Weight Training for Optimum Longevity


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Thanks to the near super human performance seen in anaerobically trained Master Athletes, we now know that the dramatic decrease in functionality and the dangerous increase in chronic disease, disabilities and dysfunction is much more a result of lifestyle choices than chronological aging. Recent studies on many competitive Master Athletes in their 80s, 90s and older show that both men and women who train with high levels of Frequency, Intensity, Time and/or Type in their exercise program, can outperform untrained 20 and 30 year olds on all 10 IFPA Components of Fitness and many had better health and medical markers! What is the secret to maintaining the fitness and health of a 20 year old? Exercise! Is it possible to regenerate your body if you have allowed your body to degenerate into disuse? YES! How? You should always start with Fitness Testing to determine your precise starting level prior to the initiation of training. The Fitness Testing will determine your “Weak Links.” Your fitness programming effectiveness will be determined by your level of fitness in each of the 10 IFPA Components of Fitness (Strength, Speed, Power, Anaerobic and Aerobic Endurance, Agility, Balance, Coordination, Flexibility and Body Composition). The 5 most critical components for functionality and longevity are Strength, Anaerobic and Aerobic Endurance, Flexibility and Body Composition. Most doctors will find that it is the deterioration of these 5 that lead to most chronic disorders. Warning! If it has been a while since you have exercised, you are overweight or obese, or you have one or more chronic disorders, you should get a medical exam and clearance from your doctor before beginning any strenuous exercise activities. The Exercise Prescription: High Intensity Strength Training and other High Intensity Anaerobic Activities such as Sprinting create physiological adaptation beyond increases in size and strength of lean body tissue. High intensity training of large muscle groups stimulate your endocrine system to produce and utilize critically needed hormones such as Human Growth Hormone (HGH) and testosterone. When you increase the endocrine systems production and utilization of hormones your body will begin to regenerate all other physiological systems and improve Body Composition, Strength and Functionality. To accomplish this goal, Intensity must be high: 8RM (Repetition Maximum) or heavier for strength training and near maximal to maximal for activities like Sprinting. Obviously, if you are just starting out you will have to build to this level. A sample building program would look like: Weeks 1 and 2: 15RM Weeks 3 and 4: 12RM Weeks 5 and 6: 10RM Weeks 7 and 8: 8RM Weeks 9 and 10: 3-5RM The Program Design: Build your program around the big muscle movers: Glutes, Quads, Gastronemius, Pectorals and Back. Since these are the biggest, strongest muscles in the body, you can stress the body and endocrine system to the maximum with high intensity exercise targeting these areas: the Squat, Deadlift. Heel Raise, Chest Press, Seated Row, Lat-Pull-Downs and Hack Squats should be the foundation of your program, with other exercises for the remaining muscle groups to build the skeletal muscular system in symmetry and balance. A Sample Program Design (First Week)

Squats – 15RM
Stiff-Leg (Maintain 15 degree knee bend) Dead Lift – 15RM
Chest Press – 15RM
Seated Row – 15RM
Heal Raise – 15RM Tricep Extension – 15RM Bicep Curl – 15 RM Overhead Press – 15 RM Crunch – 15RM Trapezius Shrug – 15 RM

