Middle Age Training – Fitness for the Male Menopause

I recently listened to the Joe Rogan podcast, featuring Steve Maxwell, some great takeaways for the over 35s still training hard…

Super Slow Reps and Time Under Tension
Try not to worry about reps and weight so much, instead look to increase the time you can do an exercise for, without pausing in between ‘reps’.
For example, instead of smashing out chin ups; try slowing things down:
Take 4 seconds to slowly bring your chin up above the bar
Pause for 2 seconds at the top
Take 4 seconds to lower yourself down (95%, don’t lock out completely)
Pause for 2 seconds at the bottom
Then repeat for as long as possible.

Slow reps are less likely to cause injury, as is a lower weight.
I’ll do these reps for chins, then I’ll finish with one ‘explosive’ set at the end, as I still train in MMA and Jiu Jitsu, I need to be explosive in the ‘scrambles’ for positions.

Avoid Overhead Presses
Be very careful with your shoulder joints, these are almost always ruined in older guys who have trained intensely over the years.  Again use super slow reps if you must do overhead presses, and or use bands (my tips). Bands increase in resistance as you move/stretch them, so there’s less pressure on the joints.  I use chains when doing bench press, the weight is light when I start pressing, and gradually gets heavier as I extend my arms – and as the chain lifts off the floor.  This takes the stress off my shoulder joints a lot.

One Set Training
Something I was introduced to in uni, apparently Kelly Holmes would do one set training, as otherwise her running sessions would be negatively impacted.  Then Mike Mentzer has similar concepts with his Heavy Duty training system.  This is also good for middle aged men, warm up, do a couple of light sets, then one working set to failure. It works especially well if you are training for a sport – it’s easy to overtrain.

The best fitness for a sport, is generally doing your sport.  I love to do Tabata Intervals with a given movement from my sport.  For example, for wrestling I’ll do ‘sit throughs’ for a tabata interval.  Do 20 seconds of 100% intensity work (e.g. sprint like mad on a bike), then rest 10 seconds, then do another 20 seconds 100% intensity burst, then rest for 10 etc.
Repeat until you have completed 4 minutes in total.

Meriva Curcumin
Got this tip from Dr Rhonda Patrick. Found it great. Tumeric’s ‘active compound’ is curcumin, but it’s absorbed poorly. You can take it with black pepper to increase the bioavailability somewhat, but warpping in a ‘phytosome’ (Whatever that is) is proven to dramatically increase the absorption and anti-inflammatory effects.  More info here.



Keeping Fit into Middle Age

There comes a point, when you realise that lifting heavy weights, with horrific posture and poor technique, just isn’t a sustainable way to keep fit.

Here are some tips on keeping fit, as you approach your mid 30s:

1. Warm up like a mofo
Can’t emphasise this enough, one injury when your 35, and you might never recover.  Wear plenty of layers and get a sweat on before you do any explosive exercises or lift heavy.  If you’re doing weights, make sure you do 3 or 4 warm up sets with lighter weights

2. Stretch, Stretch & Stretch
Buy a foam roller, and a lacrosse ball.  Use them everyday, and stretch, a lot.  Consider taking up yoga or pilates.

Foam roller
Image Source

3. Do what you enjoy, but modify it a bit
For example, I can’t hit ‘thai pads’ anymore, my shoulders and wrists just can’t take it.  So I have to stick to the boxing pads. There’s normally a way to adapt if you are keen enough.  Try not to make an excuse and be negative about an injury; you can normally train around them.  Be very careful though, if something hurts during or afterwards, its not a sustainable or sensible way to train.