Strength Train for Longevity

I came across an Instagram post the other day that read something along the lines:  Strength training isn’t all about getting muscles and grunt work; it is about being able to perform basic life movements, being able to get off the floor if you fall, being able to hold your kids when they need to be picked up, and being able to move fluidly as you age.

Oftentimes, we see people gravitate towards cardio only and neglect strength training. Strength training is not just centered around barbell work.  It is meant for everyone of all lifestyles, and comes in different forms: resistance bands, kettlebells, dumbbells, wall balls, plates, sandbags…there are so many variations! 

A Harvard Medical School article states: “Once you reach your 50s and beyond, strength (or resistance) training is critical to preserving the ability to perform the most ordinary activities of daily living — and to maintaining an active and independent lifestyle.” In the end, it’s meant for living a healthy life. Longevity is key.

When it comes to strength training, you should be training the 6 movement patterns (with a few examples of each):

  1. Squat

    1. Barbell squat

    2. Goblet squat

    3. Front squat

  2. Hinge

    1. Kettlebell swing

  3. Lunge

    1. Bodyweight, farmers lunge, goblet lunge

  4. Carry

    1. Farmer’s carry, suitcase carry, goblet carry, medicine ball carry

  5. Push

    1. Bench

    2. Push up

    3. Overhead Press (strict, push)

    4. Tricep extensions

  6. Pull

    1. Barbell row, dumbbell row, banded row

    2. Pull ups

These are all movements we program into our personal training sessions and group classes. There’s a reason why we focus on these movements repeatedly. We adjust these movement patterns appropriately to our clients based on experience, skill level, fitness/health goals, and age.

Dan John, a well known strength coach, says that he expects people to do the following movements for as many years in the future as they can:

  • Stand on one foot for ten seconds.

  • Hang from a bar for 30 seconds.

  • Standing long jump your body height (for distance, not height!)

  • Squat down, hold for 30 seconds, and stand up.

  • Farmers walk bodyweight for “some” distance.

  • Get your butt to the ground and get off of it again by just putting one hand to the ground to assist (or none!)

These movements are all basic, but are mastered and kept through proper strength training.

What other things should you do for longevity?

  • Sleep 8+ hours a night

  • Optimize your nutrition with whole foods

  • Invest time in mobility work for your body

  • Relieve stress through mindful actions like meditation, breathing techniques, or journaling

  • Take rest and recovery days

As Dan John says:


Train appropriate to your age.

Train with appropriate reps, sets, loads and exercises.

Train with some fun.

Train with passion.