On today's episode, we're going to talk about weight lifting progression over 40. But before I get started, I wanted to send out a special thank you to the folks in the Facebook group. I asked the question, what were some topics that folks would be interested in learning about weight lifting and weight lifting progression? And man, you guys just came out and I really appreciate it. So if I say your name wrong, I apologize. But I wanted to put out that special thanks to John Dachaeur, Lindsey Dreibelbis, Christopher Joseph, David Norvell, Yared Negussie, Richard Searle, James William Langford, Jeff Baiocco, and Jessica Belzyt.
This episode of the 40+ Fitness Podcast is sponsored by Haka Life Nutrition, the maker of GLX3, I am really glad to have Haka Life Nutrition as a sponsor. Omega-3 is one of the few supplements I take regularly. But even with years of experience and having interviewed hundreds of experts in the health and fitness field, I have struggled to find a great solution, until now.
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Made from green-lipped mussels from New Zealand. This is the only natural source of ETA. I'm not even going to try to pronounce the full name. This version of Omega-3 is particularly effective at reducing inflammation and therefore reducing joint pain. That's why my wife is taking it now. I take it for heart health. Go to Hakalife.com/40plus and use the discount code 40plus to get a buy one get one free deal on your first order which gives you a two-month starter supply. GLX3 is my go to Omega-3 supplement going forward. It can be yours too by going to Hakalife.com/40plus and be sure to use the discount code 40plus for the BOGO deal.
Let's Say Hello[00:04:02.900] – Allan
Hey, Raz. How are you? [00:04:04.790] – Rachel
Good, Allan. How are you today? [00:04:07.540] – Allan
I'm doing good. We have finished construction. [00:04:11.820] – Rachel
Yey. That's so wonderful. Congratulations. [00:04:16.340] – Allan
Yeah. Yeah. Lula's is now the construction is over and now we're just trying to get it used to living in and figuring it out because all of our crates and everything were stored in our part of our living space or pulling those out and getting them organized the right way. And then because we now have a fence set up, it was funny because apparently the police were looking for somebody last night and they came up just as my dog was waking up. [00:04:43.820] – Allan
And I told Tammy, I said, since we have the fence set up, I'm just going to open up the gate door and let him out. It just happened just as I let him out. The police drove up on their motorcycle, shined the flashlight because they were looking for somebody that had darted off the road right by our house. And so the dogs barking. And I'm like, and so anyway, we bring them back in. [00:05:04.340] – Allan
And long story short, I was up at three o'clock in the morning. And he was in the back. He was in the yard and everything was fine. And then he found a way out and we just some waited. We didn't know he could manage to get out, but he managed to get out. So I'm chasing him down the road. He just thinks it's the funniest thing, he just stays just arm's length away from me and he just wags his tail. [00:05:27.510] – Allan
He's running around in the dark and it's so much fun to him at three o'clock in the morning to be chased by daddy. [00:05:34.770] – Rachel
Not fun. [00:05:36.300] – Allan
So it took me a few hours before I could actually get back to sleep, but I did get another sleep cycle in, so I'm OK. But it was not the night I thought it was going to be. [00:05:47.010] – Rachel
Wow. Yeah. What a night. My goodness. [00:05:50.070] – Allan
How are things up there? [00:05:51.390] – Rachel
Oh, good. We're doing good. July is a busy month for us. We have a ton of birthdays. We just celebrated our daughter's birthday. Mike and I have birthdays at the end of the month and my dad and his twin and cousin of ours. And it's just a busy month full of fun. So, yeah. Having a good time. [00:06:10.340] – Allan
Awesome. All right. Are you ready to talk about weight training? [00:06:14.130] – Rachel
Yes. Yes. This is exciting.
Really appreciate the questions that you guys set out there. I'm definitely going to do this type of thing again. And if you're interested in helping me make this podcast better, I'd really like to have you in the group. So come to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/group and join the 40 plus fitness group today.
Do you feel like you're getting weaker as you age? Here's a hint. The jars aren't any tighter than they were in the 1990s.
If you're not doing weight lifting or resistance training, you are getting weaker. And there's a study I'm going to have a link in the show notes that cites that the number one reason we lose our independence as we age is because we get weaker, we lose our strength. Our enemies are sarcopenia and osteopenia. And if you're not progressing with your weight lifting, you're likely regressing. And we'll go into that in a lot more detail as we get into what progression really is and how you can do it and how you can keep it going to the point that you need it.
So get out your pens, because we're about to get really, really deep into weightlifting progression over 40.
In my wellness roadmap book, I talk about having a wellness GPS and in the Wellness GPS, the G stands for grounding and that's your reason why you're training, why you're dieting, why you're doing any of this. And the vision is also a really important part of this overall commitment to what you're doing. You have to have an idea of who you want to be.
And in reality, almost every single person I talk to about vision, one of the core elements is they want to be stronger. And they want to be more athletically looking, more athletic looking, and so they might use words like toned or fit, but they want that that's a part of this vision of who most of us want to be as we age. We don't want to be frail. We want to be strong. We want to be athletic.
We want to look good. And most of us need all of that. So we lift weights to get there. So with resistance training, I say the term resistance training, sometimes that's a little confusing. So I want to take a step back. Sometimes you're going to hear this as weight training, which is what I used for the title. I tend to use the term resistance training because it's a little less threatening than saying strength training, weight training or body building.
And the reality is they're all very similar. They're all using some form of resistance to affect the muscles in your body. And so for most of the time, you're going to hear me use the term resistance training. And I use it interchangeably with weight training, with strength training, with bodybuilding. You're going to have your own specific goals of what you're trying to accomplish, but you're going to probably do it with some form of weight training, resistance training or strength training, OK. For a muscle to grow, it needs three things.
