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Strength Training Over 40

Strength training is one of the keys to getting a lean body but as we get older we need to approach it differently. We need to pay more attention to how often we train, how many sets, reps and pay more attention to recovery.

Multiple sets of low reps

Multiple sets of low reps work very well for men over 40, they allow you to focus on the exercise, demand much less on the joints and ligaments and allow you to recover properly between workouts.

A lot of men over 40 lift light weights with high reps when they get older, but they don’t take into consideration the safety and productivity of the exercises.

Multiple sets of lower reps are far safer and are far better at improving lean body composition.

Once you’re over 40, getting and staying strong should still be an important goal, although you might not be going for world records, building strength well into your fifties and beyond will ensure you preserve and build lean muscle.

When building strength, high risk exercises should be completely avoided, and safe form learnt and practiced on all new exercises.

Use abbreviated routines

I remember a time back in my twenties when I first got interested in strength training, although I never aspired to be a huge bodybuilder, I used to train your typical split routine.

On Monday it was chest, Tuesday was back and so forth. I was doing multiple exercises, multiple sets, reps and a ton of volume.

Looking back, it was madness, no wonder I used to feel tired and sore all the time.

If I’d never learned about the merits of abbreviated training, I would probably still be trying to follow those crazy routines today and doing a routine like that once you’re over 40 years old is a recipe for disaster.

Abbreviated training routines cut your training right back to the essentials and focus on key compound movements.

For men over 40, compound movements build strength and boost testosterone levels.

A great abbreviated strength training workout could run over 3 lifting days per week on non-consecutive days. Each body part would be trained with no more than 2 key movements and by using multiple sets of low reps, total volume will be kept low.

That might not sound like a lot of work, but it works wonders for building strength and lean muscle as you get older without over training.

By strength training on non-consecutive days you’ll provide not only muscular recovery, but central nervous system recovery which is often neglected with typical workouts.

When the CNS is fully recovered you’ll have a stronger workout as the CNS fires the muscles in the first place.

You can’t train a lot as a natural

The fact is, you can’t train a lot as a natural lifter, many people neglect the demands of strength training on the body and this becomes even more important as we age.

Lifting weights demands a lot from your body and those that forge on regardless, lifting weights 4 or 5 times per week will eventually crash and burn.

I’ve seen this time and time again, those that switch from training 4 or 5 times per week, don’t think they’re doing “enough” at first but when their bodies respond better, feel much better rested and recover properly they soon realise the merits.

Fits in with your life

Abbreviated training is literally a life saver, once you’re over 40 years old you don’t want to neglect your family and career, but you still need a way of staying strong and lean.

By lifting two or three times per week and keeping your workouts short, you’ll fit fitness into your life rather than let it consume you!

Not only that, but the gains in strength you’ll make will be far better than a typical bodybuilding “split” routine.

This is huge, some men get so caught up in fitness and strength training that it’s all they think about.

Don’t let this happen to you, strength training is only a small part of your life and when you put it back into context you’ll progress much better with your workouts.

The package of sound abbreviated training, nutrition and rest is what will give you a lean, strong body well into your fifties, sixties and beyond.

Don’t let this opportunity pass you by, give it your all to follow a sensible abbreviated strength training program and you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve.

Home training

Right now, as I write this I’m still training at a commercial gym, however I’m working on getting my own gym setup in the garage and I recommend you do the same!

With your own gym setup, you can train without distraction and really focus on the exercises that matter without needing a lot of room for equipment.

If you get a decent power rack, a barbell, plates and perhaps a trap bar and a few other accessories then you’re set to have some very productive workouts!

Training at home won’t distract you with isolation exercises and keeps you progressing on the most important exercises that build lean muscle and keep you strong.

Training frequency

Men over 40 should train each exercise as often as they’re able to progress without causing injury. I trained each exercise THREE times every TWO weeks when I first started, then as I got stronger I further reduced the frequency of each exercise so that it only gets trained ONCE per week.

Training frequency is an individual thing, it’s something you’ll need to experiment with. From experience I know a lot of men over 40 do best with three times every two weeks on the smaller compound movements such as presses and rows and once per week on the biggest movements such as deadlifts and squats.

As they get stronger lowering training frequency NOT increasing it, is the key to success.

A lot of men who have built strength earlier on in their lifting careers can maintain their physiques on only TWO strength training workouts per week, this is an excellent way to train and very practical especially if you have a demanding job and family life.

The biggest exercises

Some of the biggest exercises for men over 40 are Barbell Deadlifts and Barbell Squats, but they’re still safe and highly productive providing you master the correct technique.

These exercises demand a lot from your body and I don’t recommend training them more than once per week unless you’re new to weight training.

The bottom line is, as you get stronger you’ll find you can’t train each major compound movement as often AND the frequency that works well for you at 40 years old, will not work when you reach 50 years old.

Strength training and getting lean

The best way to get a lean body especially as you get older is to start a sensible strength training routine revolving around the major compound exercises that are safe and productive for men over 40.

This is exactly what I outline in my course, Abs Over 40. Maintaining a strong and lean physique as you get older is one of the most important things you can do for your future health.

I really hope you found this article informative and if you have any questions then let me know!

To your success!

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    2 replies to "Strength Training Over 40"

    • Kevin

      Very informative article. Could you please share a typical workout routine for a week? Regards

      • Rob Richley

        Hi Kevin,

        thanks very much. As the website is still in it’s early stages I will write up some more articles of typical weekly workouts and start to include some videos. Keep checking back and if there’s anything I help you with in the meantime, let me know.

        regards

        Rob

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