Building Muscle After 40

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Older Guys Can Still Make Gains

Researchers from the University of Oklahoma compared persons of all ages who participated in the same eight-week program. They discovered that men between the ages of 35 and 50 built exactly as much muscle as those between the ages of 18 and 22.

 DEXA (duel-energy x-ray absorptiometry) scans revealed that college-aged males grew around two pounds of muscle, whereas middle-aged men added 2.5 pounds. Furthermore, both groups had equal strength improvements in the bench press (7 pounds for college-aged men and 14 pounds for middle-aged men) and leg press (55 pounds for college-aged men and 40 pounds for middle-aged men).

The essential principles for gaining muscle mass as you get older are much the same. Yes, the amount of times you've traveled around the sun has an impact on how quickly you progress. However, because you can't change your age, it's pointless to be concerned about it. All you have to do is train wisely.

People of all ages respond to instruction in a similar manner. The only thing that fluctuates is the size of your results and the speed with which you get them.

So, whether you're in your forties, fifties, or even sixties and want to grow muscle without risking injury, you may still achieve fantastic results by following a few easy principles.

Embrace the Light

The essential principles for gaining muscle mass as you get older are much the same. Yes, the amount of times you've traveled around the sun has an impact on how quickly you progress. However, because you can't change your age, it's pointless to be concerned about it. All you have to do is train wisely.

People of all ages respond to instruction in a similar manner. The only thing that fluctuates is the size of your results and the speed with which you get them.

So, whether you're in your forties, fifties, or even sixties and want to grow muscle without risking injury, you may still achieve fantastic results by following a few easy principles.

High repetitions and light weights (3 sets of 30 to 40 reps) increased muscle development exactly as much as heavy weights and lower reps in one research (3 sets of 10 to 12 reps). Three sets of ten repetitions to failure have identical muscle-building results as seven sets of three repetitions with a considerably larger weight.

Japanese researchers discovered that slowly lifting a modest weight increases muscle growth and strength to the same level as heavy lifting at a regular lifting speed. So shake it up a little. To increase muscle, heavy weights, medium weights, and low weights can all be utilized successfully.

Keep Moving

Rest is the traditional technique of treating with an ailment. However, you may be better off relocating if you have certain injuries.

Eccentric training, a type of resistance exercise, has been demonstrated to be particularly effective in the treatment of tendon pain in both the elbow and Achilles tendon. It appears to be more effective than surgery in some circumstances.

Swedish researchers looked examined the impact of severe eccentric calf training on a group of 15 middle-aged recreational runners who had been diagnosed with Achilles tendinosis, which is a deterioration of the tendon's collagen caused by prolonged usage. They'd been in agony for around 18 months on average. Subjects were instructed to proceed with the experiment.

The discomfort was so severe at the outset of the research that it prevented them from jogging. All of the runners were back to their pre-injury levels following 12 weeks of daily eccentric training (3 sets of 15 repetitions twice each day). A control group of 15 runners who had the same diagnosis and symptoms for the same amount of time received standard treatment. The traditional therapies were ineffective. The control group's patients all required surgery.

The inclusion of an eccentric exercise known as the Tyler Twist to a normal physical therapy program resulted in a “significant improvement” in symptoms in a group of late-forties patients with tennis elbow. For around 6 weeks, they completed three sets of 15 reps every day. The majority of patients responded well to the therapy. Even after all other treatments—physical therapy, cortisone injections, and pain relievers—had failed, similar outcomes were reported in a group of men and women suffering from golfer's elbow.

There's also some fascinating evidence that suggests that regular heavy strength training is equally effective as eccentric training for tendon discomfort. The study examined three distinct treatments: corticosteroid injections, eccentric single-leg squats, and heavy slow (6 seconds per rep) resistance training, which was published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports.

The researchers in this study underlined that discomfort while exercise is "usable," but that it should not worsen after the session is completed. All three therapies yielded similar effects after 12 weeks. After six months, though, it was a different story. The eccentric and resistance exercise groups, in particular, maintained their gains, whereas the corticosteroid group regressed.

If you're hurt, the first thing I'd recommend is seeing a therapist rather than attempting to figure it out on your own. And if what I'm saying conflicts with what they're saying, follow their counsel rather than mine.

Stimulate, Don’t Annihilate

It's all too easy to persuade yourself that you're not working hard enough, since you're not growing muscle. While a lack of effort is clearly one reason why people fail to gain enough muscle mass, it is far from the sole one.

There are many folks who work out really hard yet make little or no improvement despite their efforts. You could assume your training was beneficial if you walk out of the gym feeling like you've just fought a heavyweight champion for multiple rounds. However, if it isn't part of a defined strategy that leads to a specified objective, a lot of your time and work will be squandered.

Several things will happen if you continue to push your body to its limits in every workout. You'll have that “wired yet exhausted” feeling in the evening, where you want to sleep but can't. You'll be looking at the ceiling, puzzled as to why you're still up at 2 a.m. Your heart will pound the next day, and you'll be just as fatigued as you were the night before.

