Age – it’s something that even the best bodybuilders has to face eventually. As any older bodybuilder will say, with age comes certain changes to the cardiovascular and strength training programs to account for slower muscle development, weaker bones, and lower lung capacity, among others.
What then should you do as your body ages and years of heavy lifting has resulted in accumulated injuries and early-onset illnesses? Here are a few things to remember to continue your bodybuilding journey in an older body.
Focus More on Machines
While bench presses are excellent exercises for muscle size, your shoulders may be unable to take them anymore especially when you have injuries (e.g., torn triceps) in this area. You are well-advised to shift to machine weights since these offer muscle resistance without the stress of free weights, not to mention that many of the former are designed to replicate the latter.
Instead of heavy lifting, you can perform strict reps using lighter weights to shape the muscle. You may look larger in your younger years but you will find that you look better and feel healthier with your current look.
Consider Your Body’s Needs
As with bodybuilding during your younger years, you should listen to your body – what it demands, where it hurts, and why it hurts the way it does now. If you have pain on your shoulders, wrists, and knees, for example, you should avoid standing dumbbell presses since your pain will worsen, not to mention that your triceps will be unable to support the movement.
You can, fortunately, exercise on machine cables as well as perform incline and dumbbell flat presses. Your leg exercises can be leg presses but not squats since your knees may be unable to take the latter’s stress.
You have to experiment with what works best for your body’s current condition. Your doctor, physical therapist, and personal trainer have specialized information that you can apply for this reason. Keep in mind that if you continue your old workout routine on your older body, you are placing your body under unnecessary stress, perhaps even increasing your body’s risks for irreparable damage to the joints.
Less is more. This is an adage that will work better as you age especially as recovery time becomes more important than before. For example, you can cut back your sets to just 3 per exercise and 4 exercises for every body part.