Put a little muscle behind that hustle
Brendan Rolfe, CPHR, BA, DipA
Strong is the new strong. Okay, that doesn’t actually mean anything, but increasing your strength and muscle tone has benefits in any stage of your life that extend beyond just having a rockin’ beach bod.
The importance of toned abs, pecs, butts, arms, and thighs are overhyped and overemphasized in the media; however, the strength that is often associated with them is not. Strength and muscle tone is critical for both men and women in all stages of life, but today, we’re focusing on exercises for men.
“I’m not going to be wrestling alligators or hunting prey on the open plains … why do I need to look like a ‘beast’?” True—we likely won’t have to perform either of these tasks. However, if we as a species did have to do these things for survival, we wouldn’t have many of the societal health issues that we face today (although admittedly, alligator wrestling provides its own sort of health risks).
Hypertension, cardiovascular events, and diabetes are all associated with high-fat, low-muscle physiques. Studies show that inactive adults experience a 3 to 8 percent loss of muscle mass per decade, accompanied by resting metabolic rate reduction and fat accumulation. This is especially concerning because greater muscle mass is also associated with an enhanced ability to burn potentially problematic fat stores.
Here are three great exercises for men—one for each stage of their life.
Hormones play a big role in physical development. And this can be an ideal time in a person’s life to introduce fitness and the associated beneficial habits, with proper supervision and care.
In fact, this may be the most critical time to introduce muscle and strength developing practices. A 2012 Swedish study showed a correlation between low muscular strength in male adolescents and premature death over a 24-year period. Because of this great propensity for physical development, but tendency toward risk-taking behaviour, bodyweight exercises can prove extremely beneficial, while possibly lowering the risk of injury. Try this one.
Target: Quite literally every single muscle you have, plus your cardiovascular system
What you need: Your body and an apparatus to do pull-ups on
According to society you’re a “man” now (although, at times, that’s debatable). Your hormones have settled, hopefully your common sense has developed, and your physical foundation has been established.
Now is the time to get strong and stay strong. Testosterone in males reaches a peak at around 30 years of age, and gradually declines at a rate of about 1 to 2 percent per year. Low levels of testosterone are associated with serious health conditions, such as coronary artery disease. Depressed yet? Don’t be. You can actually combat this phenomenon by adding resistance training to your exercise regimen!
One of the staples of building strength and muscle in resistance training is the Barbell Deadlift.
Target: Hamstrings, glutes, lower back, core, grip
What you need: Barbell and plates
Here’s how: You’re literally just picking something up and putting it down, but the devil, as they say, is in the details.
Fitness, strength, and muscle tone are critical throughout our lives, but magnified even more so as we move into our golden years. Falling is one of the main issues that seniors face, which holds a strong correlation to advancement toward mortality.
One of the main culprits identified in falling is a lack of mobility. Entrenched firmly within that scope is muscular strength within a range of motion (ROM), otherwise known as flexibility. Functional flexibility can be maintained or improved safely with bodyweight exercises. Critical to many daily movement patterns, and the foundation of any workout program, is the squat.
Target: Quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, core
What you need: Your body, a dowel (a long stick)