Men Over 40, Increase Leg Strength and Balance

Author, fitness model, and trainer Kirk Charles, NASM-CPT CES, knows that as you get older, life can get more complicated. But that shouldn’t prevent you from being on top of your game. He’ll help to answer the tough training questions that come with age so you too can be Fit Beyond 40.

When I was in my twenties and thirties, I was a little reckless with my body. I prided myself on fearing nothing when it came to sports and exercise, and physical contact didn’t bother me at all.

But now, in my late fifties and after a few too many missteps, I’m much more conscious of losing my balance and falling. When walking or even standing, I don’t feel as stable as I did years ago. What convinced me that my balance was flagging was the one-leg stand test. Simply standing on one leg is becoming more difficult for me—and, if I close my eyes, it’s almost impossible to stand for more than a few seconds without losing my balance. This is also a major concern of all my older clients when I test them, and they’re unsteady, too. So, the older someone is, the more I focus on core and lower body exercises to help with balance.

One exercise I use frequently to build lower body strength and balance is the single-leg Romanian deadlift (RDL) with resistance bands. First, stand on the band with your right foot. Grab the band with your both hands and get into a stance with your feet about 6 inches apart. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and brace your core. Next, shift your weight to your right leg, with your right foot flat on the floor. Lift your left heel off the floor while keeping the toes of your left foot on the floor to maintain your balance.

From this starting position, hinge forward at the hips. As your upper body leans forward, let your left leg rise behind you, but only as much as it naturally moves along with your hinge. As you hinge further and your upper body leans forward, maintain a slight bend in the knee of your right leg and make sure to anchor that right heel firmly on the ground. Also, you should only descend to a point that’s comfortable for your range of motion—once your hamstring feels tight or your back starts to round, stop for a count. This content is imported from {embed-name}. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

Once you’ve reached the extent of your range of motion and pause to test your balance, squeeze your glutes to drive back up to your starting position (standing straight up) and into hip extension. Pause for a count at the top, then return your non-working foot to the ground to reset before the next rep. Once your balance is on point, you can try to perform multiple reps in one go.

By fighting to maintain balance, you’ll feel your core and lower body totally engaged. Challenge yourself to 5 sets of 10 reps on each leg, two to three times per week. Do the reps at a slow pace with each leg to get more time under tension.

Source: Men’s Health