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40 Is The New 20

In the video below, you will see a reader of the site who is 41 years old and still going strong. He demonstrates countless exercise variations that would humble most men half his age.

This man is not just physically strong however. What I liked most about his video is the creativity that accompanies his strength. He is clearly capable of training almost anywhere with almost anything. He is not dependent on any particular facility. The bulk of his training is performed with nothing but a pull-up bar and ordinary household items such as chairs. This man certainly subscribes to the idea that the world is his gym. It is always open and can be found wherever he goes.

It is also great to see yet another example of a 40+ year old man who possesses such strength and athleticism. So many adults in our world today have been fooled to believe that 40 is over the hill. Sadly, it has become the norm for parents in their late 30s and early 40s to label themselves as old. Speaking as someone in this age group, I literally hear these words uttered on a weekly basis. I am always left speechless when a man or woman who is younger than me describes themselves as being too old for brisk exercise.

40 is the new 20

Personally, I think it is pathetic that society is surprised whenever a 40+ year old displays above average strength and athleticism. I wish I could share these stories as just another day in the neighborhood. There should be no need to highlight this man’s age. We should just be able to appreciate his strength and creativity.

Unfortunately, much of society still believes otherwise. It is not as if people want to become sedentary and unable to enjoy the world around them. The real problem is that many intelligent adults honestly believe that they are too old for exercise. This notion has become somewhat of a wives’ tale that has been passed on from generation to generation.

With that in mind, it is videos such as that above which truly need more widespread attention. Not only do you see a 40+ year old who is strong and capable, but also one who can train anywhere without spending a dollar. He is truly self sufficient. Wherever he goes, you can be sure that strength and vitality will accompany him.

Yet, perhaps most importantly, these priceless attributes are not just available to him. Strength is readily available to almost anyone who desires it. Ultimately, it boils down to an individual’s willingness to display hard work, consistency, and dedication. And fortunately, you can work hard regularly without feeling miserable. It is not difficult to see that this man is enjoying himself. He obviously enjoys his time outdoors.

In summary, the man above provides yet another example that exercise can be fun at any age, and doesn’t need to break the bank. If you wish to stay active as the years pass, you need to stay active. It is as simple as that. There is no secret formula or equation that is yet to be solved. Strength and vitality are there for the taking.

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Growing old is a bad habit which a busy man has no time to form. – Andre Maurois

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Ben Jackson: Wrestler, Athlete, and Inspiration

Ben Jackson: Wrestler, Athlete, and Inspiration

Ben Jackson was born with cerebral palsy. At the time, doctors questioned whether he would ever walk or have the opportunity to experience and enjoy life. Many assumed he would be confined to a wheelchair and unable to interact with the world around him. Fortunately, Ben chose not to listen.

In the video below, you can hear from Ben and see what he has been able to accomplish.

What I like most about this story is how Ben refused to quit after failing countless times. He did not win a single wrestling match his entire first season. No one would have blamed him if he stopped wrestling at that time. Just getting out there to compete was already a victory. Ben had already accomplished more than anyone could have initially imagined.

That was not good enough for Ben however. He wasn’t on the mats to please others. He wanted to win and was not going to stop until it happened. He knew that it would not be easy, but he also recognized that nothing worth having is easy to acquire. Consequently, Ben trained harder than ever. He stayed up late to study video and refused to give up no matter how many times he failed.

Ben was also cognizant of his smaller victories. For instance, he mentioned that lasting a few extra seconds in a match was an early sign of progress. I think it is safe to say that we could all learn from this example. Instant gratification is a myth. If you want to accomplish something significant, you must recognize that failure is inevitable. Whether you succeed will almost always depend on how well you deal with failure. You can either hang your head low or stand up and learn from each step of your journey.

Each loss provided Ben with a valuable learning experience. If he had not endured that first challenging season, he would have never learned what was necessary to win. Fortunately, Ben exhibited the type of perseverance that is rarely found in today’s world. It is much more common for ordinary people to make excuses when they fail. Some people just cannot accept that more work needs to be done. It is much easier to give up and assume that it isn’t meant to be.

These people fail to realize that nothing is meant to be. Things happen based on what you do. No one is owed anything, nor is anyone guaranteed anything. You need to repeatedly show up and earn what you desire. Ben Jackson proved this harsh, but truthful reality on the wrestling mat, and now hopes to do the same in the weight room.

I certainly would not bet against him. I look forward to seeing Ben Jackson compete in 2016.

