Old Man Strength. A physical quality that entails unforeseen strength of an individual, including unexpected techniques based off of life experience, and the ability to conquer others based on having more age age than them. (Source: Urban Dictionary, definition 4)
I have friends of similar age or younger that are suffering from the effects of time and a general lack of self-care. I know others age 45 and up that continue to strength train,and in some cases still compete at a high-level. Most experience some degree of physical discomfort due to past training injuries,but a few have managed to keep this in check and lead highly mobile and relatively pain-free lives. I believe the latter represents an optimized state.
I put this situation along the continuum of Older-Untrained/Detrained, Older-Trained and Older-Optimized Training.
How does one work towards optimizing themselves as they age?
Improvement. It is possible to improve even from disadvantaged starting points. You are never to old to start.
Recovery. Our ability to recover reduces faster than our ability to increase physical abilities. All the good stuff from training happens after you leave the gym.
Realities. Impressive? Yes. Does he appear fit? Yes. Could I do it? I’m not sure and don’t have the equipment to test it. Is this something I would have a beginner do? No. Did this person take time to build himself to this level of ability? I can safely speculate that he did. What is the benefit of the exercise? I don’t know, anything I could offer would be a guess. I see value in regressions of this exercise as well as progressions past standard planks and push-ups.
First things first, does the individual have the necessary joint integrity,isometric force generating capabilities and tissue tolerance to even be put into a plank position? If yes, how long can it be maintained?
Exercise Selection and Management. An exercises level of difficulty is based on the client defined abilities and the selection of any particular exercise starts with a few questions, For whom? For what purpose?(1) What is being managed, and how is it being measured? I personally go with exercises that represent the greatest level of challenge the individual can control and successfully recover from.
Balance. Life takes place in all planes of movement. It pays to train in all three planes and not to overtrain a singular movement pattern. I’ve seen enough firsthand evidence of this among older distance runners, martial artists and powerlifters to convince me of such.
(1) From The Science of Sports Training (Kurz), The simplest division of exercises are exercises that are directly applicable to the need, exercises that may not be directly applicable, but still prepare for it and exercises that reduce the potential for injury or overtraining, or aid in the recovery process