It needs a stimulus. Now, that stimulus is typically us getting under some form of resistance, under some weight, doing a weight training episode of some sort. Now, it doesn't have to be that we went to the gym to do a workout or we did a workout round. It could be doing yard work. And you might notice after a day of doing some hard yard work and carrying, you know, bags of mulch around, you've got some aches and pains. You feel it. That's the stimulus. You give in your muscle a reason to change.
The second thing that you need is protein and carbs. And yes, we do need carbs for muscle building. We don't have to have them. But if we want to optimize our weight training gains, we definitely want to make sure that carbs are a mix of what we're eating. But protein is really kind of the core and protein kind of gets this really weird discussion when we get into weight training and bodybuilding and all of that.
And so all these little things have come about, these rules of thumb. This broscience. And there's one broscience myth that's out there that you can only consume or absorb 30 grams of protein per meal. Absolutely not true. There's other myths that say you need to spread your protein out throughout the day so that you're, you know, giving your body all the amino acids while it's repairing. And there's also even some myths that say you need to eat right before right after a train like you have some anabolic window.
And the reality is that some people saw great success. So with anecdotal evidence, they ran off and did this. But I actually have linked to a study that shows we don't really know what the upper limit for our protein absorption is. And there's a lot of variables. How much fat did you eat with that meal? How empty was your stomach? And just basically variations between people. I also have a link to a study in the show notes to talk a little bit about that.
They deep dove into it really good. And they linked to a lot of other studies. So what we do know is that the human body can absorb more than 30 grams of protein per meal. But the question comes down then is how much protein should I really be getting? As a general rule of thumb with my clients that are training, actually lifting, doing weight training, I recommend that they get one gram per pound or about half a little less than half a gram per kg the way that works out.
So whichever way you like to handle weight, that's there. Now, one other question that comes up is, well, what if I'm overweight? What if I'm carrying and, you know, instead of being the normal 220, I should be I'm 290. Do I need to be eating 290 grams of protein? And the short answer is probably not. So, you know, as a general rule there, if you feel like 290 grams of protein is too much, you can tap that down a little bit.
So, for example, if someone is overweight, they weigh about 290 kind of estimating what they would weigh without their body fat. We're probably saying, you know, that's a good, what, 70, 80 pounds, 90 pounds maybe of fat so they could try 200 grams. Again, this is if you're training hard, try 200 grams and then just see how you recover, see how your body reacts. Are you getting enough protein to stimulate the anabolic effect of muscle growth?
So if you don't feel like you want to try to eat the 290 and again, you don't have to distribute it across six meals or whatever across the day, you quite literally can have more than 30 grams of protein in any given meal. So it's not that hard to get up to a 180 to 200 grams, which is probably as much as many of us would need, we're not professional bodybuilders, but you can take that protein down a little bit and see. But again, just as a general rule, if you're trying to put on strength, trying to put on some muscle mass, I recommend one gram per pound.
the third thing that you need for muscle growth is rest. For many of this, this is actually the hardest part. The lifting is not already. Eating is not hard. It's when it comes to the rest. Now, there's going to be rest between each set in most cases, depending on how your workouts put together.
But in general, there's going to be rest between sets. Now, that rest time is when your body is taking its energy stores. Basically, the mitochondria that fire the muscle need ATP. So ATP is effectively the fuel for our muscles and our body can regenerate ATP. It just needs a little time to do that. So if we lift, we do a set and then we rest. The longer we rest, the more we allow the ATP to develop.
Now we don't want to wait too long or the muscle cools down and it's not really even the same workout anymore. But you do a good lift. You rest for anywhere from 60 seconds to three minutes and I would never recommend more than three minutes. But for most of us, 60 seconds, 90 seconds, maybe two minutes is going to be enough time between sets. And I'd say as a beginner, try 60 seconds and then see how your second set goes.
If you're almost fully recovered, you might not be fully recovered. Then you're hitting into the sweet spot. So the way I kind of look at is so if I can do 90 percent of what I did for the first set during the second set and then I'm less, you know, just 90 percent less than on a third set. And if I do a forty fourth set, then again, 90 percent less, it's just a little bit harder each set.
I might have to lower the weight a little bit, but in a general sense, I know I'm giving my muscle the stimulus it needs and then the rest it needs between sets rest between workouts. You know, a lot of people that are lifting and training all the time, they have really high recovery rates. They're in their 20s. They're doing great. If you're over 40, though, that's less likely that you're going to recover that fast.
And if you're not doing something like anabolic steroids or some other enhancement, you might find that it's you're going to need some time. I typically like to take at least two days before I work a body part again. So if I did a really good leg session on Monday, I'm probably not going to lift legs again until at least Thursday. And then you can play that by ear and just see how fast you recover. But you're going to need a couple days.
So the folks that go to the gym every single day and do the same workout every single day, they're not giving their body the rest between sets and therefore they're not doing things as intensely and will get into intensity and volume in a minute. But if you're doing an intense good workout that's giving you the proper stimulus for muscle growth and muscle and strength gains, then you're going to need a couple of days for that to happen. And then the final bit of rest is sleep.
Sleep is a very important component because sleep is when all of our hormones are kind of resetting and reorganizing. It's when we're healing internally. And so sleep is a very important component for strength gains, for muscle mass. If you're not getting good sleep, you're probably not going to recover as fast. So making sure that you're getting your rest is it's really important. So, again, the three things that you need for muscle growth is the stimulus that's lifting the weights.