Use the Gradual Progressive Overload (GPO) Principle to slowly build intensity from 15RM to 8RM or heavier over 6-8 weeks. This program will regenerate all 10 Components, but maximally develop 3 of the 5 critical IFPA Components of Fitness: Strength, Anaerobic Endurance and Body Composition. Make sure you work all exercises through a full range of motion (ROM). Ideally, start each movement at 120% of resting length to maximize muscular contractions and improve flexibility. Use the 2-4sec system: 2 seconds, exhale on the forceful (concentric: muscle shortens/weight goes up) contraction – 4 seconds, inhale on the recovery (eccentric: muscle lengthens/weight returns to down position) contraction. Later, you can consider a High Intensity Program called Super Slow where you perform either or both concentric and/or eccentric contractions: taking 10 seconds to complete one or both phases. When you look at all the theories of why we age, each specialty has their own specific reasons: The Endocrinologists see critical hormone production decreases The Geneticists see the telomeres shortening The Gerontologists see the “Wear and Tear” theory The Internists see the loss of mitochondrial efficiency Some years ago, I was asked to make a few presentations at a medical conference. In between my lectures, I attended some other presenters’ lectures, one of which was a World Acclaimed Expert on the Aging Process. Something about his presentations made a “light bulb go off!” He sparked a new concept in my mind on how I thought of Krebs Cycle (the Aerobic Energy System) and what and how we utilize the mitochondria to produce ATP inside our cells. The result was that I recognized limitations in what are many of our most popular and “traditional” aerobic exercises and created a new exercise method that is designed to maximize the use of mitochondria in a maximum number of muscle fibers. I titled these exercises Bell Protocol I and Bell Protocol II. The limits on traditional aerobic exercise is that most do not target every muscle in the body and the muscles they target are not exercised through their full range of motion (ROM) or functional range of motion (FROM). Cross-Country Skiing comes the closest to working the most muscles aerobically and the research has showed these athletes consistently showed the highest MET (Metabolic Equivalents) of all athletes tested, but even this does not target all the muscles of the body, nor does it work all the muscles it targets through their full ROM or FROM. Therefore my goal to regenerate mitochondria to peak efficiency requires aerobic exercise for every muscle, in the body, over the complete ROM/FROM of each muscle, and the exercise should be maintained for a minimum of 16 minutes since Krebs Cycle begins after 16 minutes of continuous activity on the targeted muscles. Bell Protocols achieve these goals. Bell Protocols are integrated exercises, meaning four or more exercise movements are integrated into one smooth movement. Bell Protocol I: Starting Position: Start in wide stance squat position with a pair of light dumbbells held in the hands at shoulder position; at completed Bicep Curl position (you will begin the movement with the eccentric motion). Eccentric (downward) Execution Part I: Begin the eccentric movement of both the Squat and Bicep Curl to complete the eccentric phase of both movements simultaneously. You will now be at the bottom of the Squat with the arms in the fully extended position and dumbbells close to the ground, slight pause at bottom. Concentric (upward) Execution Part I: Begin the concentric (upward) movement of the Squat and Bicep Curl to arrive at the top of both motions simultaneously (Back to Stand). Concentric (Upward) Execution Part II: Smoothly and simultaneously execute a HEEL RAISE and OVERHEAD PRESS with a slight pause at the top. Eccentric (downward) Execution Part II: Slowly, smoothly and simultaneously execute the eccentric motion of the HEEL RAISE and OVERHEAD PRESS to return to the start position. CONGRATULATIONS! You have just completed your first rep of Bell Protocol I…you have 99 more to go. Cautions: 1. If your client is already so deconditioned that they cannot sit or return to standing from sit without needing help or using their arms, they will not be able to perform Bell Protocols. Use GPO and other aerobic exercise to condition them to eventually perform BELL’s. 2. BELL PROTOCOLS are low intensity, long duration aerobic exercises. If it becomes anaerobic you will be defeating the purpose. Many beginners will need to eliminate some or all the overhead pressing movements to remain aerobic. Any overhead motion creates the “Pressor Response” that can increase heart rate. To avoid excessively high heart rates, beginners can skip some or all of the overhead pressing movements, use GPO to increase the total overhead presses. 3. The goal should be to perform BELL PROTOCOLS for a minimum of 16 minutes working up to 30-60 minutes of continuous movements. 4. Select a weight that enables you to remain aerobic throughout the motion 5. Review the IFPA Key TEACHING POINTS for each movement and the appropriate Safety Guidelines. BELL PROTOCOL II is performed in the same way as BELL PROTOCOL I except you will perform a FEET TOGETHER STIFF-LEGGED DEAD LIFT (knees maintain a 10-15 degree angle throughout the movement) with a REVERSE WRIST CURL. Immediately transition to a HEEL RAISE with a REGULAR WRIST CURL simultaneously with a TRAPEZIUS SHRUG. That is 3 separate exercises in one smooth movement. BELL PROTOCOLS use many more muscles, muscle fiber and mitochondria than any other aerobic exercise, will improve Agility, Balance and Coordination and by using the core musculature during the movements (especially during the HEEL RAISE/Overhead Press motion), improve Flexibility and Body Composition and may increase muscular hypertrophy (approximately 45% of all the muscle fiber in the body is Type I Aerobic Fiber and since we are targeting many more fibers, we can hypothesize that these motions can create hypertrophy in these previously non-targeted tissues). Best regards, Dr. Jim Bell, CEO IFPA

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