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In every match I would get closer to success, even if that meant being on the mat for an extra second than I was in my previous match. – Ben Jackson

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Training Blind To Enhance Proprioceptive Efficiency

Earlier this week, I posted a short Instagram clip of me skipping rope while blindfolded. Since I was wearing a Superman shirt, I jokingly mentioned that I was testing my x-ray vision. Afterward, I received a few emails from athletes who were curious if the blindfolded work was performed as a joke or if there were actual performance benefits.

To answer the question, I did post the clip as a joke, but there are potential benefits to performing certain skills while blindfolded. I first read of blindfolded practice many years ago in Mel Siff’s classic Supertraining text. His writings brought back memories of movies such as Bloodsport. If you recall the 1988 film, you may remember seeing Jean-Claude Van Damme practicing with a blindfold.

Blindfold martial arts

Blindfolded practice goes far beyond any Hollywood movie however. For example, Mel Siff highlighted the potential of such work to enhance proprioceptive efficiency. In layman’s terms, proprioception is our sense of position and movement. It has been described as our sixth sense. In other words, we don’t just see, hear, smell, touch, and taste. We also possess a sense or awareness of the position of our bodies.

As for relevance to training, Siff wrote the following:

The integration of information from all the other senses (sight, sound, hearing and touch, in particular), together with this proprioceptive information enables us to execute a given movement in the most appropriate way in terms of pattern, velocity, acceleration and timing. This involves coordination of eye-hand, eye-foot or body-apparatus, processes which receive a great deal of attention in technical training. Inadequate time, however, is generally devoted to specific training of proprioception…

One way of improving proprioceptive efficiency is to diminish or block input from other sensory systems such as the eyes… Research has shown that blindfolding does not disrupt motor activities; on the contrary, it has been found that exercises are performed with greater precision and stability when the eyes are closed or in darkness. The athlete remembers joint angles, the degree of muscular tension, the amplitude of movement and movement patterns best with the eyes closed and reproduces them more easily. Subsequently, when the movements are done with the eyes open, the athlete’s enhanced motor sensitivity is preserved and his technical skill improves.

With this in mind, it can be useful to briefly practice certain skills blindfolded. Jumping rope is one of many examples. Initially, you may find yourself drifting off in one direction. Shadow boxing for a fighter is another useful option. Many fighters will be surprised at how their balance fails when throwing combinations without vision. A few minutes of light practice can certainly prove useful. Siff even mentioned practicing Olympic lifts and powerlifting movements without vision.

In summary, I am not suggesting that you should always train in the dark. Blindfolded work does pose a unique challenge however that can enhance qualities that are otherwise ignored. Just a few minutes, a few days per week, is often all that is necessary.

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The only thing worse than being blind is having sight and no vision. – Helen Keller

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RossBoxing.com Is Back

For those who do not follow my posts on Facebook or Twitter, I wanted to let everyone know that I am bringing back my original website.

RossBoxing.com

I started RossBoxing in 2001. Many of the older readers here may know me from that original site. I look forward to bringing it back to life with a variety of boxing related entries. The revised site will naturally focus on boxing training with a particular emphasis on old school methods and fighters.

RossTraining will certainly remain as well, but will be updated within the next month or so. First, I will be moving the forum to a new server. Once the forum has been moved, I will then update the blog to become more user and mobile friendly.

I am not a techie by trade however so I cannot guarantee that the transition won’t come without a few hiccups. I will do my best to make the transition as seamless as possible though. If you wish to stay in touch with related updates, I will be posting any new developments to Facebook and Twitter.

I look forward to taking RossBoxing and RossTraining to new levels in the weeks and months ahead.

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Homemade Obstacle Course Training

There is no denying the increased popularity of obstacle course races in the last five years. It seems like there is a new course or event popping up in my area every month. Consequently, people from all walks of life have taken interest and begun to participate. As a result, it is not uncommon for my inbox to be flooded with questions about these events.

For instance, I am regularly asked how one can go about training for some of the specific tasks that will be required during the obstacle run. Others have asked if it is possible to construct a mini-course for general training.

Fortunately, it appears that obstacle course training can be easily replicated without breaking the bank. The video below offers a prime example.

You will be hard pressed to find a more low-tech course, yet you can be certain that this small space provides countless challenges. My mind is already racing with new ideas after seeing this brief clip. I am eager to add some obstacles around the outdoor hill sprint path that I created last year (see here).

Once again, it is amazing what can be accomplished when you combine creativity with ambition. Anyone who believes that a formal gym setting is required for general fitness has been brainwashed by the industry. The average person needs nothing more than to get up, get outside, and get moving.

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It takes half your life before you discover life is a do-it-yourself project. – Napoleon Hill

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