It has to be appropriate. We'll talk about that a minute. You need the protein and carbs, but mostly the protein and make sure you're getting enough of it and then you need the rest. And again, making sure you're getting good quality sleep. You're taking time and breaks between each set and you're taking time in breaks between each workout for a given muscle group.
This episode of the 40+ Fitness Podcast is sponsored by Haka Life Nutrition, the maker of GLX3, you know, the benefit of Omega-3 reduced inflammation, which helps with joint pain and heart health.
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So what is progression? Progression is basically where we're getting stronger or we're gaining more muscle and we're doing that generally consistently over time. Now for someone who's over 40, that looks a little different than someone who's a teenager or in their 20s.
Those individuals that are teenagers and 20s, they have a ton of testosterone and they have the opportunity to put on a great bit of muscle mass and a great bit of strength if they go through the proper training and do the rest and the other feeling and do all that stuff. When we get a little older, though, muscles aren't going to grow as fast, predominantly because we don't have the testosterone and also because we don't generally recover as fast.
So not recovering as fast means we can't lift as often. And not having the testosterone generally means we're not going to be able to lift as much and we're not going to be able to, again, recover as fast. So both of those are kind of against us when we're over 40 for, you know, getting tons of strength gains and muscle mass and all of that. So progression generally just means that we're continuing to build muscle and maintain muscle mass, maintain bone density and be strong up to the point.
We need to be strong. OK, I tore a rotator cuff a few years ago and so what I recognized was, OK, what I was doing was, I was trying to push to 80 pound dumbbells over my head from a seated position. And the struggle was not the pushing it over my head. The struggle was getting the dumbbells into the position. I needed them to start the lift. And that's where I hurt myself, where I tore my rotator cuff.
After that event, it really got me to thinking, do I ever have a situation where I would be putting one hundred and sixty pounds over my head for any reason whatsoever? And the short answer is no. I would ask for help so I don't need to be able to lift one hundred and sixty pounds over my head. I don't need to be able to deadlift 500 pounds. So the things that I was doing back then aren't really my priority.
Again, we talked about vision and I do want to be strong. I want to be strong enough to help my wife around if she needs it. I want to be strong enough to carry things that I need to carry for her. So, you know, we just moved into a bed and breakfast and I've got all my stuff in there and it's all in these bins. And some of them are quite heavy. And so my wife wants to go through those bins and she's like, get that bin for me and bring it in here.
I want to be strong enough to do that for her. So I don't have to hire somebody to be that person. So you're going to find strength the way you needed to find strength. You're going to define muscle mass and the look that you want and then you're going to want to work to progress to that point. And then after that point, the progression is really about just making sure we're building a cross or building a good platform. So we're not just strong in one direction, we're strong across all of it.
So we have that support. So there's less injury, less everything else. So progression, as I stated, is not necessarily that you just keep getting stronger and stronger and stronger or you just getting bigger and bigger and bigger. It's kind of a combination of just making sure that you're resilient and you're strong enough. So one question that comes up a lot is, well, should women do what men do? You know, we go and we start looking at exercises.
And, you know, women typically will approach the gym very differently than men until they actually get in there and figure a few things out. And then those women realize that the lifts the men are doing work just as well for them. In fact, what I have found is most women can get stronger than men pound for pound if they train hard. Women have a capacity to put up with stuff. They have a capacity to train hard. And while they don't have the testosterone to get as strong as a man or to get as big as a man, they do have some.
And so they are able to get very strong. They are able to get very fit. And so from a training perspective, there's not a real reason for a woman to train differently. With one caveat, women's knees tend to be a weak spot. Women have knee problems a lot more than men. They have hip problems a lot more than men. And so if you have a structural dysfunction, you want to make sure the way you're training is not causing you problems where you're going to injure yourself.
And I'm going to get into that in a minute because I think this is really, really important. So there's not a real reason for a woman to train different than a man other than playing your game. Don't don't necessarily feel like you have to do a certain lift just because the men can do it or are doing it. Recognize if you have a weakness, you have a movement dysfunction, don't play that game. But otherwise there's no reason a woman can't train just like a man.
Circuit training is another topic that comes up quite often, and I'm going to be honest with you, I'm not a huge fan. Circuit training is great for really one good reason that it gets people moving and it gets a workout done quickly. And if it's supervised and managed properly, it can be effective at building muscular endurance. It's typically not very good at building strength. And I'll get into that in a minute. There's a basic structure for most of the circuit training.
So you're going to go in and in some gyms, there's actually a set of equipment that set you just go through the loop and as soon as you finished with one, you move to the other and then the other and then the other. There's two basic approaches to this. One is the big muscle, little muscle. So you might start with leg press and some leg workout. Then you're going to move to maybe your back and then you can move to your chest and are going to move to your shoulders and then you can move to your arms.
And so there's kind of a circuit. You go around, you do when you move to the next machine, you can also do that would have that set up with dumbbells or barbells or whatever. But that's one way that a circuit would work. And there's another one and it's called peripheral hard action. And that's basically where you work a lower body and then you work in upper body. And the premise of circuit training is because you're working a different body part.
You don't have to take that break between sets because you're already automatically taking it, because you're not working that body part again until you come back around for another round. So a circuit can save a lot of time. You can get an hour, hour and a half workout done in less than 30 minutes in a circuit training setup. But there are some problems to it. OK, three reasons that I really don't like circuit training as we're talking about strength and building muscle is that one.
It splits your focus. And so you're going to end up lowering your weight and you're going to end up lowering your time and attention. OK, and I'll get into those topics in just a minute. But just that I call it kind of the Barbie workout and you'll see it where they're not really carrying any real weight. And you can tell they're not really resisting, they're not really struggling. They're just flop in their arms. And now they might do it in really good form and it might, you know, look like they're doing something.
