Hail to the Dinosaurs!
Simon Buchanan sent in the following
email, which raises some important points
about older Dinos getting back into training
after a long lay-off -- and about sensible
training for older Dinos -- and indeed,
about sensible training for Dinos of any
I've noticed you refer to mobility training
in your more recent emails, and it seems to
me that this can not be overemphasized.
Mike, for example, at 54 and after a 7 year
layoff, will likely have regressed as much
in mobility as strength.
Often you hear of someone in their later
decades who can still dead lift an impressive
load, but then when you see them they're walking
around in the dead lift position. Function
dictating form, as Arthur Jones used to say.
And it is probably harder to reclaim mobility
than strength at a certain age, once the
fibrous, fascial-net has started to tighten
It seems to me that mobility and flexibility
are at least as important as strength, and the
more decades go by, they become more important.
What are your thoughts?
Thanks for your feedback and your comments. I
agree that Mike will need to work on his
mobility as well as his strength -- and that's
another reason why I wanted him to come back
slow and easy.
As I emphasize in GRAY HAIR AND BLACK IRON,
older trainees need to do plenty of warming
up. I like to do ten or fifteen minutes of
easy movement work, including some stretches,
at the beginning of every workout. I include
five minutes of Indian club work for my
shoulders and upper back.
After this, I move on the weight work. I begin
with a broomstick, and then move on to an
empty bar -- and gradually move up in weight
until I'm up to my working weights. The warm-up
sets serve as additional mobility work that
targets the same movement pattern and the
same joints and muscle groups that I use in
And here's an important thought. As I've grown
older, I do more and more Olympic weightlifting
in my workouts.
Because it's fun -- and it's a challenge -- but
most of all, because it builds strength, power
I was a very good athlete in junior high and
high school. (I won a state championship in
Greco-Roman wrestling when I was in high
school.) One of my goals as an older trainee
is to maintain as much athleticism as
possible. I liked being an athlete when I
was 15, and I like being an athlete at age
Of course, you don't have to do Olympic
lifting to build and maintain athletic
fitness. All the different training tools
and techniques in Dinosaur Training promote
FUNCTIONAL FITNESS -- meaning, they make you
stronger and more athletic.
That's because everything a Dinosaur does
is done to build strength and power (as
opposed to double bumping your pecs, to
borrow a line from John McCallum).
Dinosaur Training is ground-based training.
It's stand on your feet and lift heavy stuff
over your head. It's walk with heavy stuff,
carry heavy stuff, throw heavy stuff, drag
heavy stuff, and lift heavy stuff.
And when you add Dinosaur Bodyweight Training,
you add an extra dimension to your training.
Now you're moving your body rather than moving
a barbell, dumbbell or sand bag. It requires
exceptional body control and a heightened
awareness of how your body moves.
Ditto with Dinosaur Dumbbell Training. In
fact, one of the reasons why I write Dinosaur
Dumbbell Training was to give older Dinosaurs
a way of doing athletic-style exercises without
having to do Olympic weightlifting. So if you
don't have an Olympic barbell, bumper plates,
and a platform -- or if you don't know how to
do Olympic lifting -- you have a very accessible
option: Dino-style dumbbell training.
When he was in his 80's, George Hackenschmidt
could jump over a broomstick placed horizontally
at waist height. That's mobility for you --
and that's the sort of thing I want to be
able to do at age 80.
Anyhow, those were great points, Simon. Thanks
for raising them.
As always, thanks for reading, and have a great
day. If you train today, make it a good one!
Yours in strength,
P.S. 2. These will keep you moving at any age:
1. GRAY HAIR AND BLACK IRON
2. DINOSAUR BODYWEIGHT TRAINING
3. DINOSAUR DUMBBELL TRAINING (BOOK)
4. DINOSAUR DUMBBELL TRAINING (DVD -- shot in 1999)
5. GOING STRONG AT 54! (DVD -- shot in 2011)
P.S. 2. Thought for the Day: "If you want
to move like an athlete, you need to train
like an athlete." -- Brooks Kubik