Aging Athletically - Part 1


Aging Athletically - Part 1

About a decade ago, our Co-Founders came across a thought-provoking article that helped shape their vision and prompt an ongoing conversation about the brand and program they were actively building. 

The article was titled "The Whole9 Five Movement Series", spearheaded by the team at Whole9. Its goal was to dissect and promote critical components of lifelong health and fitness. Over the span of this three part series, 12 of the industry's top strength and conditioning coaches were asked one simple question…
“If you could only perform five exercise movements for the rest of your life, which five would you choose?” 
Nearly 10 years later (rather than reinventing the wheel), we've decided to borrow this creative format and ask a select group of our most experienced trainers across the MADabolic footprint the same exact question. Their insight is informative and may even be surprising at times. To parallel and honor the original article, you can expect this three part series to include two sets of interviews as well as a summary from our Co-Founders, Brandon Cullen and Kirk Dewaele. 
Aging Athletically? 
If you could only choose five movements for the rest of your life, which five would you choose?


Lindsay Riggsbee
Trainer at MADabolic Raleigh

Lindsay has a degree in Health and Fitness, has coached many types of fitness classes over 18 years, and has been a MADraleigh trainer since 2014. She also owns Dilworth Bodyworks, a massage therapy practice in Raleigh, NC and has 17 years experience as a Licensed Massage Therapist. Lindsay works with a variety of massage clients, including professional athletes. She is a therapist with the USWNT and was a part of the 2019 World Cup team.

Overhead Carry
Whether you're carrying a plate, medball, or performing a single arm waiter's carry, this move encourages shoulder and core stabilization. It strengthens the upper back, thoracic spine, and abdominals. To walk/move while carrying overhead ups the challenge while a single arm variation activates these muscle groups even more. 

Farmer's Carry
Another type of Carry, but this one focuses more on grip strength. Grip strength is needed for picking up/carrying groceries, opening containers and many other everyday activities. When performed correctly, you also work on engaging the rhomboids and trapezius, which supports posture by opening through the anterior shoulder and chest. Moving through this carry targets the lower back, core, and legs as well.

I feel like the squat is a given. As much as we go from sit-to-stand and stand-to-sit daily, maintaining strength in this movement is key as we age. Squats help to support range of motion in the hips, gives us a strong posterior chain and provides us with better body mechanics when picking things up ("lift with your legs, not your back"). Adding in a weighted element (goblet hold or front/rack hold with a weight) increases the intensity and gets the heart rate up. A thruster is also an elevated, more intense option.

Step Ups
Step ups, like squats, are extremely applicable to our daily activities. We need to be strong in single leg movements. Balance and stability is challenged with a Step Up. When the move is broken down, you focus on the single leg push off, mid section engaging during the step up, maintaining an upright torso and keeping the knee tracking out to stay in alignment. To increase the workload, try a single arm kettlebell by your side or in the rack position to really activate those muscles.

Renegade Row
I love a row movement. Mainly because our lives behind a computer/phone or driving a car inevitably gives us rounded shoulders. Performing a row (when zeroed in on form) combats that posture by strengthening our upper back. With a renegade row you are basically activating the whole body: you are holding a plank which works core stability, you are firing up the arms with each row, as well as the glutes and legs for balance and spine support and then with the addition of the push up.....need I say more?


Corbin Jennings

Owner of MADabolic Arlington

Owner of MADabolic H Street

Athletic Background:





Precision Nutrition Level 1 (In Progress)

Front Squat Variations

Allows us to safely get through a fundamental movement that we do all the time. It also places a lot of emphasis on our core stability.

Deadlift or KB Swing
We hinge a lot and - from what I’ve seen - many people’s glutes are underdeveloped and don't want to work the way they should. No better way to fix that than through the hinge.

TGU (Turkish Get-Up)

Hip, core and shoulder stability through multiple planes of motion. If I had to pick a single movement to do for the rest of my life, this would be it.

Weighted Carry Variations

It doesn’t get much more functional than this. You need to be able to safely walk with a load.

Single Arm Row

Many of us stay in bad posture at a desk all day, and this works to counter that.