But because there's not enough resistance and there's not enough time and attention, they're not getting the stimulus that we talked about. So, you know, if you go in and you do that, you're typically not optimizing the weightlifting elements of that circuit. If you do put the weight on there and you're doing it fast with the weight. Again, so we're we're doing it pretty quickly. That's more about power and so powers which are after at a given weight.
That's great. You can do that. And so most people are trying to work through the circuit quickly because that's they're thinking about the cardio component of this circuit and they're going through it. So they're not really developing really any core strength. And for a lot of people, when they're going through it, they tend to use the same weight every time. So they know I'm on peg eight, I'm on peg two, I'm on peg three. I'm on peg eight.
And they go around the circuit that way and every workouts the same. And in many cases, like I said, they come back every day and do that same workout. The final thing reason I'm not a big fan of circuit training is when you take speed and you add a load, you increase your risk of injury. So you might be on a machine. And that's great for avoiding injury a lot of times. But when you're moving fast, you're not necessarily paying attention to your form and the risk of injury goes up.
And so there's just a few reasons why I'm not a huge fan of circuit training as a way of getting stronger or building muscle mass. It's just not that effective and the risk is just too high.
So let's talk about resistance. When we're doing resistance, there's two types of resistance, there's fixed resistance and there's variable resistance now fixed resistance is using something like a dumbbell or your body weight or a kettlebell. It weighs the same through the entire length of the movement.
Now, one thing about our muscles is pur muscles are designed with different output capabilities at different points in a movement. So an example I can give you would be this. If you completely straighten your arm out and you grab a weight, you try to pull that weight up from the bottom of that movement. It's very difficult as you get closer to your shoulder to basically curl that weight, your bicep gets shorter in that angle for the lever gets better and you're able you're a lot stronger.
So you're stronger in one part of the movement. And that's where things like resistance bands providing a variable resistance can be actually sometimes as effective or not more effective than the free weights. So there is, for the most part, fixed and variable resistance most of the workout. So we're going to do unless you work with resistance bands and some of the things like chains and some of the other ways that you can create that variable resistance, some machines do it.
But most of the work week we tend to do in the gym or at home and with body weight particularly is fixed. OK, so what kind of resistance work can we do when we're talking about this? There's bodyweight, as I mentioned, resistance bands. There's machines, there's free weights and free weights can include barbells, dumbbells, kettle bells and the like. So which one is the best? And I kind of have a few answers for this.
First is, what do you have? I mean, obviously, I could tell you that, you know, if I could tell you that Dumbell and a barbell would be one of the best pieces of equipment for you to own to make your legs stronger. If you don't have it, you don't have it. So you're not going to be able to do that work. So, yeah, having it is kind of important. Next is what can you get?
So, you know, if I could go to a gym, I don't have to have it. I can go to a gym. So I effectively now have access to it or I can buy it and put it in my home gym and I have it. So, you know, if you can get it, then that's great. Have a plan for that. And then but the real answer I want to get to is that the best is the best tool for the job.
So I'll give you an example. If you wanted to open up a drain and it had a common head screw or three common head screws, you know, you'll be in a movie and you'll see someone take a paper clip and they're able to open that. Well, it's not hard. It's not easy using a paper clip to open a screw, but it can be done. If you had an electric screwdriver, you'd be done with that job in a matter of seconds.
So it's really, really important for you to have the tools you want, which builds all the way back to the vision. You can get yourself very, very strong with body weight, but with some of the implements that you might have access to in a in a gym membership or in a home gym, that you really work well to outfit, you might be able to get results faster. So just thinking about the investment that you want to make relative to the vision you have, you can you can build something.
And so I'm not going to say that body weight is less attractive or worse than dumbbells, but the flexibility you get with having both is better. So the better equipment you have, it's going to make the job easier. So it's just about having the right tool. So let's get into some of the meat of what we're talking about when we're getting into weight training, you'll hear the term reps and sets and I'll define those for you. The reps are repetitions that are the number of times that you move the weight through a certain movement pattern that you're doing for that workout.
So for a body weight squat, you're lowering your butt you're bending your legs down and then you're squatting down and you're getting to parallel below, and then you're coming back up to the starting position standing. That's a repetition. A set is the number of times you're going to do that repetition. So I could give you a workout. And the first exercise is body weight squats. And I'm going to say, I want you to do three sets of ten repetitions, so you're going to do ten repetitions, you're going to take a rest, say 60 seconds, and then you'll do your second set and then a rest and then your third and final set.
And that would be your sets across that exercise. So your reps and sets are that. The other way that we add to a workout and make it a better stimulus as we change the time under tension. So if you're looking to add muscle mass time under tension is your friend. Time and attention is simply the amount of time the muscle is working during each repetition. So the way that looks is I set a tempo for the lift of I'm going to bring the weight down slow.
So I says I'm doing my squat, I'm going to squat down slow for a count of three and then I'm going to squat up slow for a count of three. And I think you'll find if you try that right now, I don't know if you can do if you're driving, don't. But if you can try that, try just doing a quick little squat and feel what that feels like and then trying to do it when you go down for a count of three and then back up for a count of three.
And I think you can see how much more difficult adding time under tension makes that exercise. So sometimes it's not about adding more weight to an exercise, it's merely about slowing down and increasing the time and attention. Now, when we take the reps and the sets and the time and attention and the weight and we add those all up, we come up with what we call workout volume. OK, so for any given body part, your body is going to be capable of doing a given volume at a point in time.
