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The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter, Issue #138, What is a senior anyway?
May 15, 2014

May 15, 2014

In this newsletter . . .

What is a "senior" anyway?

A dynamite exercise: the Clean & Press

What is a "senior" anyway?

Some years ago, when I put up my first Gray Iron Fitness web site, I decided to focus on a core audience of people at age 50 and above. If turning 50 was when the AARP people came looking for you, and called you a senior, I figured I would do the same.

Fifty has been called the youth of old age. And that sounds about right to me. Generally, a trainee at 50 can handle more intense training than someone at 60, 70, or more. Since I keep pretty good training logs, I can look back and compare my own ability in my late 50s to today. At 77, I’m not nearly as strong as I was in my 50s, which should surprise no one.

All of this is leading to something a newsletter subscriber, Bob White, sent me and I enjoyed. It follows:

"A doctor on his morning walk noticed an old lady sitting on her front step smoking a cigar. Though very elderly, she seemed quite happy with herself and obviously enjoying the stogy.

"So he walked up to her and said, 'I couldn't help but notice how happy you look! What is your secret?'

"'I smoke ten cigars a day,' she said. 'And before I go to bed, I smoke a joint. Apart from that, I drink a whole bottle of Jack Daniels every week, and, frankly, I eat only junk food. On weekends, I pop a few happy pills . . . and I don't exercise at all.'

"'That is absolutely amazing! How old are you?'

"'Thirty-four,' she replied."

I hope she's having fun. But most of us treat ourselves better than that.

For example, did you know that senior health club memberships are growing faster than any other age category? Here is one reason why:

It is sarcopenia, the wasting away of muscle that robs seniors of strength, balance and, eventually, their independence. Resistance training — weights, resistance bands and bodyweight calisthenics — is the antidote to sarcopenia

Our training should include some portion of resistance work, some portion of cardio, and some portion of flexibility training. And for most of us, resistance training should be the heart of the program.

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A dynamite exercise: the Clean & Press

The clean and press is one of those full-body lifts that involve nearly all of your body’s pushing and pulling muscles in a single exercise. Until 1972, it was one of the lifts in the Olympics, along with the snatch and clean and jerk. The reason it was dropped is interesting but for another time.

To watch a short video to see how it is done, using either a pair of dumbbells (in the video example) or a barbell, go here.

Low-rep sets of the clean and press develop overall strength and power. On the other hand, if you want to really get your heart pumping, move into the 10- to 15-rep range. But be careful not to let your form get sloppy and risk injury.

Note: The press I'm describing is a military press. After the clean, you stand straight, with knees locked, and with minimal back bend. This differs from a push-press. With the push-press, once you have cleaned the weight, you bend your knees and then use leg drive to assist in driving the weight overhead.

Kettlebells are also used to clean and press. However, the proper form using kettlebells is somewhat different than it is when using a barbell or dumbbells. If you plan on using kettlebells, be sure to learn the correct form.

See Clean and Press video.

The Kettlebell Boomer How to Defy Aging and Be a Human Dynamo Throughout Your Senior Years—Thanks to Kettlebells With Master RKC, Andrea Du Cane

Newsletter Policy

The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter is a free publication sent twice monthly to subscribers. The purpose is to provide honest and realistic fitness information for people age 50 and above.

I have never been paid or received compensation of any kind to write a positive review or endorse a product. If I say that I personally use a product or service, it is because I find value in it and have paid for it with my own money.

Like newspapers, magazines and television, this newsletter and my web site contain advertising and marketing links. Naturally, I am compensated for these.

The newsletter and web site provide information to help users establish and maintain a fitness lifestyle. But fitness information is not the same as fitness advice, which is the application of exercise and dietary practices to an individual's specific circumstances. Therefore, always consult with your physician for assurance that fitness information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate for you.

Your comments and questions are always appreciated. Simply click on the "Reply" bottom.


Logan Franklin
The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter

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