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Modern Training For Modern Life

Updated: Jul 21, 2022

“it’s a modern life, but its not what its ‘sposed to be”

Devo, Modern Life

Its 5:30pm and you’re putting the finishing touches the last email of the day, when your kids rush into the room. Filled with energy and big smiles they ask if you can come outside and play basketball with them before dinner. Although tired from a long day, you acquiesce – you can use a little exercise and fresh air.

You head outside and play a little two on one for about half hour. After a quick shoot around, you get started. They make the first shot but, you settle in on defence and deflect a ball, chase it down and turn it into an easy layup. Its winner’s ball, so you decide to flex a little by cutting in between them and dunking on the 6-foot net, shouting JOORDAAAAN! In the end, you let them win, but you had fun and got a little exercise in the process.

If this is the only dunk you feel safe doing . . . you should keep reading.

Modern life for a lot of people right now is pretty fucking sedentary. I've got a slew of clients complaining about how much time they're spending sitting at a desk and how stressful zoom call after zoom call can get. But if you have kids, grandkids or even a dog, you want to be able to play with them after work - and that could mean running, jumping, playing catch.

But how can you expect to go from 0-100 faster than Drake . . . without pulling a hammy or rolling an ankle? Just think about all the skills involved in just playing a simple a game of pick-up basketball: running, jumping, changing direction, side shuffle and backpedaling . . . that’s a lot of stress on your body - if you’re not prepared for it, that is.

Once you’ve hit your 30’s your workouts should shift towards helping you outside of the gym, more than just a bathroom mirror. I think that training like an athlete is the perfect way to achieve the body you want, that’s resilient enough to handle anything you ask of it – without hobbling around for days complaining about your knees or lower back.

So, what does that mean? Simple, train these 5 traits when you hit the gym: run, jump, lift, throw and carry. That’s where I would start. Dump that old body-part-split routine on that poster you’ve been following since high school in favour of total body workouts – I recommend doing at least two or three full body workouts per week, but you could do more.

Jump: If you do don’t use it, you lose it

We lose power faster than any other quality – roughly two times faster than strength. Every decade after you turn 40, your power declines by 17% compared to 10% in strength loss. That means by the time you’re 70, you’ve lost 30% of your strength and just over 50% of your power output (1). Despite that, I don’t see many people doing plyometrics inside of the gym.

Most people think power is simply jumping high or sprinting fast, but that’s only one aspect. Power is also your ability to land softly and stop or decelerate – think of it as your body’s braking system and just like driving a car or bike, you’re fucked if they don’t work properly.

So when you do a jumping exercise like box jumps, put your ego aside and focus on a nice quiet landing, not the box height. The louder you land, the more stress you’re putting on your muscles and joints. But you don’t have to just do jumping exercises, you can do short hurdles or agility ladder work to develop springy ankle muscles and tendons, too.

Throwing is also a neglected power movement. I love them and so do my clients, because they’re fun and can even be a great stress reliever. I had one client think of an annoying person at work when they threw the ball into wall - even shouted their name as they threw it. Mix up throwing angles from chest passes, overhead slams and side tosses against the wall, so you train power in different positions