Whip out your driver’s license.
If your date of birth is pre-1980, congratulations—you’re screwed.
Seriously, just because you’re over 40 doesn’t mean you have to train like a geriatric after a hip replacement.
In fact, some of the greatest bodybuilders in the world didn’t hit their prime until 40 was well in the rear-view. Although, most did have to make some simple yet effective age-related tweaks to their training.
1. Avoid failure in the basic barbell lifts.
Training to failure works—though so do many other methods. But once you get both older AND strong, those redline sets make a massive dent in recovery—not to mention a greater risk of injury.
Stop the big barbell lifts 1-2 reps shy of failure, and always use perfect form. The machine alternatives, like Hammer strength chest presses, leg presses, leg curls, or cable rows?
Get your bro on and take the last set to the limit!
2. Have pump days.
It’s chest ‘n’ shoulders tonight, but you didn’t sleep well and you’re feeling tired from rushing around all day. As soon as you slid that first 45 onto the bar, your brain said, “This feels heavy today.”
Ten years ago, you’d snort an ephedrine sandwich and make it happen.
Today, you’re smarter—skipping the planned workout and hitting chest and shoulders for a seam-splitting PUMP: High reps, short rest, and lots of machines and cables.
30-40 mins, max, and you’re on your way home.
The biggest thing that separates a 40-something from a guy in his 20s is being forced to accept that EVERYTHING is connected.
A 23-year-old can party ’til 3am and still set a squat PR the next morning. In your forties, more than two drinks and all bets are off that you even show up to the gym.
This is where age really isn’t “just a number.”
* Get to bed earlier.
* Practice good sleep hygiene—7 days a week.
* Eat high-quality food.
* Walk more.
* Don’t stress about bullshit.
Apply the above three modifications to any basic tried & true program, and you’ll make far greater progress than you would following some goofy, over-40 workout.
Mind you, it won’t be cutting-edge.
But none of the stuff that actually works ever is.
– Coach Bryan