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General Advice for "Over 35 Lifters"

Dear Jim, I know that age is only one factor which determines training but as I apprechiate your opinion in every field of training my question is: do you have any general advice for “older lifters” when following 5/3/1 shedules? Is there a difference compared to a younger lifter following 5/3/1? i’m looking forward to your answer!

General advice:

Do as many recovery sessions as you do training sessions.
Recovery = movement, diet and sleep.
Volume is best served with small movements - to save joints (this is best for those that have a lot of training years AND living years.)

If one has been largely sedentary for a decade or more, it’s important that mobility work be introduced everyday (Agile 8, for example).

For those that have a lot of training 20+ years (consistent, competitive training) - I always tell people this: you can choose to use all that time and experience to your advantage. Or let it break you. There is a big difference between the two training ideas and it’s up to them to choose which side they are on. Some thought must go into evaluating that statement but sometimes, you have to force people to critically think.

The other thing that was brought to my attention by my mentor last week was how training evolves in different stages for a long time lifter. In his words, “Lifting and exercise is a pathway to continual challenge of the self: even if it shifts. Form, task, weight, purpose, etc… you can always find another
goal to go after and feel the joy of the quest.”

Thanks a lot, Jim! You are right: there are always goals to shoot for-in life and in training…

Hope it’s cool to ask here?

When you say "Recovery=Movement, diet, sleep. The “movement” part, are you talking about doing work similar to Conner McGreggor( for example ) or the 1 mile walk which I think I remember you being a fan of?

Long story short, do you mind expanding on the “movement” part of recovery?

I have no idea about Conor McGregor? I watch him fight but don’t train him or know anything about what he does. I have pretty much cut any TV, computer news or any distraction to the greater good of my family and my health. We watch movies and sports but purposely ignore most everything as it does nothing for our family and our goals. It’s not right for everyone and understand the appeal of these things, but I don’t want to die tomorrow wasting my life on a culture that I feel nothing for.

We do a variety of mobility, agility, jumping and bodyweight stuff - same idea as the Wildcat Warmup we did in college only done without having a practice field. I just simplified it for a home gym.

It’s far beyond the scope of this forum. It has been, for me anyway and some of the guys I work with, a life saver. Never sore anymore, and always feel fresh.

Awesome. You have given me all the info I need on that. I appreciate it.

Mobility, while my least favorite thing to do and extremely time consuming, always seems to make me feel better in my 40s. Hate doing it but love it after. Took stuff from Eric Cressey which I’m sure you can find. Also, the smarts to walk away when it’s time, as opposed to adding plates and grinding out a few more reps which I would’ve done at a younger age for stubborn pride’s sake. On rare occasion, I get stupid and still do this and always pay for it. Walking away with some left in the tank helps us live to see tomorrow. Been blessed to train with a guy that’s 55 and still almost a triple body weight deadlifter and double bodyweight bencher. Lots of wisdom from that guy. Find some older guys that are still getting it done.

As an older lifter (46) who has trained relatively consistently since my teens and started using 5/3/1 last year. I found that taking the deload week every cycle is much better for my body than using the 6 week training cycle from Beyond 5/3/1. I tried taking the deload after every two cycles twice and both times my body was needing a break during weeks 5 and 6.


This, right? Interesting stuff…and kind of funny looking :laughing:

Trends - when will people learn it’s always the same shit just packaged differently?

Apparently never.

That little tard shimmy wave move in the beginning is great.

I tend to pick up on that very thing quite often. I just used him as an example because of his current popularity and thought it was the best example of what I was trying to see if you were recommending as part of the “movement” aspect of the recovery category.

Some of the movements they are doing have some yoga pose look to them, just they have the body moving in a direction while getting into them. I have a small part of me that kinda likes the approach.

But, after your first response to my question, I have continued to use my old football warmups and off-season drills to work on movement in my recovery.

Honestly, up until reading this thread, I was only doing movement work once to maybe three times a week. You opened my eyes a little with your statement of double the amount of recovery compared to training.