And progression is merely being able to increase that volume. OK, we can do it by increasing the reps, we can do it by increasing the sets, we can do it by increasing the time under tension, and we can do it by increasing the weight. We never want to do all four at the same time. In fact, we only want to do one at a time. So typically, as you're putting a workout together or you're working with a trainer, you'll probably notice that you'll have a fixed workout with a set weight and you'll do that.
And then the next time you come in, if you got stronger, could handle the volume. They added more weight. That's the typical way we do this. But they might also add another setnce you get stronger, they might add a little bit more a few more reps are in or they might change the time and attention. All of those are ways that we can change the workout and increase the volume. And that's that's how we're getting the progression.
Now, one word of caution. When you're doing this weight training and you're over 40, you have to do gentle nudges, OK? And so the number one rule of weight lifting and if you take nothing else away from this episode, take this away. The most important part of weightlifting is to not injure yourself, because if you enjoy yourself, you're not weight training anymore, at least not with that body part. So the number one rule of weight training is do not hurt yourself.
And we do that with the gentle nudges. So a couple of things that are a little confusing as we get into this. So I'm asking you to add volume. I'm asking you to add a stimulus and do this. And typically you're going to recognize that that stimulus happened through pain. It's unfortunate, but it's normal. While you're doing the lift, you might feel a little bit of discomfort and afterwards you might. So when you feel pain after a workout and it's immediate, you need to be paying attention to two things.
Was it a muscle pain or was it a joint pain? If it's a muscle pain, that's probably something you just want to take off a little bit. If it's a joint pain, that's something you probably want get to some help for straight away. Joints don't have the ability to recover the way muscle does, but a terrible muscle is a bad thing, too. So if it's super intense, acute, go, go seek some medical attention.
It's a couple of days later you start feeling really, really sore or maybe even just the day later. That's called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). And that's not a bad thing or a good thing either. So you may experience DOMS when you're lifting and that's that doesn't mean you had a great workout. It just means yes, you did have the stimulus we're talking about, but you may not always have DOMS as you go through your workout.
So that should never be your focus, never be your intent. OK, as you're lifting and we talked about your vision, you really need to be thinking about what your intent for that lifting section is. OK, do you want to get stronger? Do you want to put on some more mass? This is called hypertrophy or do you just want to build some more power? So the ability to do something quickly with load is power. So in thinking about that vision that you had, what does that look and feel like?
So for most of us, over 40, it's about building strength. And maybe some muscular development. So as we're putting together your workouts, that's knowing that intent will help you do the workout the right way. OK, and know that you're getting the right result. If you don't have a target, you won't know when you're there. So when you get started, you might experience something called Newbie gains. And so that's usually for the first two to four months as someone comes in and starts lifting.
They notice that they get stronger a lot faster. So you may go in and say, OK, the first time I did this lift, I could really only do 10 pounds. And by two weeks later I've doubled that. And then four weeks later, I've tripled that. And it's like, you know, I went from 10 pounds to 30 pounds over the course of a month. And you're like, wow, I might be a power lifter for Olympics.
I don't know. The reality is no, that's just newbie gains. It will level off. There's a couple of reasons why newbie gains happen. The first is every time you try to use a muscle, your brain has to fire off for that muscle to fire and use certain muscle fibers. It almost never uses all of the muscle fibers at one time. It uses some of them and it uses just enough for what it thinks it needs to do to do that lift.
So if you are trying to pick up 10 pounds, it struggles with that at first. How many do I fire off? And then once it knows how many to fire off, it gets better at that and then get a little stronger and you can start increasing the weight as you increase the weight. Your brain again is learning how to fire new muscle fibers to do that. So you're basically teaching your muscle and your brain how to talk to each other.
That's basically the neuromuscular communication and that's a big part of what Newbie gains are. And then after that, it's the muscular development. And in many cases, that muscular development comes from a little bit of what I would like to call muscle memory. If your body was more muscular at one time, it knows how to get more muscular a little bit faster. It will turn the muscle fibers thicker. It will actually start adding muscle fibers less so when we're over 40.
But it will activate more muscle fibers and you will grow stronger and a little bit more muscular faster during those first two to four months. And then it's going to kind of level off. And when it does that level off, we call that a plateau. Now, you're probably much more familiar with plateau's from a weight loss perspective. That's a normal part of your body balancing and trying to save you from starving to death. With muscular growth, It's a very similar thing in that it's just not a linear process.
You're not just going to continue to get stronger until you can lift a car. This is not how it works. So at some point you will plateau that exercise that you're doing. You're going to find your peak PR, personal record. And for the most part, you're going to play around there for a long time. And if that's strong enough for that lift for what you're trying to do for your vision, then full stop. You did it. You're good.
OK, but if we want to break a plateau. The biggest and best way to do that is through a process called periodization.
With periodization is kind of where we put all this stuff together. So we talk about the different exercises that we're going to do. We talk about the weights and the reps and the sets and the time and attention or tempo. And you've been doing a particular workout and maybe you do that workout for a number of months and then you get to your plateau.
Periodization is a way that we can avoid ever getting to a plateau. And the way a periodization works is we'll do a particular workout for six to eight weeks and then we'll switch it up, will change the exercises, will change the way you do it. So instead of doing say you were doing 100 pounds for 10 reps, we might change it and say you're going to do one hundred and twenty pounds for six reps. So, you know, the volume is very similar.
It's just a different lift. It's a much heavier weight and the reacts to your body tends to be a little different. OK, so a good periodization does a few things for you. One, it does help you prevent the plateaus that are inevitable. It won't prevent all of them, but it's a really good start. The other thing is it also works very well to improve the variety of your workouts. OK, so if you want some more variety to your workouts, you can do a standard six week deal.
