts to go physically is our legs, the bones become a little more brittle and the joints get a little weaker and muscles begin to go south. It becomes more and more difficult to even get a good move going and your body just aches like a bitch. It doesn't have to be that way though; you can make a choice to keep your body in incredible shape when you get older like into your 50's and beyond. It's a matter of modifying and building a foundation. Flexibility is your first priority, then you work on strength so you can value the useful of what is working in your body.
Most people think as you age, muscles need to keep strengthened more than anything else; not necessarily true, strength is a factor and should be in on your to do list but for the most part muscles are secondary compared to the joints and ligaments in the body especially in your hips, ankles and feet. How can you really move at all when your joints are all screwed up? Why do you think so many older folks have bad hips and weak ankles? It's not always about aging, its about how you take care of yourself. Sure you're not going to be lifting extremely heavy poundages (but then again what's really stopping you if you wanted to do that) but make it your main focus is strengthen the tendons as much as possible, the muscles will follow when you do the right amount of training. Isometrics are extremely power tendon builders and utilizing Chi Kung methods help you internalize your energy and build strength from the inside. Flexibility is not always about stretching and toe touching, it's about finding that youthful vitality in your bones that is full of vigor and life. Do some joint loosening, stretch your hamstrings efficiently and power up on the hips because they give the lower body some of its greatest power in many areas. I train my legs consistently with plenty of dynamic stretching, joint loosening, isometric stretching, mobility drills and others and I'm in my 30's, I want to be nearly as mobile 50 years from now because of it.
Sprints build powerful legs, period; some people don't always have the luxury of sprinting somewhere or they don't have the strength to move as such but there are always alternatives, sprinting doesn't always mean running, you can do exercises at a much faster pace to get that effect whether it's push-ups, squats, running in place anything that gets their heart rate up quick and with intensity. Circuit Training can be useful mixing exercises together and moving in a fast pace and go round to round with no rest, that alone burns up a lot of fat and puts on muscle. It's all about what works for you and making the best of what you have. I love sprints, however I don't always feel like running so hard I feel like my legs are going to pop off, I can sprint in place and still get the same benefits. Make it work for you and experiment the very best you want to learn and master.
If you want to learn on how to build powerful, agile and enduring legs, talk to an old-time pro wrestler like from the 70's and before. It's not always about entertaining a crowd with theatrical exploits, you also need to keep up with your opponent and work a match to the very end whether it's 10 minutes or 60 minutes. These guys are the very embodiment of superior conditioning. If your legs aren't up to the task neither will the rest of your body. Guys like Ed Strangler Lewis, Lou Thesz, Verne Gagne, Ricky Steamboat, Ric Flair, Frank Gotch, Karl Gotch and even guys like Ben Sharman and Killer Kowalski were exceptional in the conditioning department and hardly broke a sweat within the first 10 minutes of a match (slight exaggeration). Being able to endure a lot and still have some fire burning in the tank is an awesome thing to have. Research on how wrestlers trained their legs, there is some cool stuff you can do and you don't need to do extremely high reps to reap the benefits, just enough to where it works for you and keeps you firing. Having enduring legs is also great for your testosterone and having a high sex drive. Strong legs can carry you in ways that can be useful when you need them too. These guys can teach you things about the legs most sports can't even fathom, why do you think wrestling is the most important sport? Keep your legs strong and agile no matter what your age and prove to yourself that age is just a number and not an ideal outlook of what you were and what you have been led to believe. Your legs are the wheels and your will is the engine and the rest are the various parts needed to keep going. Be awesome my friends.