Trivial things that you never even noticed before will start to annoy you. You’ll feel anxious, moody, irritable. Worst of all, your results in the gym will dry up, and you will gradually start to get weaker. You need to train hard enough to stimulate progress, but not so hard that it has a negative impact on the quality of your other workouts.

Hard work is a tool used to stimulate a physiological improvement. It’s a means to an end, rather than the end itself.

Blast and Cruise

Your body isn't a mechanical device. It needs a break now and again. Include a "cruise" week for every 3 to 9 weeks of intense training (also known as a deload).

Three weeks of rigorous training followed by a rest week is a commonly acknowledged technique, however I'm not aware of any study to support it.

It is not required for everyone to deload after three weeks. If I told you to deload "when you felt like it," you'd be unlikely to do so. And your body was not built to go "all in" for 52 weeks of the year.

In general, the closer you go to your genetic potential (i.e., the upper limit of your size and strength), the more frequently you'll need to deload. Those that are further from their genetic potential will have a harder time reloading.

Stretch What’s Tight.

In recent years, static stretching has been widely questioned. This is due to the fact that it fails to perform many of its functions. Stretching has minimal effect on muscular discomfort, and it doesn't appear to help with injury prevention, according to the majority of studies.

However, if you feel that particular muscles are a little "tight" (the most typical culprits are the hamstrings, hip flexors, quadriceps, and gluteals) or that your flexibility is "asymmetric" (one leg feels significantly tighter than the other), it's worth trying some static stretching to see if it helps.

Stretch any "tight" muscles for a total of 60 seconds every day if you want a simple prescription for flexibility.

Stretching for 60 seconds increased flexibility faster than stretching for 30 or 15 seconds in a sample of 65 to 97-year-old people with "tight" hamstring muscles. Furthermore, those who stretched for 60 seconds stayed more flexible for longer than those in the other groups.

When it comes to developing flexibility, one 60-second stretch or six 10-second stretches perform as well. The key to progress appears to be overall daily stretch time, regardless of the length of a particular stretch. Don't be dismayed if your flexibility reaches a limit. Flexibility, like other things, is impacted by your DNA.

Your inherited amount of flexibility is linked to a gene called COL5A1. You can be fairly flexible if you have one variant of the gene, but not if you have the other. This implies that the rate at which your flexibility develops, as well as the point at which it stops increasing, are both out of your hands.

Three Is Enough

There is no one-size-fits-all training schedule that works for everyone all of the time. There are no hard and fast rules that indicate exactly what your exercise program should be at any age.

You could be comfortable with a routine that entails lifting weights four to five times per week. If that's the case, keep doing what you're doing.

However, based on the research I've read and my experience with clients, anyone in their forties should follow a regimen that involves lifting weights no more than three times per week. It provides you more recuperation time and separates large, hard workouts like the squat and deadlift in your training.

Take Your Time

Many young people in their late teens and early twenties will stroll into the gym, do a few arm circles, and then get right into the hard lifting. If you're over 40, you'll get hurt sooner or later if you take this strategy. You must set up time to adequately warm up.

The type of warmup you undertake will be determined by the nature of your workout. It will also differ from person to person, based on the environment in which you practice, your strength, and other factors. So let me show you how I go about doing it.

I prefer to begin each workout by pedaling on an exercise bike for around 10 minutes at a low level. A rowing machine will do the trick as well. This helps to boost your body temperature, which is one of the key reasons why workout performance appears to be greater in the evening than in the morning.

The length of time you spend doing this will be determined by the training environment. If it's terribly hot outside, a few minutes on the bike or rowing machine can suffice. If it's chilly outside, you'll have to take a bit longer to warm up.

I'll open my training journal and write down what I'm planning to do while riding my bike. This helps me focus on the upcoming workout by clearing my thoughts. I don't have to think about anything since I have a plan written down. All I have to do now is stick to the plan and train as hard as I can.

Next, I execute 15 repetitions with an empty bar on my first exercise, which is generally one of the compound movements like the bench press or squat. Then, over the course of many sets, I gradually raise the weight. All of this aids in the preparation of the joints, muscles, and neurological system that regulates those muscles for the next hard job.

A good warmup can help you avoid injury and increase your performance, but it doesn't have to be long. Foam rolling, dynamic activation drills, and a variety of "alignment" exercises can all be beneficial at different times and for different people.

Don't just follow what others are doing; find activities that will benefit your body and workout.

Pick Your Battles

Some persons are more adapted to particular activities than others according to their bone structure. You might not be designed to do deep squats with a heavy barbell over your shoulders, floor deadlifts, chinups on a straight bar, or full-range bench pressing.

If you have short arms and long legs, it will be much more difficult to deadlift from the floor without curving your back than if you have long arms and short legs. That isn't to say you should abandon the deadlift. Instead, practice rack pulls from a starting posture that lets you to keep your spine curvature normal.

Use a suspension trainer if doing chinups from a straight bar hurts your wrists. Instead of being stuck in the same position during the exercise, your wrists may move freely.

Try the floor press if the bench press affects your shoulders. Stop the bar about 2 to 3 inches from from your chest. Alternatively, use dumbbells with your palms facing in and elbows closer to your torso (This one simple change is frequently enough to alleviate shoulder discomfort nearly immediately.)

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