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.
If you could only choose five movements for the rest of your life, which five would you choose?
Co-Owner MADabolic CLT
General Manager MADaboloic CLT
Shortly after graduating from Davidson College where she played four years of Division I Field Hockey, Finley found her home at MADabolic Charlotte, where she now serves as part-owner and General Manager.
2x Conference Offensive Player of the Year
2x Conference Overall Player of the Year
Current Davidson College record holder for: career points, career goals, single season points and single season goals
SFG 1 (StrongFirst Kettlebell)
ISSA Strength Specialist
ISSA Sports Nutritionist
Precision Nutrition 1
Ideal for strengthening the posterior chain, supporting posture, and preventing injuries, the deadlift holds the gold standard for teaching proper lifting technique. Not to mention…picking shit up and putting it down will always be an essential human activity…and the ability to do so safely is even more essential.
The most basic, yet underrated and poorly performed movement of all time. When properly performed, your entire body is engaged. Better yet, no equipment required…you can do these anywhere.
Turkish Get Up (any and all variations)
The TGU entails a series of methodical movements that demand you transition your body through multiple planes – from lying down to standing up and back to lying down….all while stabilizing weight overhead from start to finish. It wraps upper body strength, lower body strength, core strength, stability, mobility, motor function, and cross-lateralization into one magnificent movement. Furthermore, it demands focus, composure, control and a hell of a lot of patience.
As far as pure leg strength goes (and I won’t insult your intelligence by explaining why strong legs will serve you well for life)…squats are where it’s at. I also prefer the specific front-loaded squat for additional core engagement. Plus…when are we ever lifting things behind us in real-world application?
Supporting core strength is a common denominator of all 5 of my movement choices – and the Farmer’s Carry is no exception. However, more worth-while for me here might be the FC’s emphasis on grip strength. As humans, we predominantly interact with our respective environments using our hands – oftentimes through the act of holding and carrying. With a strong grip at your disposal, it’s pretty awesome to be able to carry a heavy load of groceries from your car to your kitchen in one trip…to be able carry your bags when you travel without assistance…to be able to hold your kid for an extended period of time, and so on.
General Manager MADabolic DMV
Various high school sports, Division 1 Football Walk on, university Air Force ROTC, journeyman powerlifter, novice rock climber, and one time marathoner.
US Academic All-American (Lacrosse-2008), awarded high honor in physical fitness as AFROTC cadet, served as term Director of an international service program in Vietnam promoting higher education through sports, and in 2020 supported a community through movement to achieve running a half marathon distance while educating and empowering those to understand and combat racial/social injustices.
StrongFirst Group 1 Kettlebell (SFG-1)
StrongFirst Lifter Barbell (SFL) (In Progress)
BioForce Certified Conditioning Coach (CCC)
Precision Nutrition Level 1 (PN-1)
PNOE Metabolic Analysis System operator
USA Football Concussion education
CrossFit Level 1
Grip, grip, grip! This has always been a personal favorite. Literally the definition of power is work over change in time. So let’s move heavy shit for as long/far as we can! But I’ve come to love grip-focused movements even more now than ever as a human-performance geek and reviewing the growing, recent clinical studies on grip strength as a biomarker of current health status and future outcomes. Have a look for yourself, always do your research!
Turkish Get Up
The ultimate compilation of necessary movement and functional aspects of life. I’ve personally been in the position from a sport-related back injury where, for a period of time, I was unable to get out of bed simply by sitting up and I was only 25 years old at the time (fast forward 3 years to being rear-ended by a car going 55mph while I was stopped at a stop sign and going through a similar grind!). I could write a multi-part article about the many components of this movement which is why MADabolic excels in teaching this movement through two easily approachable phases: the Turkish Tripod and the Half Get Up. The two class-based phases prioritize: unilateral movement, midsection integrity, conditioning through time under tension, body awareness, and fortifying the shoulders. Most importantly as we age and continue incorporating this movement we can continue challenging ourselves through a heavy load under tension, simple body flow without weight for recovery, or a personal favorite is taking a shoe at the top of my fist (or inverted kettlebell) and prioritizing breathing, balance, and coordination.
Apart from developing leg strength, maintaining mobility (particularly in my ankles/hips), and just that we all need to squat, I’m not laying out on the ground doing sit-ups! Take on a front loaded squat in class and tell me you aren’t getting an “ab workout.” I particularly like the goblet squat as another opportunity to develop grip strength.
We need to hinge and we need to do it well. The deadlift is foundational in developing proper lifting technique that also transcends to other movements and is simply a great way to build strength. I’m going to be the old guy that’ll still be at least pulling my bodyweight from the ground.
Simple, technical, and being someone that enjoys traveling I can take one anywhere. From simple two-foot bounce, high knees, to advanced footwork, we can continue aerobic development, agility, stimulate the brain (go for continuous / uninterrupted efforts), improve bone density with low impact, and I’ve incorporated it as a recovery tool following heavily strained days to bounce back faster!
General Manager at MADabolic Asheville
Jane started as a competitive swimmer through high school and quickly transitioned into weightlifting. She has been a trainer at MADabolic Asheville for the past 2 years, and a licensed massage therapist for the past 7! As a LMT, her main clientele consists of athletes and those with sports related injuries. When on the training floor, she is hyper focused on body mechanics and form.
Deadlift (any variation)
Picking something up off of the ground is an everyday moment. Varying from picking kids up off the ground to carrying a heavy box when moving. We do this every single day, yet so many people underestimate the use of body mechanics to utilize leg strength vs back strength.
Talk about whole body strength and ultimate core engagement.
KB Bird Picker (RDL)
Most people have under developed hamstring and glute activation, this movement will force you to utilize these muscle groups while focusing on stability.
Absolute effective movement to build upper body strength, and scalable to all fitness levels.
Single Arm Farmers Carry
Have you ever had to carry all of your groceries in with one trip, while talking on the phone? Enough said. Farmers carry (specifically single sided) is, again, an every day movement, that trains grip and core strength/stability.
Owner of MADabolic Austin
Professional Basketball player in Europe .
Qualified & played on the Professional Beach Volleyball Tour (AVP)
StrongFirst Group 1 Kettlebell (SFG-1)
StrongFirst - Combat
CrossFit Level 1
D-Ball Over The Shoulder Cleans
The very first movement in the very first MAD class I ever took was the DBall O-T-S Clean. It was at the MADraleigh location and I want to say Lindsay was either coaching the class, or taking it with us. Coming from a CrossFit/barbell background, I was shocked to find a group workout setting that incorporated such a safe, yet powerful and functional movement with the amount of weight I was accustomed to moving. That move in and of itself sold me on MADabolic. Any time it's in the workout, it brings me back to day 1.
The Swing and its variations are everything you need. From grip strength, hip drive, glute activation, anti-rotation with the single-arm swings, etc. Every athlete should be doing swings in one shape or another.
Squatting to depth, adding in a press, or launching a heavy ass ball from the bottom of your squat is a pure of a movement that there is. You wanna talk core strength... try loading up with a super heavy Dball, squatting to depth and launching that sucker way overhead. I'll take a dose of that over crunches any day!
Another line item of why I was sold on MADabolic. Once I figured out my footwork (PIVOT!!!), and how to drive my punches from my core, it was game over. Boxing is, and forever will be my favorite part of any workout. There's always more to learn and improve, no matter how advanced you think you are.
As much as I consider any of these movements to be my Kryptonite, I know I need them in my life. Bear Crawls, Bird Dogs, Body Saws; you name it... I'll be the one in the corner dropping F-bombs and shaking like a leaf, but I know it's the best thing for me.