More and more people are starting to train with weights, either to improve their physical condition, as a way to prevent future problems or injuries or, simply, as a new hobbies.
However, starting to train at a certain age requires a series of considerations, as over the years we lose flexibility, our metabolism changes, muscle recovery after an effort is not the same as with 20 years, the risks of injury they are older, etc … And, of course, not all routines are valid after 40 years.
What to do before starting to train at 40 years old?
1.Prior medical review
Since our intention is to start a physical activity, it would be advisable to go to our doctor to perform a small medical review and rule out problems that may involve an injury or something more serious during sports.
As an example, point out that 3 out of every 4 runners have never done an effort test and they go on the adventure of running. This has caused, as can be seen in recent years, a slight increase in the number of cases of deceased runners in various tests.
In the case of weight training, we must bear in mind that our muscles, tendons and ligaments are not the same as when we were teenagers. In addition, and as an important point, if during our life we have had a sedentary lifestyle, we must be very careful when starting any type of physical activity, since our body will not be accustomed and the risk of injury will be higher than the normal.
2.Food and rest
As the years go by, our basal metabolism and our circadian rhythm (sleep regulation, hormonal regulation and brain activity among others) changes.
Basal metabolism (the calories you consume our body at rest) is reduced, so it is necessary to go adjusting our diet, because if we keep the calories when we passed the barrier of 40 have a good chance of gaining body fat not be that we increase the calories expended through physical activity.
The adaptability of our organism decreases with age and, therefore, progress will be slower (although there are always those who have better genetics or adapt better to the efforts than the average).
Here, it will be vital a good routine or a good personal trainer to give us the progressions in the exercises and adapt the routine to our progress (beware of the coaches who do “copy-paste” routines of the internet).
Benefits of weight training in people over 40
Although the ideal scenario is to have had an active life physically from a young age, this does not mean that starting at the gym at 40 will not bring us any benefit.
Training with weights will allow you, among other things, to slow down cellular aging and improve your physical tone, and the latter is quite important, since having a good muscle base will make it more likely to suffer injuries at more advanced ages , fractures or, simply, that we are unable to even get up from a chair without help (the vast majority of people of advanced age who are sedentary or are physically limited to get up or walk have a deficit of severe muscle mass which causes these ailments ). So, as the saying goes, “it’s never too late if happiness is good.”
Advice for people over 40 who begin to train with weights
As we mentioned before, at that age our body, flexibility and strength will not be the same (especially if we have always been sedentary), so that warming becomes vitally important when it comes to preventing injuries.
While at 20 we could do a rapid warm-up and get to lift the weights “quietly”, at 40 years the warming up should be slower , to put into operation all the muscles and make our joints more flexible for the work we are going to do .
The progression in the use of loads, in my opinion, should be slightly conservative that is to say (whether we have been exercising all our lives because of the wear and tear that our joints will have accumulated, or if we are beginners), it would be better if we sin by default. Kilos that by excess. This point is linked to what we mentioned above about patience. Better a slow and sure progression to want to get strong in two months and seriously injure ourselves.
We must also point out that, if we are beginners in lifting weights, it is more than likely that at the beginning we will have a very rapid progress and suddenly we feel that it slows down or that we stagnate. This is totally normal.
3.Rest and recovery
As we have already said, at this age rest and recovery become more important. Metabolism, loss of fat and muscle gains will be slowed down from 40, so the adherence that we have been having to our diet and our physical activity will become important.
Do not despair and rest as much as necessary. If you need two days of rest between sessions,
Take them: you will avoid injuries in the future and over- train .
4.Enjoy what you do
It is useless to try to copy other people of our same age or worry about things over which we are not in control. Think that the time you spend in the gym helps you to disconnect from your workday and your worries. Exercise is one of the biggest and best anti-stresses in the world.
Modification of weight training at 40 years
Not even elite athletes get to train the same after the 40, so do not intend to train as when we were teenagers. We will have to modify our routine and adapt it to our particularities, lifestyle, work, previous injuries, etc … And what can we say if we have been sedentary people?
Although many people think that the best work and the best results are achieved with free weights, without a doubt the work in machines is very important both as a rehabilitation element and for sedentary people who start exercising. In addition, we must bear in mind that in the majority of occasions the work with free weights requires a correct technique for its execution and to avoid injuries.
2.Bars and cufflinks
These two elements will allow us, without a doubt, a greater profit, but we will have to introduce them gradually as we gain the necessary strength and technique for a safe and efficient use.
The unilateral training can help us to correct muscular decompensation and, even, to have greater strength gains, since it allows us to work with higher loads than bilateral work and allows us to concentrate better on the movement.
For example: performing squats on one leg with the other resting on a bench will allow us to improve our balance while preventing one leg from dominating the other in the ascending phase.
4.Repetitions and weight
Until relatively recently, we tended to work with x series of x repetitions with x weight in a generalized way. But times change, and therefore, it is much better (although perhaps more difficult to “fine-tune”) to use a range of repetitions that is comfortable for us (but as comfortable we should not understand that it does not involve effort, since then we would not be doing a good job).
For us to understand: until recently we tended to work with a% of our RM (RM = Maximum Repetition) and now we are starting to work with the RPE or RIR calls (Reps in Reserve or Reps In Reserve).
5.Muscle training frequency
The million dollar question: what is the optimal training frequency of a muscle? Well, the answer is very simple: That which allows us a correct recovery.
Can you train with weights at 40?
6.The dreaded “rabbit whole”
When suddenly we lose all our attention and “disconnect” from reality, it is said that we have fallen into the so-called “rabbit whole”. And this is what happens, unfortunately, with the Internet today.
There is a lot of information and it is very easy for people to access information that is not entirely correct or that is nothing more than chatter, which can lead to losing our time in the gym following unfounded or erroneous advice or, directly, to suffer an injury. Therefore, we must know how to filter and contrast all the information we obtain through the network.
What would be the best routine after 40?
Impossible to answer this question in a concrete way. Each person is a world, so it is impossible to talk about a “training routine from 40”. The best option, without a doubt, is to put you in the hands of a personal trainer that adapts the routine to our situation and lifestyle.