An athlete’s mind might never lose its competitive drive, but the body won’t always respond like it did when you were younger. When you start feeling more age related aches and pains, it’s time to change your workout to accommodate this process. It’s just a fact of life that the risk of an injury increases as you age, if you don’t make adjustments to your workouts. Adapting is the key for staying fit and injury free.
A great example is 3x Mr Olympia, Frank Zane. In his years of competing at a very high level, he trained intensely. He lifted a lot of heavy weights, and free weights were a staple in his training regime. Now that he’s older, he reported that he has made the adjustment from lifting heavy weights to lifting lighter weights with more repetitions. He also focuses on using machines more in his workouts.
An important benefit for the switch to using lighter weights as you age is that it puts less stress on your joints. You can compensate for the lighter weight load by increasing your rep range. Using machines is also a good choice as they are generally safer on the body than free weights. This is a natural progression to staying injury free as well. Switching from heavier to lighter weights, increasing your rep range, and using more machines are all keys to continuing a strong fitness program well into your senior years.
Remember to be realistic during your workouts because the mind might say yes, but your body is struggling to keep up. If you are in the gym, working out, making adjustments – you are doing great – no matter what your age. Celebrate that!