You can even do it more often if you want to. But one of the things I find is if someone is changing out their workout all the time, they're not really getting the sense that they're any stronger. What you're experiencing is, OK, I can bench press 100 pounds and then I move over and I'm doing another exercise. So I still don't know if I'm getting stronger on the bench press. In all likelihood, you are.
But until you cycle back around and start doing bench presses, you really won't have that bad experience. You won't see it. So if something's working, my advice is typically leave it in, stick with it. But if you want to avoid plateaus and you want some more variety, you can mix that in and just recognize you might not see the gains, if you will, that other people will. So that's one of the things like a crosthwaite style workout where they're constantly varied in their workouts.
It's sometimes hard for them to measure where they are relative to how they were before. And unless they do the same workout again later. So they might do a workout like Murf and, you know, for Labor Day. And then a year later, after being in Crossfit for an additional year, they do murf again and they may find that they did a better they had better performance at it. Now, Murf is not necessarily a strength or a muscle mass thing, but it's just when you have that constant variety, you don't necessarily get that feedback that you've done something better.
So doing the same workout, doing those gentle nudges, feeling and seeing yourself get stronger, there's a lot of value to that as far as motivation and keeping you going.
Action. OK, none of this happens, I just taught you a ton of stuff, and if you had the pencil out, like I told you, you've probably been writing down feverishly. If you don't do it, it doesn't it doesn't help. It doesn't happen. You've got to be in the gym.
You've got to be consistent. OK, and I want to leave you with a tool that helps you do that, OK? And it's a tool that I learned from business coach, but I see it works just as well for what we're trying to do here. And it's called the Be do have model. OK, so Be OK. So the people that are like the vision you want to be, when you think about their vision, your vision, I mean, what are people that already have that look like?
what are they doing? What are strong and fit people doing? Well, they train, they actually it's not that they become gym rats per se, but it becomes ingrained in their lifestyle, they're training. They're working. They're in the gym and they're doing it. They're in their home gym and they're doing it. They're in their hotel room doing it, OK? And they grow to love it. That's the one thing that I've found for most people that are healthy and fit and exceptional fit.
They just love it and they're doing it every day. So the Be part is you just have to have that mindset of I'm going to love the process as much as I love the result. The Do part is training and that's just being consistent. So the Be is in your head. You've got to love it, you've got to want it, you've got to mean it. The Do is your training and then the Have is you'll get the strength, you'll get that look and you'll be your vision.
And so start with your vision. Develop your training around that. I gave you a lot of information about how that works. I'm going to be doing a call next week, I mean, this week on the group. And so if you're part of the group 40PlusFitnessPodcast.Com/Group, I do a Facebook live and I announce the Facebook live. So if you can't make the live, then at least go on to the invitation for the live for the event and leave some comments, leave some questions.
I'll be glad to during the live answer your questions. If you're on the live, I'm going to try to answer your questions. I want to make sure that this is more of an interactive podcast when we're doing these types of things, whether it's a solo show and I'm trying to teach and encourage and get you going, because if you want to be stronger and you want to have more mass and you want to be, you know, once your bone density to be where it is and you just want to be fit and tone.
those are not really words, but I'll use them anyway. You want to be that person, you've got to do the work and you've got to know the right way to do it. And you've got to follow rule number one, which is anybody? Right, don't injure yourself and you've got to know what you're doing to not injure yourself, and you've got to use gentle nudges and it's all of that. So there was a lot in this podcast episode.
If you have any questions whatsoever, please reach out to me. I'm on the Facebook group. I'm on Facebook. You can email me. You can even comment on the post for the show notes. As I mentioned, there were a couple studies that we got into. So if you have questions, I'm here for you. I thank you for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
[00:48:20.330] – Allan
Welcome back, Raz. [00:48:21.740] – Rachel
Hey, Allan. That was really a great discussion and weightlifting over 40 or the progression of weightlifting over 40, that was really helpful. [00:48:30.290] – Allan
Yeah, I was really thankful for the folks that were on Facebook, you know, in our group at 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/group, because they asked some really great questions that, you know, if I had not asked them that question, there were bits that I would have probably left out that I shouldn't, now I can talk about weightlifting for months, like our books about it, obviously, you know. And so, you know, it's more than you can cover in any one podcast. [00:48:58.520] – Allan
And so I've covered strength training before and we've had other, you know, people on authors and whatnot to talk about weight training, resistance training and like. And so it was just good to kind of go in and say, OK, you know, everybody is telling you to lift weights and then lift more weights and lift more weights. And, you know, like Rich, you know, he asked, when is progression too much? What have you done too much? [00:49:21.560] – Allan
And or, you know, how do you stop or do you stop and, you know, what do you do? And and the reality is, you know, once you become a lifter. You think of yourself as a lifter, you know, you know, the gym becomes or your home gym becomes kind of a part of your training, a part of your daily life. It's you brush your teeth, you lift weights, you know. [00:49:43.300] – Rachel
That's right. Yeah. [00:49:45.500] – Allan
And so, you know, I was it was good to be able to go through that and get into it. But I would always preface this with, you know, I said the number one rule of weightlifting is to not injure yourself. And that happens if you follow rule number two, typically, and that is use good form. Whatever training you're going to do, I think it is really important for you to be strategic and really take your time to learn the movements. [00:50:17.450] – Allan
Machines can seem really, really easy because it's really only one direction. You can push the way and only one direction. It can come back, but you can still injure yourself on the machine. And if that machine isn't aligned to you properly, you're pushing against a resistance in a way that your body's not designed to do it. So, you know, the seat height, for example, on a press machine can mean the difference between using your chest muscles and overly using your shoulder muscles, which can lead to an injury. [00:50:50.220] – Allan
