Sarcopenia is defined as the progressive loss of muscle mass and decline in strength or physical function over time. It is associated with a high risk of disability, decreased quality of life, and increased mortality. Sarcopenia is generally an age-related disease, but other risk factors include:
Chronic diseases such as COPD, kidney disease, diabetes, cancer, HIV
Inadequate protein intake
The reduction in muscle mass begins in our 30s!!!! We continue to lose 3-5% of our muscle mass per decade. So, that's the bad news!!!
But here's the good news: Sarcopenia can be REVERSED!!!
Sure, it takes some hard work and consistency over time, but STRENGTH TRAINING can do the trick! Strength training not only helps with muscle mass but also with bone density. And hey, who doesn't want to look better naked? Well, strength training can make that happen too (with assistance from good nutrition :)
Wondering which exercises to do for strength training? Let's start with my top 3:
These full-body movements can be adjusted to meet each individual's needs and consider previous injuries. Some might need to practice sitting and standing on a box, while others might use the TRX suspension trainer. Some might do bodyweight squats with elevated heels, and others might go for goblet squats, front squats, or use the barbell.
I also like to include these movements in programs:
Upper Body Push (Pushup, press variation, etc.)
Upper Body Pull (Row, pull-up, etc.)
Carry (Farmer Carry, rack carry, overhead carry)
Anti-rotation (anti-rotation press, dead bugs, etc.)
Rotational (chop and its variations)
I've got a personal goal for everyone I work with: to eventually hit a 1.5x bodyweight deadlift for ONE rep. Why? To become unbreakable.
Let me share a quick story from 3 years ago that I've mentioned before.
Three years back, I hired a coach to program for the StrongFirst TSC. The TSC involves max deadlifts, max pull-ups (or hangs), and max snatches in 5 minutes. About 9 weeks into the program, with just 3 weeks left before the competition, I decided to go kayaking on an active recovery day. I felt strong, grabbed the kayak, and carried it down the steps. Stepped onto a rock covered in a bit of water, slipped on some algae, and ended up falling hard on my hip, shoulder, and hand. I thought the competition was toast. But guess what? I stood up, shook it off, and realized I was fine (age on my side too). I messaged my coach and got this response: "The more you train, the harder you are to hurt." Obvious, right? More muscle mass, more bone density – you become nearly unbreakable, or at least tougher to break. Lower chance of injury or major harm.
So, it's time to kickstart NOW. Never too late to begin your strength training journey!
So, go pick up some heavy $h*t and put it down!