Here’s how to keep the pace whatever your age.
Hitting the 40 mark and beyond is a sign to start accepting that you wont get the shape back you had in you’re 20’s and 30’s, right? Tell that to Dwain ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Matt Damon and Jason Stratham. Three men in the peak of physical condition in their 40’s who would disagree.
Below we’ll share a trove of training techniques and exercises every man can use to make any age their best.
Just because you’re older doesn’t mean the “big” heavy exercises like squats, pull-ups and deadlifts are all of a sudden too dangerous too include. Perform these exercise correctly and these movements will offer the biggest bang for your exercise buck.
However, performing these exercises correctly starts to become even more important with age. So if you want to start lifting safely and effectively you should do the following:
- Practice the technique – and don’t stop learning it. Think “I can lift that better and slowly progress with the load”, and you’ll continue to lift right the way through to your old age.
- Start with warm up sets. These can get started with light weights and even without any.
- Never train through pain.
- Work on your “required sets and reps” then take recovery break between. Max-rep or “ego lifting” can be a disaster waiting to happen.
- Never start with a heavy lift.
- Rotate variations of your exercises periodically. This will prevent overuse, prevent boredom and encourage a more balanced physical development.
In fact, older lifters should do more isolation techniques – especially when trying to bring up a weaker body part. These exercises focus more on movement / muscle connection combinations and should help clean up your technique and get the most from the exercise.
Since isolation exercises for example, bicep curls and calve raises aren’t as taxing as bigger- move exercises, sets and repetitions can go right to failure, which is a powerful muscle growth tool.
Of course, quality of training time matters. If you only have 30 minutes to work out, prioritize big lifts after a short sharp warm up and not 30 minutes of cables curls.
Exercise variety is commonly overlooked as a muscle growth tool. If you use a bigger exercise toolbox, the better your results.
As exercise scientist Brad Schoenfeld notes in a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning, your muscles’ architecture supports variety during resistance training. If you want them to grow, you must work them in different planes of motion and at different angles.
Furthermore, if you’re older and bodies feeling a bit more ‘sensitive’ something as subtle as a change in grip width or hand position can be enough to mitigate pattern overload injuries.
Or you can just be stubborn and keep loading your beloved triceps extensions for another 25 years.
Every “two days a week” gym man works out with a constant eye on the clock, while few recreational lifters will ever come close to overtraining their bodies.
So here’s a checklist of what to do.
- Perform shorter but more intense work outs more frequently. Around forty-five minutes, three-five days a week. A rule of thumb: a few hours after you complete your work out, you feel as if you could do it again.
- Use variations every three-six weeks.
- Manage and track volume. Volume is great for building muscle tissue, but it can drain you too. Instead, push volume in periods. You could do six weeks of more intensity then one-two weeks of de-loading volume.
- Low intensity cardio. Steady-low intensity cardio such as a long walk or swimming is an awesome recovery tool. It helps burn fat, improves mood and mental clarity, and boosts cardiovascular health – things all older guys need.
Stress can’t be bargained with. Keep pushing it and it will burn you out. Here’s some practical stuff that works around a busy lifestyle.
- Sleep more. I know you know this. You’re surviving on five hours, not thriving.
- Slow down. When overwhelm hits, take some deep breathing and go for a 15-minute walk. Running through your mental to-do list won’t help. You need to re-set your brain.
- This part can be confusing for many people. You’re taught that in order to lose weight and get stronger you must exercise, exercise, exercise. The problem with some forms of exercise is that they actually put an increased demand on the body and an increase on cortisol levels. Here’s more on: Ways to manage stress and weight loss