So even with machines, it's important for you to be strategic and know what you're doing and if necessary, find someone at the gym that knows what they're doing. You know, someone that works there, coach or hire a personal trainer. [00:51:04.130] – Rachel
Oh, those are great tips. Years ago when I lived in Florida, I did have a gym membership and I would go in and I would just use the machines, just lighter weights. But just like you mentioned, I never always took the time to adjust the seats or maybe play around with different weights. I just kind of wanted to do my thing, get in and get out. But along that same line, though, I never had any personal trainers, anybody at the gym or any of the staff anyway, come up and teach me anything or show me. [00:51:33.830] – Rachel
And there's some machines out there that I don't even know how to sit in, let alone me. It was probably there's some crazy devices out there. [00:51:40.850] – Allan
There are. And you see and you see the videos on YouTube all the time how not to do it. And so, yeah, I've seen some pretty crazy things at the gym. The reality is a good gym that has trainers. The trainers should be walking the floor and offering suggestions. If you're in a gym that doesn't have active trainers and again, they're not getting a lot of times they're not getting paid for those hours that they're walking around the gym. [00:52:07.160] – Allan
It's just expected as a part of their their contract to train people there is that they're walking the floor. It serves to help the people that are working out. It also serves as a sales opportunity because they can see that you need some guidance. And so at least they're there to step up and say, you know, come on in for free consult or something so we can make sure you don't hurt yourself again, rule number one. [00:52:33.890] – Rachel
Well, that would be great. And there's no shortage of YouTube videos and articles and things out there that teach us how to do certain things. But there's no guarantee that the person showing you how to make that move or do that, that movement knows what they're doing. And even with the NSAM training that I've had, I feel more educated. I feel more aware of what I should and should not be doing. And as far as weightlifting goes, but there's still a few moves that I wouldn't touch. [00:53:02.060] – Rachel
And the deadlift is one of them. I'm so concerned about doing it with perform, I'd be a lot more comfortable having somebody show me how to do it and teach me how to do it properly, just just to make sure I don't hurt myself at that particular one. [00:53:14.540] – Allan
Yeah, the key to a deadlift that most people mess up is they think it's just like a squat with the bars in a different place. And it was nothing like the squat, but the deadlift is a hip hinge movement. You're literally all you're trying to do is hinge your hip and you do that by leaning forward more than you would on any kind of squat. And you literally drag the bar up your leg so your shins should be vertical, your shins should be vertical in this lift, whereas squat they won't be they're going to be at an angle out. [00:53:56.390] – Allan
And so if your shins are straight and you're bent down, your whole center of mass is now well behind the bar. So you're talking a foot or more away from the bar and then you want to drag that bar up. You're up a good session for me that i've got bloody shins. Oh, it just is. The bevils on the bar that they rub up against that I don't wear high socks, you know, I'm not that girly girl yet, but I'm just. [00:54:30.050] – Allan
Just drag it all the way up your legs, if it gets away from your legs, you're losing it and you need to lower the weight. And so if I'm going to work with someone and teach them the deadlift, it's let's start with a PVC pipe. Quite literally, it weighs next to nothing. Then I'll pick up one of those spin lock bars that weighs about 15 pounds. And that's a good time for them to at least feel a little bit of weight to it, drag it up along their leg, have a little bit more of that bevil I was talking about. [00:54:59.450] – Allan
So they kind of feel that roughness as it's going up. And I understand what people are afraid of the deadlift because they keep being told that deadlifts are going to hurt your back. But I'm of the principle that you hurt your back because you're not doing deadlifts. The history of the deadlift as this is, is actually it was a technique taught to people to move human bodies, dead bodies. When people were having to remove dead bodies, they were they were hurting themselves doing it because the human body is heavy, especially when it's solid and it's awkward. [00:55:34.580] – Allan
So they were teaching them how to lift a dead body without hurting themselves. And that's where the deadlift technique as lift came to be in the dead lift. So but they don't want you to hurt your back. And if you and reach over to lift up something heavy, like you want to, you know, lift up one end or pick up one end of a dresser, if you and someone else remove dresser or it's a hip hands movement because you can't get your knees underneath it, you're behind it, you're beside it. [00:56:03.800] – Allan
So you have to use a hip hinge properly or you're using your lower back and that leads to injury. So learning good technique, even if you're not going to go super heavy on the deadlift, learning good technique for a given comfortable way isis valuable to not injuring your back. And so you should easily be able to do sets of of deadlift at half your body weight. [00:56:27.620] – Rachel
Oh wow. [00:56:28.160] – Allan
Think about the other things that you might want to lift. [00:56:31.270] – Allan
OK, and that fits in like a bag of dog food. We have a fifty five pound bag of dog food because we have two hungry dogs. To pick that up, I have to use the Hip hinge deadlift and to pick up the dog food at least to get it up to waist high. But so it's a movement that we do and it's good for us to generally know how to do it safely and up to a specific level of strength. [00:56:59.330] – Rachel
Yeah, that's a good one. And we were talking about squats to squats are another one. A lot of misconceptions apparently with that one. [00:57:07.160] – Allan
There are. Because, you know, you'll hear your toes should be pointing directly forward and about shoulder width apart and then you'll hear your knees should never go beyond your toes and all of these other things. But the reality is all of us have different length legs. So depending on how long your shin bones are relative to the upper part of your leg, you're going to have a different lever system. [00:57:31.880] – Allan
It's going to work and it's going to look different. So you can watch a guy do squats and you'll see it. Someone who's got a leaner frame can have their legs practically right beside each other. And just you'll see, it's more common in Asian countries. But one of the resting positions is literally to just squat down and the butt is right up against your heels sitting on the ground. And they're comfortable sitting in that position because they have the mobility. [00:58:03.410] – Allan
