While taking in a majority of the events during the 2016 CrossFit Games, I became particularly intrigued with the athletes competing in both the Men’s and Women’s Master divisions. In order to qualify for a Masters division, or just simply be considered a Masters athlete, you must be 40+ years of age. After getting a chance to analyze these athletes and compare their skill sets to one another, I came to realize the difficulty it would take to get to that level being 40+, 50+, or even 60+ years old. So I did a little research on what a Masters athlete endures during training, whether preparing for competition or doing it for their own well-being.
The Masters Athlete pictured above is PRx's own Lori A.!
So what are some of the factors that a Masters athlete has to contend with that someone younger may not experience?
- Extended warm-up and cool down
- With myself, being a fitness junky in my mid-20s, I can walk into the gym, perform a 2-3 minute warm-up, and hop up to the bar ready to roll. (I imagine this won't be the case the older I get). This creeps up on many athletes as they start to feel the effects of not warming up properly in their younger years. According to what I've read, athletes 40+ years should warm up for 15-20 minutes just to get the body ready to endure their workout. Mobility also becomes a key factor to optimal performance as you age, which is where proper modification of workouts comes into play. Recovery time also needs to be extended the older you get because protein cannot be synthesized as efficiently as the body ages. This makes is harder to train vigorously day after day. Putting all of this together, a Master athlete’s warm up and cool down may take longer than the workout itself!
2. Proper programming
- As with every athlete, proper programming needs to be nailed down by their respective coaches in order to prevent injury and keep them coming back to the gym. If you can train like Rich Froning or other top fitness athletes, more power to you, but for many athletes 40+ years of age, programming is going to differ greatly. This is where getting to know your coach and sitting down to consult with them on a proper training regimen is very important.
- Change in body composition
- We all also experience hormonal changes with age. Men see a decrease in testosterone produced by the body, leading to weight gain and muscle loss, and women see an increase in estrogen which also leads to the same factors. This is where it is important to focus more on strength rather than conditioning, which has a great effect on reversing these hormonal changes. For example, a focus on strength may be the difference between doing strict pull-ups instead of kipping pull-ups. Again, proper coaching and technique can have a major effect on both the physical and mental health of the athlete!
- Outside influences
- No matter who you are, there are always going to be mitigating factors (you know, LIFE) that makes it hard to get to the gym and stick with your regimen. For the older athlete, it seems even more challenging. A lot of times they have to deal with people who just don't understand. They hear they're too old to do this or that, or that they're going to get hurt, and then get an earful of what they SHOULD be doing. These self-proclaimed experts are those that you should run, not walk away from. If you are doing something you love, and find a community of support that helps guide you every step of the way, keep that and cherish it to the fullest. Too many athletes are being pushed away by outside influences that aren’t enduring their daily grind.
SO TO ALL OF YOU MASTER ATHLETES OUT THERE, WE COMMEND YOU!!!
With all the above factors that you may deal with on a daily basis just to live a healthier lifestyle, it takes a lot of willpower and determination to keep on developing as an athlete. So keep pushing forward and know that there are people out there cheering you on!
5% of Savannah Bar sales go toward
Mobility bands are great for full-body training anytime or anywhere whether you’re on the road, when dumbbells might be inaccessible, or working out at home. And, let’s be honest, when is the mobility band rack taken up at your local gym like a dumbbell rack is on a Monday morning?
With a variety of different tensions, mobility bands serve as multi-purpose training tools for those of all skill levels that are looking to increase muscular endurance. So the burning question is, “What do I do with a mobility band?” You may not know about the variety of different exercises that can be performed in the comfort of your home (or as I mentioned earlier, at your local gym when the dumbbell rack is too busy). Mobility bands also serve as a great stretching tool that can be taken virtually anywhere you go.
Here are 8 common exercises, both strength exercises and stretches, that can be performed simply with a mobility band. Just choose the proper band tension and get after it!
15 – 25 lbs - Light resistance
25 – 50 lbs - Light to medium resistance
50 – 75 lbs - Medium to heavy resistance
100 – 120 lbs - Heavy resistance
120 – 175 lbs - OMG! Would you take a look at those guns?!
1. Assisted Pull-ups
- Loop your mobility band on your pullup bar and place your foot into the band to help you get that chin over that bar!
2. Tricep Pull-Downs
- Loop your mobility band on a pullup bar and grab your band while securing your elbows to your sides. Engage the triceps by pulling the band straight downward. Tension can be adjusted based on how high or low you grab the band.
3. Assisted Dips
- Loop each end of a resistance band around each dip bar handle. Assume the starting dip position, with arms extended, and put your knees against the band. Lower your body against the resistance band until your elbows are at 90°. Push up to the starting position until your elbows are straight.
4. Bicep Curls
- With both feet, step on the inside of the band, grabbing the other end with both hands. Perform a normal bicep curl with elbows secured at your sides. Exercise can also be performed with one arm at a time by putting one foot inside of the band.
5. Band Pull-Aparts
- With arms extended in front of you, grab your band about shoulder width apart, pulling apart until arms are straight out from your sides. Tension can be adjusted by moving hands toward outward on the band.
These strength exercises can be performed in sets of 10-15 reps with the tension that allows you to feel the burn!
6. Hamstring Stretch
- Laying on your back, loop the band around the bottom of your foot and pull your leg straight up. Stretch should be felt in the back of your leg.
7. IT Band Stretch
- First perform the hamstring stretch, then lay your leg across the opposite side of your body. Stretch should be felt in the side of your hip.
8. Quad Stretch
- Laying on your stomach, flex your leg towards your glute and hook the band around the top of your foot. The more you pull on the band, the more of a stretch you will feel in the quad.
Stretches should typically be held for 15-20 seconds per leg to get the full effect of increased mobility.
There are no more excuses for not getting your exercises in because the dumbbell rack is full at the gym! Mobility bands serve the same purpose as dumbbells and can be used anywhere you want to take them!