T Nation

Attention: Over 40 year old lifters


I thought this would be a good thread to discuss the special challenges that we over 40 lifters face.

Personally, I have been fortunate over all as I eat healthy and have taken special nutrients for many years I think that has helped my situation.

However, I have noticed that I am getting some sort of tendonitis at the base of my thumbs. They hurt the day after an especially hard workout. MSM always seems to help when I add it the over 30 different supplements that I take. I also think that cross training has helped me. I will bike or practice martial arts exclusively for periods of time, instead of lifting.

Other than that I'm holding out fine-Doing more in most of my lifts than I have ever done before!

How about the rest of you over 40 lifters? Do you have any special health secrets you want to pass on? Any special routines? Any particular physical ailment you want to discuss?


Come on their must be a couple of guys over 40 on this forum.


No secrets or ailments to discuss. I will say that it takes longer now to recover than it used to. If I try to lower the bar on a bench press so that my upper arms are beyond parallel to the floor, or if I do a back-of-neck press, I'll screw up my shoulders every time.

Getting back into shape in my mid-forties was one hellofalot harder than it was in my thirties. If I'd known just how hard I probably wouldn't have let myself slide in the last few years. But then that's the nature of hind-sight, isn't it?


Oh yeah, and I also have to make sure my Depends are good and snug before I squat.


The only thing that I find I have to do specially due to being older is to watch my recovery pretty carefully. When I got into my mid-30s or so, it took me a few years to realize that I wasn't "young" anymore, and that I'd have to make adjustments.

Well, I made 'em and now lift more weight than ever. But if you want some rules of thumb:

Never go over an hour of lifting at a time.

Watch your nutrition like a hawk. You don't need a whole plethora of supplements IF you get a decent variety of good food.

That said, there are some supps that help quite a bit. Vitamins E and C are staples; Tribex is a godsend to anyone over about 35; fish and flax oil help more with overall health and immune system function than they do with bodycomp, but being healthy translates into more time in the gym and better workouts, so there you go; eat some veggies and fruit each and every day; get enough fiber!

I don't think that there's any particular difficulty with working out to a very advanced age - like 90 or so. Although your progress slows as you age, other aspects of the game become easier, such as making sure that you get enough sleep every night. Injuries take longer to heal, but you're better at heading them off before they become debilitating.

So it balances out. :slight_smile:


looks like you're out of luck


Well, arthritis has gotten in the way as I have gotten older (52). I can still do everything, but I find warming up and stretching are more important than they used to be. I take lots of supplements for the arthritis -- MSM, glucosamine, chondroitin, fish oil. It takes longer to recover, too.



I have been taking a supplement "CoQ10" that has absolutely increased my endurance. Any of you guys use it?


No secrets, I just listen to my body and lower the intensity/volume when I feel a bit beat up. To miss a workout is not a big deal as it was when I was younger. No point flogging a dead horse.

I make sure I get my vitamintabs, even though I have a decent diet (most off the time).

Streching, I've found that if I'm not keeping up with my streching my knees and back don't want to play!! Have to spend more time on streching every year.

I guess it's just all about training smarter!! So far I'm still improving, I'm bigger and stronger than ever. Thanks to Westside style training. (4Month only)

With age comes wisdom! (At least that what they say!)


I am 42.

Ht 6'1"
Wt 230~
Not sure about body fat %, but would like to get my BF% down to 10 or 12 (see my abs again, been 20 years).

I have a problem with my left elbow when doing heavy curls, at least heavy for me.

I am trying to approach things without thinking about age too much and listen to my body.

Current focus: between the OVT blocks.

Recovery time is an issue, but I work from home and work out at the home gym. I can grab a nap during the day, that helps with recovery. Nutrition is a lot easier.

Supplements: Tried MAG 10 once, liked it. Will use it again soon. Really like the Tribex. Multi-vitamin, Fish oil,xtra C&E, glucosimine/chondrotin. Considering AAS but need more homework. Not sure the health risk is worth it and not really sure if I could get them if I decided to do it. I have discovered Vioxx for when I get to carried away. My son sprain his ankle and the stuff really worked for him.

All my lifts have increased in 2003, especially squat 315 for reps, deadlift 405 (trapbar). Weakness is probably bench, 210 for reps. Never tried to determine 1 rep maxes.

I have discovered some weakness and plan on working on those in the coming year. Plan on fat loss heading into the warmer season.

