We know that as you get older, life gets more complicated. But that should not stop you from being at the top of your game.
In 2007, I got stranded in Manhattan during a snowstorm. My boss and I had to go up more than 40 flights of stairs to reach his apartment so I could stay the night. While going up, we witnessed people sidelined inside the stairwell, completely exhausted, only able to get past a few flights at a time. When I got to the top, I was also worn out. That emergency led me to believe you can and should train to create strength for everyday actions like climbing stairs, especially as you age.
An exercise that will help create strength for stair climbing is the great Bulgarian split squat. This exercise fires up your glutes and quads better than standard and boring two-legged squats, forcing you to do one side at a time.
To start, get a bench, box, or chair that is somewhat lower than your knee. To avoid losing your balance as you try to get situated, kneel. Then put the top of your left foot on the box so your ankle is completely extended. Make sure your right foot (which is in the front) does not go past your toes and your shin perpendicular to the floor in a vertical position. Stand and get ready to start.
From this position, bend the knee that’s in front to go down, hovering right over the floor. Once you are at the bottom, wait for a second and then go upward to your starting position. As you go back up, squeeze your butt and your abs as much as you can and keep your shin vertical. You will absolutely feel your legs doing all the major with this move.
One very useful part of the Bulgarian split squat for guys who are older is the challenge given by the position. You will work on your balance by doing one leg—but you’ll also have a mobility challenge because of the unique situation with your bench foot.
Author: Blake Ambrose