For guys like me, who do not make a living at this, the reason “trends” like this work is because we forget about some of the things we used to do and then someone re-packages it and it immediately sparks interest because you see what they are looking to accomplish with their drills and know it will work because you have been apart of it working in the past.

I respect your knowledge in this field and I am thankful you take the time to interact with us on this free site.

Appreciate it man.

Just think about it like this:

We all need some strength work, some mobility work and some conditioning work, regardless of levels or goals. What forms these things take vary greatly depending on who you are, where you are and where you are going.

Mobility and movement work, or whatever you want to call it, can be many things: basic stretching, Yoga, basic “athlete” warm-ups, Agile 8, tumbling (to a certain degree) or a fusion of all these things. I assume people are jumping on McGregor’s shit because he won - that’s not a surprise. EVERY year, who ever wins the national championship in NCAA football - everyone wants to know their “secret”. And coaches line up and visit and ask the coaches to speak.

So whoever is currently “hot”, whatever they are doing becomes the “trend”.

And then you take a step back and realize it’s just something that has already been done or being repackaged in a certain way. Diet trends are the worst with this. Training is a close second.

The problem people have is ignoring they need SOMETHING of each of the 3 components of training. How many distance runners don’t lift? How many PL’s don’t do mobility work and aerobic work? How many Yoga People don’t strength train and do conditioning work? You can see where I"m going.

The older one gets, the more recovery you need. it’s not hard to figure this out - you aren’t the same person you were when you were 18 - and your body is worn down, especially for the Lifers out there. My wife calls the shit I do, “unfunctional training” - because I’m doing a lot of movements that I wouldn’t do if I was training.

Understand that you don’t need to spend an hour on this stuff. 15-20 minutes/day will suffice. Sometimes more and sometimes less. BALANCE does not mean equal time.

Once you’ve been around a bit, you see this shit come and go at an alarming rate. Do some squats, pulls, presses, stretch and get the lungs working - you’ll be good to go.


Quality. I can dig it.

This is some simple wisdom here. :+1:

Not 35 yet but my joints seem to think they are so I’ll add:
-make use of the 5/3 principle if you’re not already.
-consider rotating in the 2x2x2 template to your programming periodically or as needed. It’s a phenomenal way to keep you honest about really giving enough attention to conditioning and mobility. It can also really help you maintain sanity if you have to back off of anything to address some issues in the meantime.

I am 48 -
the best I ever heard ti put was from I guy I generally do not like but what he says in this regard rings true -
As we get older, our body gets more sensitive -
Think about it - I eat too much pizza now I get heartburn where I use to be able to eat an entire 19 inch and wake up after 4 hours of sleep and kick ass.
Same with training - I actually can do most of what I did when I was younger and in some cases more.
Except that I know I will pay later - i.e. I cannot max outl deadlift less that 2 days from maxing out my squat - I need 4-5 days.

"Volume is best served with small movements . . . "

small movements = Wendler 6? or stuff like face pulls etc?

I’m 44 and have been using 5/3/1 since Jim published the first book. Over those years I’ve had some injuries, been beat up, done the minimum, and performed challenges. Here is what works for me and has me feeling fresh and injury free for 6 full cycles now, with no deload:

  1. I lift 3 days per week, MWF
  2. I walk every day, preferably upon waking, for 15-30 minutes. 15 is the absolute minimum for me to get loosened up. If I do this my back, knees and hips feel amazing every session. I follow my walks with some light active stretching, squat sits, etc.
  3. I condition 3 days per week on my off days. Sprints (Hill, bike, treadmill, etc), jump rope, basketball
  4. I started my last cycle with my maxes WAY WAY low. I do joker sets on 3x3 and 5/3/1 days.
  5. I cap rep maxes at 10
  6. I only do prescribed reps on 3x5 days
  7. After 5 cycles of increase, I dropped back down to Cycle 3 numbers, and am focused on setting rep maxes, including the final joker set.

One year ago I had to take a couple months off to rehab a bulged disc. At this time, my strength is at about equal to the highest level I’ve been, which was 4 years ago. And I feel much better.

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