Dakota Brown

Ops Lead at MADabolic CLT

Athletic Background:

Multi-Sport Collegiate Athlete Baseball/Football

Lenoir-Rhyne University 





Precision Nutrition Level 1

The Overhead Press
A movement that is a true testament to upper body strength, the overhead press is much more than a shoulder builder. Core stabilization will play a huge role here, as the press is a great exercise for practicing full body tension. Compared to any horizontal press, the overhead fires all three delts to move the load, which will create a healthier upper back posture.
Hard-Style Swing/Hinge Variation
Any hinge variation is important to build the posterior chain, combat the anterior pelvic tilt we see in today's modern society, and teach people how to “pull” in a world of “push”. The hardstyle swing, in my opinion, is the king of all hinge movements. You have to create full body tension, engaging your core, PC, lats, and quads. The ballistic nature of the hardstyle swing means that it can (and should) be used as a low impact conditioning tool as well. Becoming proficient swinging a bell requires rhythm, something that we lose touch with overtime. Frankly put, if you are not swinging, you just aren't living.
Crawling Variations
Who knew that a movement you probably did in P.E. class as a kid would make it on this list? Crawling has so many benefits, I could write an entire article on it alone. Shoulder and core stabilization are going to be some of the big ones here. But moving through a contralateral movement pattern is something that can really help your coordination and get your CNS ready to go. The benefits of being loaded on the floor is great for people who may not be ready to move loads in a standing position. It also allows the hips to move in a full range of motion without putting pressure on the spine. It's a win, win, win, win movement and should have its place in every program. 
Loaded Carries
A no brainer. Almost every day we find ourselves carrying something, somewhere. Might as well do it right. Building grip strength carries over to almost all loaded movements, but being able to stabilize under load is something most people struggle with. Carry variations will teach you how to lockdown your midsection, breathe under stress, and break through mental barriers. Whether it's overhead, racked, or farmers carries, the loaded carry is a movement that could take your strength gains to the next level.
Lunge Variations
As much as I wanted to have the squat on this list, the lunge takes priority. Training unilaterally will reveal some of the imbalances you have created over time. In my opinion, it's actually an easier movement to perform than the often botched squat. We spend more time than we think moving through space on one leg, why would you not incorporate that into your training? One of the unique things about to lunge is you can train it through a few different planes of motion, or different directions for different benefits compared to some of the classic (still important) bi-lateral lower body movements. 


Ashley Mol

Owner of MADabolic Burlington

Athletic Background:

Full Scholarship Division 1 Soccer Player 
Niagara University



StrongFirst - Kettlebell Fundamentals
StrongFirst - Combat
StrongFirst - Kettlebell STRONG
Strive Life L1 Certified

With a focus on pure athleticism, striking involves core, shoulder, and hip strength - all while requiring coordination, control, and power through rotation. It's a true complement to all fitness, sports, and movement. I also love the confidence that's generated when you can strike powerfully, heavily, and correctly, as well as the mental satisfaction and stress relief that comes from hitting something. Let's also not forget how the ability to strike can help in times when you may need to defend yourself.
Turkish Get Up
A total body strength movement, the TGU asks you to engage with your body and mind, and reminds you of the importance of core strength. Between the core, shoulder, and hip stability involved, it helps to improve strength and mobility. This movement can also be hugely beneficial even without can reap plenty of the TGU benefit by simply performing it with your own body weight and working to create tension throughout the movement.
Hip Hinges - Deadlifts/Swings
It's all in the hips, and they don’t lie! Many people have tights hips, lack mobility, and need stronger backs. Enter hip hinging: everybody needs more of this work to strengthen their hips, low back, posterior chain, core, hamstrings, and glutes. Whether it be through pure strength (ex: with a deadlift), or incorporating explosive power (ex: with a kettlebell swing), it’s important in life to be able to lift things properly and feel strong doing so....especially the older you get.
UltraSlide - SlideBoard
This unique contraption keeps you in athletic motion, and encourages you to remain light, quick, and smart on your feet. And just as it's important to move forwards and backwards, the Slideboard helps generate equally important lateral power. Connecting your mind with movement, the Slideboard also promotes coordination, accuracy, and control. makes you feel like a kid again, and/or brings you back to your training roots.
Renegade Row
Involving the “Push Up” (the most underrated body weight strength movement), the plank (demanding stability and core strength), and single arm rows (key for shoulder and upper back strength), the renegade row keeps you strong, powerful, and in control. Proper technique requires the entire body to function strongly as a unit - a skill that will always benefit you throughout life.