How much muscle can a natural, advanced lifter add after the age of 40? I’d want to tell you that they may continue to build a lot of muscle, but it’s not true.
Here are the ugly truths about muscle growth and aging. Don’t get too worked up, though! I’ll also give you four ideas to help you make the most of it and keep your gains coming.
Also, as you get older, your physiology changes:
Testosterone levels will decrease.
IGF-1 and growth hormone may decrease.
Stem cells are reduced as a result of a lower IGF-1 level. Stem cells are required to heal muscular damage. The fewer the stem cells you have means it’s more difficult to build and repair muscle.
Chronic systemic inflammation is also a possibility. This can have a significant impact on your muscle-building potential because it lowers insulin sensitivity.
You lose nerve cells and suffer from atrophy in others. Strength will be reduced as a result of this. It might be more difficult to maintain and even increase muscle mass if strength decreases. The muscular tissue is resistant to loading when it has been conditioned to a specific level of stress. If your nerves no longer allow you to generate as much force, the lower degree of muscular tension generated while training may not be adequate to stimulate growth.
Life frequently wins out. You have a lot more stress if you have a family and a full-time job, which will limit your ability to develop.
4 Tips the Over-40 Lifter Needs
Don’t ever let up on your efforts to improve. You may be shocked by how much you’ve been able to achieve. At the age of 41, I attained my greatest physique, and I’m still capable of getting a little better. Here are some pointers for older lifters who want to keep improving.
1 — Don’t Always Train Hard
It may seem strange, but frequent periods of maintenance lifting might help your body become more receptive to training. You might call it “strategic deconditioning.” For the next three to five weeks, do the bare minimum required to avoid losing muscle. If you’re a serious lifter, that is going to be much lower than you think. Reduce volume, avoid pushing your sets hard (stop two or three reps short of failure), and concentrate on form rather than weight.
I prefer three full-body workouts each week, with three to four lifts per session. After that time, push hard for 6-8 weeks, gradually increasing the intensity of your workout every two weeks. I adopted this technique while doing more workshops. I trained 2-3 times a week for four weeks and didn’t have enough energy to push myself hard. But when I returned to serious weight lifting, I surpassed my previous bests.
2 — Use A Specialization Approach
This is something I started using with top level bodybuilders to break through growth plateaus.
When you are advanced, you’ll need something strong to push your body to adapt. However, if you increase the overall training stress, you will not be able to recover. Specialization is a great method to obtain that powerful stimulus without overloading your body.
Choose one or two muscle groups to work on. You may train them three days per week. Once a week, do maintenance level exercises for the rest of your body, either by completing everything in one session or splitting it into two parts. Then, every four weeks, change your focus to different muscle groups or a new lift.
3 — Focus On Creating the Look You Want
There’s a term I refer to as “muscle migration.” You can still improve the appearance of your body by manipulating WHERE you’re keeping THAT muscle after you’ve achieved an overall muscular physique near your capacity.
My chest and arms might shrink if I train like an Olympic lifter or athlete, but my hamstrings, mid-back, traps, and glutes improve.
My biceps and pectoral muscles improve if I train like a bodybuilder, but my glutes and hamstrings shrink.
My chest, arms, and shoulders get stronger if I train like a bro, but my overall lower body mass decreases.
In all three cases, my weight remains around 215, despite the fact that the visual effect is drastically different. When you’re close to your maximum muscular capacity, concentrate on growing muscles that will give you the appearance you desire. Purposefully put muscles that are not required for the desired “look” on the back burner. This is similar to specialization, but without changing every four weeks.
4 — Get Lean!
When people are thinner, they appear to be healthier. You can still improve your appearance by getting ripped even if you can’t gain a lot of muscle any more. I looked my best at 41 years old. I was actually smaller than I was earlier in my life, but the total image was better since I was much leaner. Even if you do not build muscle, you will still look great if you get down to 8% body fat.