They've small frames so their legs can be very close together and they can get down in that position. My hips are wider, so I have to spread my legs wider or I can't get my hips down without shifting motion, my synonomous forward. So if I'm going to shift it now, I'm more in a hip hinge, but the weights on my back, my shoulders. So that puts me at a bad place for my back. [00:58:29.270] – Allan
So for me to keep my back in a neutral position, I have to spread my feet and I do point my toes out slightly and then the knees should always just track over the toes. And when I say over, they may go to the toes, they may go slightly past it again. The core of it is just to make sure that it's a smooth motion and that your knees are lined up properly with your toes. And then when you go down, you always want to go to parallel or below. [00:58:58.430] – Allan
And there's a very important reason for that. When you go down to parallel or below, you have to fire your glutes. OK, prior to that, everything is being basically slowed down or controlled with your quadriceps. So if you can imagine having let's just say you put half your body weight on your shoulders and you start to squat down and you want to stop that movement, suddenly you're only using your quadriceps to do it. And that puts pressure on the knees. [00:59:32.460] – Allan
OK, that's why there's knee pain for a lot of people doing squats is they do half squats. They don't know three quarter squats. If you get down to parallel or below, the quadriceps are out. They can't do anything. So the only way you stop that weight is to fire your glutes. And you use the glutes, one of the strongest muscle in your body. That used not much when we're sitting around, fire that off and that stops the momentum going down and can restart the momentum going up, therefore not putting pressure on your knees because the glutes are able the quadriceps on the front of your legs are able to relax and let the glutes take the weight. [01:00:15.690] – Allan
So it's a handoff that happens right about parallel. So it's important to get to parallel so the glutes can fire. And one way I tell my clients that they want to really make sure that they feel that is to imagine that you have one hundred dollar bills squeezed between your butt cheeks. And if you hold on to it through the whole lift, you get to keep it. [01:00:37.870] – Rachel
Oh, nice. That's a good trick. Good tip on that one. And that's an important movement. And I like to lift weights and do body resistance training and squats are always in my wheelhouse. I'm moving the glutes. Strengthening the glute is the most important thing for runners since more runners should spend time in the gym, that's for sure. [01:01:00.550] – Allan
Well, yeah, because it balances you out. You know, if you're running, it's great. That's great. Cardiovascular stamina work. You do build leg musculature, but it's a muscular endurance. It's not a muscular strength. And then with weight training, you know, you can now start working in laterals. You know, you can do side lunges and you can do other work that's going to complement your legs and keep your knees healthier. [01:01:27.580] – Allan
And you can find those movement issues that if running, you know, if running is going to hurt you over time, it's going to be either because you have an overuse injury or it's because you let other muscle groups get weaker. And, you know, remember, I had, was it John Vanquish. We talked about how weight lifting would be superior to cardio overall over time for weight loss. And that was predominantly because, again, yes, you don't have any muscular musculature in your if you're doing endurance running. [01:02:04.690] – Allan
They have almost no musculature in their upper body because there's no usage of it. They're swinging their arms. But then that's not doing anything for them. So building a little bit of muscular strength makes you functional outside of running and building core strength and muscular strength in your legs, outside of just the running muscles of the quadriceps and the hamstrings, quite literally, will help you run faster. So, you know, particularly in the sprint. So if you get to the final hundred yards and you're like, you know, you're seeing that clock ticked down and there's a PR on that clock. [01:02:37.720] – Allan
Yeah, I'm going. [01:02:40.690] – Allan
And that's that extra strength and extra power that you're building by doing resistance training is going to help you do that. [01:02:47.030] – Rachel
Oh, absolutely. I also want to point out one more thing you mentioned in your podcast about what did you say that the cans aren't getting any harder to open? The pickle jar? You know, and it's funny because, you know, it's not any harder, but I was that strong enough to begin with. But, you know, it's those types of functional movements. You know, it's one thing to be a well rounded, rounded runner. That's fine. [01:03:11.830] – Rachel
But it's the functional movements of day to day life that could be enhanced by doing a little bit of resistance training, whether it's the dumbbells or the bands like you mentioned, or body weight like I do on occasion, you know, just that type of activity could make just daily tasks just that little bit easier. [01:03:29.950] – Allan
it does. I mean, when you think about like we talked about the deadlift, OK, so what do you have to do with the deadlift when you're grabbing the bar? You have to have the grip strength. And for most people who work the deadlift up to a point, they realized that the limiting factor for them becomes their grip, not how much they can deadlift. And so then and now it's grip strength. And you'll see people if you go into a gym, you may see people using wraps where they strap on or hooks or something. [01:03:59.410] – Allan
So it's taking away the requirement that they hold the bar for their lift. OK, which means then for the deadlift they can deadlift more because they've removed the single point of failure. But rather than get their grip strength stronger, they do that. So then so then you come up with terms like raw and ated and things like that. So there's deadlifts that people have done with straps that could deadlift more typically than someone deadlift without. And the prime factor of that is that they're using the straps to end a grip is not failing in that lift. [01:04:34.840] – Allan
So but you do make your grip stronger. When you're doing it, I mean, just because you're walking around, you're holding something heavy, a dumbbell, a barbell or something, or you're doing a pulling movement every time you grab a bar, every time you grab something and you're having to hold that, that's grip strength. And so that's going to help you open that pickle jar. [01:04:57.520] – Rachel
I sure hope so. That's my plan. [01:05:00.520] – Allan
All right. Well, Rachel, I'll talk to you next week, OK? [01:05:03.430] – Rachel
All right. Take care. Thanks, Allan.
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