Here's a different way to look at training for the older guy. Beyond sets and reps.
When I say "older guy" I am thinking over 35 years old. I know that doesn't mean you are old. Just a number I picked as things do change after 30. Most of the info can be applied to women also.
Do More of What You Like +Some That You Don't
What I mean by this is to find a training plan you enjoy. It's a simple yet often overlooked aspect of success with fitness.
Do things you like- movements, rep ranges, supersets, finishers.Don't stop doing biceps curls if you really love them curls for the girls.
Do what you enjoy but don't forget to do those things you suck at too. Most guys are weak with single-leg movements.
Do some walking lunges or step-ups once or twice a week. Toss in some sled work and you're good to go. No need to go overboard on this stuff, just keep it in the program.
Do some form of exercise daily. Seriously. You are busy. I get it. We all are. Find a way to get something done even if it’s just some bodyweight exercise at home.
Mobility is another word that has been overused lately so I won’t say it but you’ll feel better daily if you do things that help your muscles and joints like foam rolling, massage, body weight movements.
Go for a walk. Clear your mind of stress.
If you work a desk job make sure to walk everyday, ride a bike, run hills, rollerblade, ice skate, play tennis or football. Do something active for at least a half hour. Try a dragging sled.
The term ‘functional’ gets overused but I believe it’s important to do things in training that will carry over to activities of daily living. We all have to pick things up and carry them in different ways.
You can do this with dumbbells, kettlebells, a trap bar, strongman implements, sandbags, backpacks, bag of rock salt, lumber.
High reps are great for older guys. They can be done multiple times a week. Sets of 25 reps up to 100 reps per set are a great way to get blood into the muscle and to promote healing.
If you have an area that is sore or lacking do these and be ready for a mental battle. Part of the benefit of these is also the mental challenge as outlined by Jim Wendler’s 100 rep challenge.
Barbells Are Still Awesome
Don’t run from barbells. Just because you are an older dude (or dudette) doesn’t mean you are resigned to the cable machines and dumbbells.
There will always be a new toy that becomes popular like kettlebells, trx, stability balls etc. Everything works to some extent but the barbell is still king.
Unless you have injury restrictions that keep you from doing the basic barbell lifts then there’s no reason why you can’t squat, pull, and press with the bar.
Find a variation that you can do safely and gain strength with. Use any equipment available. If you prefer dumbbells, then use them but don’t forget about the barbell just because you aren’t 25 anymore.
Eat Right MOST of the Time
Nutrition, rest and recovery play a big role here as well. Make sure you are paying attention to these crucial areas and have them dialed in for maximum performance and general health and well-being.
Testosterone- Look into how to maximize testosterone from food and lifestyle. Testosterone serves many functions, not only sex drive, although an important one for sure. T will affect your energy, recovery, body composition, mood, strength.
If you like lower rep training and you have some experience with it, then by all means continue to do so. Know your true maxes and stay away from grinders.
It’s good to push yourself regardless of your age, but be smart about it. I don’t know about you, but I want to be able to lift weights until the day I leave this earth.
Cookie Cutter Programs
I can give a few solid routines here but I have moved away from cookie-cutter programs in recent years. Still, a good program has value. You can use it as a guide and change it to suit your needs.
A program like Jim Wendler’s 531 or Dan John’s Easy Strength would be a good choice. In my experience these kinds of routines work for 4 months to a year. Just remember, nothing works forever.
De-stress your life. Clear out your mind and your body from toxins. Doing this can go a long way to improving your health. Get rid of the excess negativity, whether it’s people, ideas or clutter.
It takes time to build muscle and strength and it takes longer now that you’re past the stage of newbie gains.
Don’t let this stop you regardless of age.
There are countless examples of people lifting big weights, competing and pushing themselves physically at any age.
Go on youtube and find some videos of master lifters and people with physical restrictions achieving great feats. Find that spark and never give up!
I have helped quite a few older guys (40s-50's) get stronger and lose fat with these methods. If you want coaching with me in person or online check out my programs HERE