Body Armour for Everyone
Updated: Aug 9
Let's talk real fast about protecting yourself.
I don't mean learning kung fu or packing heat, I just mean training your body to be prepared for bad things, like falling down some stairs. What would you do to protect yourself in advance from injury from something like that?
I'll tell you what I would do for you: strength training! What else? That's pretty simple, isn't it? Here's why you should do it. And yes, I mean you. The muscle heads and athletes out there don't need convincing. I'm talking to the desk jockeys and joggers out there.
So here we go. Why should you strength train for self protection:
First, it puts some meat on your bones. Dan John refers to hypertrophy training as armor building. You're literally putting more tissue around your organs and bones to act as a buffer from collisions.
Second, that muscle is a brace. Fat can definitely be protective from collision as well, but fat isn't contractile, like muscle is. When you fall and impact, you automatically tense. Agonist and antagonist, all your muscles knit up, acting like a splint to your bones and joints, and especially protecting your spine. In general, if you have more muscle, you have more brace.
Third, that brace is more active and effective when you are strength training regularly. The tonus of your muscle will naturally be greater from your training, meaning that your muscles contract faster and harder. If you know even just a little bit about properly bracing through your trunk, then you will protect your spine better.
Forth, those bones within that brace are denser. The max density of your bones depends on what you were doing as a kid and young adult, but if you want to keep that density up, you need to strength train. Cardio training just won't do it. You need to put yourself under load. This is important for anyone, but especially for our highly respectable elders to protect against bone degeneration and muscle wasting that impairs their quality and quantity of life.
Bonus: If you've trained a little bit on how to fall properly, which everyone should do, all the better. You get extra points.
So a normal, non-trained person falls down some concrete steps, flops like a rag-doll, breaks an ankle, or if they're very unlucky, a hip...Recovery time? Six weeks for the bone to heal, possibly life long pain and they never get their normal movement back. A trained person? They bounce down the steps like a tough wad of meat. It looks painful, and it probably is, but at the bottom they stand up, are surprised not to be hurt other than some bruising and scrapes, dust themselves off and continue about their day. If something does break, trained people recuperate faster. Either way, probably should still see a doctor, because things get knocked a bit loose from a tumble like that, but its certainly a better outcome.
So cease your silliness and grab some iron, we have some armor to build!