Love him or hate him, everyone has to admit that Tom Brady knows a little something about staying in shape. Personally, I fall squarely into the “love him” category–so much so that my husband literally said in his wedding vows that he promised to love me as much as I love Tom Brady’s butt. So, yeah. It’s a little crazy, but if you’re from New England I think you get it. Anyway, back to the point. Tom Brady has turned his body into a well oiled machine and, despite some of his more “extreme” lifestyle choices (most of us aren’t giving up nightshades or caffeine, sorry Tom), there is one thing we can all learn from this loved/hated athlete: Pliability.
Muscle pliability is a fancy way of talking about how flexibly you are. While we might assume that a football player would spend most of his time in the gym throwing around heavy weights and not being able to touch his toes, that definitely isn’t the case here and I think there is an important lesson in that. Most athletes (and the rest of us amateur gym goers) will add in stretching as an afterthought; sure, we all know it’s important, but how much does it really matter? Well, it’s everything according to my boy Tom, and according to every client’s progress that I have worked with.
Tight muscle have happened to all of us, whether due to sitting at a desk all day or working out. Regardless of the cause, tight muscles are shortened muscle fibers that can cause discomfort at best and injury at worst. Have you ever seen a rubber band snap under tension? Well that can happen to a person’s muscles in extreme cases of tightness. Ouch. That sort of injury is exactly what Brady is looking to avoid with his focus on muscle pliability. Stretching, yoga, massages, foam rolling–all of these are ways to get your muscles to loosen up, improve range of motion, and prevent injury. Looking for increased strength without necessarily getting too tight? Add in some resistance bands and do moves that involve a full range of motion. These exercises will disperse the force you need to exert more evenly throughout the muscle and lead to less tension over time that other, more traditional strength training exercises.
This isn’t to say that we should stop lifting weights and only focus on pliability. Lifting heavy is important for bone density and healthy ageing too, but this is a good reminder of the importance of treating our muscles with a little extra care. If dead-lifting is your favorite workout, add in some extra foam rolling at the end of each gym session. If you love bicep curls, do some stretches that will minimize your soreness and improve recovery time. Fitness is about finding your balance and pliability (or flexibility) is a huge factor in overall health.
Tom Brady is a polarizing character to say the least, but as the oldest quarterback to win a SuperBowl and the first player to ever win six of them, I think we could all benefit from taking a look at what keeps his body working for him as he ages instead of against him. Love him? Hate him? Think his fitness plan is black magic? Let me know what you think in the comments!