I have covered some common workout mistakes that hold people’s progress back in previous posts, but these are a little different because I am looking specifically at older people here. That isn’t to say that younger weight trainers won’t get a lot out of this advice as well…
Consider your exercise goal
If you have exercised throughout your life as I have, then you gain a more patterned perspective of age-related exercise regimens and things have come full circle in my case… As I have stated before, age is no barrier to making improvements, but you need to change your perceptions as you journey through the ages.
Like most (if not all) young men, I started working out on weights to put on muscle weight. Then I changed when I took up the sport of Olympic Weightlifting because competing in a specific weight class meant that I had to control my weight and the only goal was to lift as much weight as possible overhead in the two lifts. Then when I retired from competing I was interested in helping young sports people develop the condition that best suited their sport. With that I looked at circuits as the best vehicle to develop their condition and experimented with this type of weight training. But as I got older, as far as a Weight Training routine goes, I have gone back to working on hypertrophy again because this is the best type of program to prevent the loss of muscle weight as we age.
So the short and main point I want to make here is to take into account your age as you go through your exercise journey as your goals will change.
Keep continuous tension
I have pushed the idea of keeping continuous tension on throughout the movements you use and also completing full movements but be aware that if your aim is to develop (or maintain) muscle size, you need to shorten some movements to keep this continuous tension on. In the Deadlift exercise, for instance, if you lift the weight to the full standing position you release the tension at the top of the movement. So in this instance don’t go to full extension at the top and don’t place the weight down on the floor when you reach the bottom – stop the movement just before the weight touches the floor. In this way you always have continuous tension throughout the whole set. Of course you may have to use a lighter weight, but if it is hypertrophy you’re after, you will gain far more from the exercise and it’s not so hard on the body.
Slow your pace right down
If you are looking to gain or to maintain muscle tone, you would have heard about the best repetition range being between 10 and 12 for three sets. Rarely does anyone recall that the researchers used the classic one second for the positive movement and three seconds for the negative movement with a slight pause at the bottom of the movement. In this way a set of 10 to 12 seconds takes between 45 and 60 seconds. If you are exercising through your sets at a faster pace it will take you a lot less time to complete your sets therefore you will lose the benefit of using this repetition range. So go slower through your sets if this is the case.
So it is not the exercise you’ve using that will make the major difference in ensuring you are getting most out of your workouts, but how you are doing them…but may I make the proviso that some exercises are best steered clear of…and the photo below is not me…