Nice thing about being 42 is paitence, having the money to buy equipment when I want it.


Although I'm nowhere close to forty, I can relate a bit because of arthritis getting in the way a lot with my lifting/conditioning.

I find visiting a sauna at a public pool every so often (despite how hot it is outside) REALLY helps recovery and any other general relaxation while laying around in hot water.


I agree Zeb it does seem to help my endurance (although I'm not sure there is research data to support this observation).

It is absorbed better with fat so either A. buy one of the forms that has the CoQ-10 in a capsule with a small amount of fat (rather then just powder in a capsule) or B. make sure you have some fat in the same meal. A is safer so that is what I do.

There are studies...probably conducted by various manufacturers showing that their brand of CO Q-10 is better absorbed, and this is why i.e. they have added fat, or compounded the Coenzyme Q-10 to take this into account.


Hey, all you "over 40" guys need to go post somewhere else, like the "Geritol" forum, or the "AARP" Crusty Old Farts Forum.

Actually, I'm funnin' with ya.

I too am over 40 (remember how that sounded like you had one foot in the grave and were days from death when you were in your teens and twenties?)

Guess I've been blessed, because I don't see much difference in anything.

Instictively, I don't throw the weights around with reckless abandon and no fear of injury like I did in my twenties. So I do try to make more of a mind/muscle connection (not to mention mind/ligament/tendon connection!), and move a little more slowly.

And recovery, like char mentioned, is a little slower, but nothing that really gets in the way of my goals.

of course, there is the story about the time my walker got tangled up in the Nautilus Pullover Machine. Another reason to stick to free weights...


Mike Hahaha!


Yes, my CoQ10 does have some fat in them to help disolve the supplement.

A great site for all of you guys is: LifeExtension.com. I have been a member for quite a long time.

They have some great supplements relative to longevity. Check it out. You can read about the various theorys on aging. Very interesting reading.

Yes, age is a strange thing-My body performs as well as it ever has regarding, lifiting, running, biking, martial arts etc. But, if I get an injury it seems to take a bit longer to heal. Otherwise, recovery time has not seemed to change to much.


no secrets.The one thing I have noticed for sure is in my joints.Mainly shoulder and elbow,sometime the pain stays with me for a few days,and I can hear almost a crunching sound in my left shoulder,doing incline dumbell presses.The only adjustment I've had to make make is to slightly decrease the wt,but make up for it (hopefully)by slowing the tempo.Warming up at this age, 48, is more important than ever.



Does your shoulder bother you when you do other movements, or mainly just with the incline presses?


I'm 54, the biggest thing is recovery.So to help with that I train 5 days a week and do a body part a day, so that I give that part a rest for seven days.Warm up is more important now.Of course my shoulders are FUBAR,and one of my elbows bothers me,but WTF.ZEB,my shoulders also really take a hit doing incline work. I'm currently doing a Geritol/Mag-10 stack, it's awesome.


Yeah, forgot to mention the greater emphasis on warming up. Definitely true.

And rotator cuff work! That's been a staple for about three or four years now. First injured it back when I was about 29; took some time off, got a cortizone shot, got back in the gym. Then about three years later it got hurt again. This time it took about six months to heal, and I had to do rehab work. Three years later, injured again. This time it was a year or so before it was really fully recovered.

Now I've smartened up and do a couple sets of RC tube pulls before each and every workout - doesn't matter if I'm working upper body or not. And I have been injury-free ever since (five years now).

Word up.

(Uh, that means, "Verily, he speaketh the truth"... :wink: )


I have found that greater frequency, less volume and higher intensity with shorter workouts work best for me. I believe the reason is probally more related to training age than to chronological age though. Elasticity of muscles and joint condition are the only two areas that I feel need extra consideration in designing a program for the chronologically older lifter.


I stopped all Bench Pressing with a straight bar long, long ago, because of the potential for shoulder trouble.

I use dumbbells only for bench and incline bench pressing. I think the angle and the fact that you can turn your wrists is healthier.

I also do weighted push-ups which give my chest a great pump and are also shoulder friendly.

I took a look around about 10 years ago and saw all my bench pressing pals with shoulder problems. I have been around this stuff long enough to see many people who have had problems from a life time of benching. I took the hint before I had any problems.

How about the rest of you guys? Are you still Benching heavy with a Barbell?