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Hacking Longevity

balance longevity shoulder press strength training Jul 08, 2024


By Carla DiGirolamo MD, CFL1


So much attention is paid to longevity - living our best lives for as long as possible - and for good reason! We all want to enjoy our time in this life to the fullest.


For women, midlife brings hormonal changes that result in a decline in muscle and bone massJoints can become less stable with the hormone-induced changes that occur in the tendons and ligaments. Collectively, these physiologic changes can leave us at greater risk of falls, fractures, and joint injury.


A recent study in the journal Menopause, reviewed previously in Athletic Aging, Factors Impacting Longevity in Midlife Women, highlights several components important for longevity; however, the one very notable factor was the association between fractures and decreased longevity.


As women age, falls become the predominant event that can lead to a fracture. For athletes who engage in sports with an inherent risk of falls or contact injuries, this landscape looks a little different. Whatever your level of activity, the components that help prevent falls and injury are the same: Bone strength, balance, muscle function (mass, strength, and power), and joint stability.


This week’s workout focuses on these components by attacking fall risk from different directions. The back rack lunge targets balance, core strength and thus joint stability, and bone density. The shoulder press challenges the upper body by helping to build mass and strength in the shoulders, thus lending stability to these joints and simulation for the bones.




Set your SmartWOD app for TABATA 20 seconds work / 10 seconds rest x 4:30 (3 rounds of all 3 movements)


For each movement do 20 seconds of work then 10 seconds of rest before moving on to the next movement. Complete all movements in sequence for a total of 3 sets.


TIP: When performing any kind of lunge keep your feet hip-width distance apart during your lunge. Your feet are NOT one in front of the other like on a balance beam. This makes balance difficult. Instead, be sure that your feet remain hip-width distance apart to create a “base” as you alternate side to side through the repetitions. This becomes even more important when you are lunging with weight. Protect your knees by centering your bent knee over your ankle - NOT beyond your toes.


Movement Practice


Use the 3 warm-up sets to find your workout weight. Start with the shoulder press. Try between 5 and 20lb dumbbells or a 25-55lb barbell. You should be able to perform 10 repetitions unbroken.


Then using the same weight, perform the reverse lunge. For the workout, you will be doing a total of 20 repetitions (10 on each side). If your shoulder press weight is too heavy to achieve 20 reverse lunges, then reduce the weight.

**The reverse lunge is a complex movement that requires balance. Be sure you feel stable and confident in your movements with the weight you have selected. It is okay to reduce your weight – it will give you more opportunity to do more reps on your max rep shoulder press sets!


3 sets




For the max rep shoulder press, do as many repetitions as you can before the movement becomes ugly. For safety reasons, do not strive for complete failure of the rep. Stop when you sense that your technique is wavering.

** The intensity of this workout lives in the time domain. Set your SmartWOD app for EMOM 3:00 x 5 sets for a total of 15 min, or simply set a regular timer. Stick as closely to this time domain as possible for best results.


Every 3:00 for 15:00 (5 total sets)

  •  20 Back rack reverse lunge
  •  Max rep shoulder press

Rest for the remaining of the 3:00 interval

** Your score for the workout is the total number of shoulder press repetitions.




Here’s a “Balance Challenge” that you can do on a day by itself or as a cool-down to this workout. Try this 20-minute yoga segment from Five Parks: Power Flow with Advanced Balances

Try this lower back / hip-opening sequence for a nice cool-down stretch. Dynamic Hip Flow segment from Train FTW.

Perform this sequence alternating sides for 3 rounds on each side.

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