4 Gems to Developing Old Man Strength
My dad always had no neck. His traps were huge, his grip was (and still is) empowering and painful and he always had what we called, “Old Man Strength.” My brother and I were never really certain how he got it. Was it from years of lifting weights? Was it the countless hours in the wrestling room? Was it just a natural mechanical adaptation to external stimulus? Either way, we always knew he had that Old Man Strength.
Here I am, 35 years old and working toward that same physical prowess. The Dad Strength, the Old Man Strength, the immeasurable point of what makes old dudes FEEL strong AF! By no means do I feel that I have developed the Old Man Strength of my father but I do feel as though I have built a good system around training to remain healthy, spark longevity of training while continuing to develop actually applied strength in the weight room. Here are four keys I have discovered over the last few years that have helped me grow that Old Man Balding strength while having multiple businesses and FOUR children!
PICK TWO BIG STRENGTH MOVEMENTS PER PROGRAM
As I have gotten older, I have noticed that I do a MUCH better job focusing on only one or two BIG strength movements. When I was younger, I wanted my snatch to get better, I wanted to grow my front squats, improve my bench press, blow up my power clean, all within one program. Now I pick a priority. If my goal is to improve my back squat, then all the intensity of my training is based around my back squats, the rest of the time, I focus on moderate-intensity exercise or even low-intensity weights. This helps me stay healthy and motivated. A simple trick lately that has worked for me is focusing on one leg movement that leads to strength gains while still pushing an upper body lift as well. That helps me notice an impact of leg day to upper body day and it helps me continue to push hard if I am feeling the groove!
BODYBUILDING IS YOUR BEST FRIEND.
I used to make fun of bodybuilders. I used to think they were lame and not interested in REAL TRAINING. As I have aged, I have found a new appreciation. For starters, the training can be VERY DIFFICULT. On top of that, bodybuilding has taken me back to my youth! Chasing a pump can be easy at first but now it takes a different type of motivation to achieve a PUMP and keep that pump growing throughout a training session. This has sped up my training sessions while still leading to solid muscular growth! Bodybuilding has also kept me happy. I believe it helps me recover from a hard day of training and it helps me feel good tension when I don’t go absurdly heavy!
Gosh, I hate doing mobility. I hate it. HOWEVER, I have noticed an improvement in general well being and MUCH LESS joint pain as I continue to slowly embrace mobility. I try to keep my mobility work to 10-12 minutes. If my mobility sessions were longer, I wouldn’t be motivated and ultimately would stop it altogether. I like hitting overhead cossack squats, some deep pistol squats, smash some key lat stretches and wake up my thoracic spine before I get rolling into the weights. This has improved my recovery and by lengthening the muscle, I have seen some good strength gains!
WHEN YOU FEEL IT, ENTER SMASH MODE.
I love auto-regulation, so this is a no-brainer for me. When I feel the strength groove rolling, I embrace and ride the wave as long as I can. Maybe my twins slept longer the previous night and in turn, I slept later. Maybe I ate more protein during the day or perhaps I got some extra mobility work done. Sometimes it comes down to the environment. I love lifting with my throwers because they motivate me to push the load even further! If I feel a groove rolling with HEAVY weights, I take advantage of it and I might hit 6-7 extra sets, entering SMASH MODE!
As a father of four while owning 3 businesses and managing multiple employees and coaching over 65 athletes can be difficult. BUT, it is important that my own personal training continues. Training for me is a form of meditation. It is a means for me to feel positive, to engage my emotions and positive energy and express them appropriately. For me to continue my own strength journey, my workouts have changed slightly but my motivation continues to thrive! Be as strong as I possibly can, be a good example for my children AND my clients while stimulating good, mental growth!
Dane Miller is the owner and founder of Garage Strength Sports Performance. He works with a select handful of clients on building comprehensive programs for fitness and nutrition. Several times a year he leads a workshop for coaches, trainers, and fitness enthusiasts.