After 40, you start to deal with training differently, especially if you are “old” in weight lifting years. I began lifting at the age of 12. My body has more wear ‘n tear than a normal 40-something.
Men that are past 40 just cannot train the same. You will get hurt or start regressing because of your lack of recovery. While you want to keep getting stronger and lifting more, it is much more important to stop any regression that might come from a worn-out body.
So your best option is to recognize that you are not 20, make some changes and keep training and prevent decay all the way into your 70s.
Which changes? Here are three new rules to work on:
1 – Don’t Train Too Often
You need more recovery days to allow your body to grow optimally. Sure, you could train for six days in a week, but you won’t be able to get the most adaptation and growth from your workout.
An older lifter will get more benefit doing on-a-day, off-a-day, or doing three workouts per week, than he will from 5-7 workouts each week.
2 – Your Last Rep, Get It Right
This is a rule all lifters should take to heart, but it is even more crucial for older guys. Make the last rep of every exercise your best one. Make it your rep where you’re super focused, put the best effort possible into using the right form and technique, and really feel that muscle working.
On the last rep, people tend to take advantage of momentum or do slight technical alterations to bring the weight up. Don’t do this. Don’t cheat or lose that feeling of your muscle working just to get the rep done.
Also, doing a cheat rep increases your chances of injury and might not even deliver a better stimulus.
3 – Start Doing Grip Work
The connection between grip strength and better aging is well researched. More grip strength in older adults is correlated with less risk of premature death, lower disabilities, and less hospitalization after injuries and health problems.
Grip work can actually help in slowing down the decline of mental functioning as you get older.
There is a positive connection between grip strength and mental functioning in older people. Grip strength is very neurological. You do not have much muscle in your hands, so the difference in your strength levels is more about neurological efficiency.
But how can your grip help your nervous system? Because of your homunculus.
It is a distorted “human figure” where every body part is sized relative to the amount of information sent to and from your nervous system.
The body parts that give more information to your brain are bigger, while those that give less information are smaller.
So by challenging your hands using grip work or complex moves like guitar playing, you can also challenge your nervous system and can keep it in top shape. Plus, it helps you lift more, and helps you lift more safely.
Author: Scott Dowdy