April 25, 2021 | John Paul Catanzaro
The loss of muscle mass, strength, and function as you age can increase the risk of falls. Weak muscles and bones are often the culprits. Elders do not fall and break their bones – usually, their bones break first and then they fall!
Weightbearing exercise is crucial, but it’s not just the big muscles you need to train, even the small ones are important, especially the toes.
Many trainers coddle their senior clients with nothing but machine work. Which exercises are better to prevent falls – leg extensions, leg curls, and leg presses or step-ups, split squats, and single-leg deadlifts?
“Dig your big toe into the ground” and “monkey-grip the floor/step” are two of the cues I often give to help clients “root” themselves during those ground-based exercises.
Also, there are some advantages to training barefoot. Arnold used to do it all the time, but if that’s not incentive enough, it’s a good way to “wake up” dormant muscles in your feet! Try it one day.
Take-Home Message: Grip training should not only apply to fingers. Don’t neglect your toes! Toe strength can improve balance in the gym and reduce the risk of falling outside the gym.