|Hitting some front squats here at Dino Headquarters - using towels to help keep the bar on the shoulders - which works great for front squats - but don't try it for back squats!|
Hail to the Dinosaurs!
Yes, you read the title correctly.
Chicken legs can kill you.
And no, I'm not talking about the kind of
fast-food, deep-fried, batter-covered food
bombs that people eat. Those are bad, but
I'm talking about something else.
I'm talking about one of the leading causes
of death in the United States.
It's the slip and fall.
It happens to older people all the time. They
have a slip -- they fall -- and they break a leg
or a hip. Usually a hip.
That sends them to the hospital, and from there,
it's all-too-often a steady downward death spiral.
It used to happen to people of relatively advanced
years, but now it happens to people that many of
us would consider to be relatively young. Lots of
folks my age or even younger (I'm 61) have had
a bad a slip and fall.
And as I noted, it kills many of them. If it doesn't
kill them, it often leads to a very low quality of
life for the rest of their years.
And many folks my age or younger -- sometimes
much younger -- have had a slip and fall or a
similar accident that caused a severe knee or hip
injury -- that often leads to joint replacement
Sometimes, an accident is unavoidable -- just a
case of bad luck.
But many times, the problem is a lack of leg and
hip strength -- and poor balance. And that's not a
matter of bad luck. It's a matter of bad training --
or the result of no training -- or the result of no
Of course, that doesn't have to happen to you.
You can control your destiny. You can take action
and help make yourself injury-proof.
You do it by leg training.
The bigger and stronger your legs, the less risk
you have of a slip and fall. And if you do take a
tumble, strong legs and plenty of muscle may
help you avoid a serious injury.
As far as the details go, here are some key
points about effective leg training:
1. Strengthen your ankles.
Work your entire leg and hip structure, including
your ankles. Many slip and fall accidents occur
when someone loses their balance and their
foot twists at the ankle -- and their ankle isn't
strong enough to bear the strain -- and down
So include calf training in your workouts. Calf
exercises help strengthen your ankles.
To work your ankles even more, lie a barbell
plate on the floor and push it around with
sweeping movements of your foot. Train both
sides of each ankle when you do this. Left to
right, right to left, etc.
2. Train your toes and feet.
Try picking up marbles or pencils with your
toes. Strong toes help you maintain your
balance, and working your toes also helps
to strengthen your ankles.
Or try this. Soak a small towel in water,
lay it outside on the ground, and then try
to wring the water out of the towel by
picking the edge of the towel up between
your toes and squeezing the water out.
Work your way down the entire towel.
This is a variation of the old towel-wringing
exercise for grip training, and it will work
your toes and feet into the ground.
Another good exercise is one that Trudi
does. It's a 45 degree leg press with the
weight resting on her toes and the upper
part of her foot. She includes a toe press
on each rep. It's one of her favorite
exercises for strong toes and feet.
Trudi also uses Theraband exercises for
her toes, feet and ankles. You can find
many exercises on the interwebs.
The simplest movement is to sit in a chair,
loop the Theraband around your foot,and
hold the ends while you perform toe
presses or ankle rotations.
3. Do lugging and loading drills.
Including lugging and loading drills, where
you carry heavy weights. They work your
feet and your ankles on every step.
It doesn't matter what you do, how far you
go, or what you carry. Just be sure to walk
with heavy stuff as a regular part of your
I cover lugging and loading drills in Gray
Hair and Black Iron. Check them out:
|Notice the front cover of Gray Hair and Black Iron features yours truly standing in front of two squat stands. That's because regular leg training is critical for older trainees!|
4. Do some weightlifting.
If you can, do some weightlifting. You don't have
to do squat style lifts. Power cleans and power
snatches will work fine. Every rep includes ankle
extension to complete the lift -- and every time
you extend your ankles against weight resistance,
you make them bigger, stronger and thicker --
and more resistant to injury.
Weightlifting exercises also build better balance,
coordination and athleticism -- and help strengthen
your neurological system -- all of which helps you
avoid a bad slip and fall.
If you prefer, use dumbbells. For many trainees,
they are easier to master, and they provide all
of the benefits of barbell cleans and snatches.
See Dinosaur Dumbbell Training for details
on how to perform dumbbell cleans, swings,
|The stand-on-your-feet dumbbell exercises in Dinosaur Dumbbell Training are great for older trainees.|
5. Do squats and front squats.
Squats and front squats are the best leg exercises
out there -- and they should always be part of your
If possible, do full squats. The greater the range
of motion, the better.
Use perfect form when you squat. Dropping and
bouncing, leaning forward, or rounding your back
can cause big problems.
Wear Olympic lifting shoes when you squat. They
help you maintain the correct upright position --
which in turn places the work on your legs and
hips, which is where you want it to be.
|The squat racks get plenty of work here at Dino Headquarters.|
You don't have to use World record weights in
your squats. See Dinosaur Training Secrets,
Vol. 2, the "How Strong Are You Course?"
for some key points on how much weight you
should be using in your leg exercises:
|My "How Strong Are Your Course" is a great guide to realistic and achievable weights for your various exercises - including squats, deadlifts, and other ground-based exercises.|
Note: It's also available in PDF format - see
the section on our Products Page where we list all
of our PDF products:
6. Include some auxiliary leg exercises for
improved balance and mobility.
Overhead squats with a barbell or a pair of
dumbbells build a nice combination of strength
and muscle, along with improved balance and
So does the one-arm overhead squat with a single
dumbbell or a kettlebell.
For other unique leg exercises, see Dinosaur
Dumbbell Training. The dumbbell complexes
in the book are particularly good for older Dinos.
They will greatly improve your balance, your
coordination, and your mobility.
If you want to include some bodyweight exercises
for the legs and hips, try the movements featured
in Dinosaur Bodyweight Training. They're fast,
fun and effective:
|Dinosaur Bodyweight Training has a gold-mine of leg, lower back and hip exercises and lower body workouts.|
7. Get out the rope!
Start and finish each workout with some basic
rope-jumping. It's a terrific exercise for your feet
and ankles -- and a good way to build your balance
Invest in the kind of high-quality jump rope that
boxers use -- and include a couple of rounds of
rope work three or four times a week.
Jumping rope is also a good cardiovascular
exercise, and helps burn unwanted fat, so it's
got plenty of benefits.
To summarize, expand your concept of leg
training. Squats are the starting point, but it's
more than that. Train your feet and the ankles --
and do exercises that build balance, mobility,
And, of course, build the muscles of your legs
In short -- stay strong, train your legs - and
punch those chicken legs right in the kisser!
As always, thanks for reading, and have a
great day. If you train today, make it a good
Yours in strength,
P.S. Gray Hair and Black Iron is the best book
ever written for older trainees -- and will help
enormously to make you injury-proof:
P.S. Go here to grab Dinosaur Dumbbell
Training and Dinosaur Bodyweight Training:
P.S. 3. Thought for the Day:
"Stand strong, walk strong and live strong."
-- Brooks Kubik
BEFORE YOU LEAVE . . .
We have more than 25 Dinosaur Training books and courses in the Kindle bookstore - here are several of them - head on over and take a look at the others: