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There's no reason you can't build muscle mass, lose fat or deadlift double your body weight in middle age. Jason Statham (52), Hugh Jackman (51) and Dwayne Johnson (48) will attest to that. You just need to be a bit smarter with it. These quick tips will help.
1. Pick Up Something Heavy
Proof that it’s never too late to start: Frontiers in Physiology research shows that even men in their seventies can derive lasting benefits from resistance training. In fact, men up to the age of 50 can build just as much muscle as 22-year-olds. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research.
2. And Stick With It
If you can consistently maintain a training regime for nine straight months, you’re likely to continue it all your life, the University of Helsinki reports.
3. Take the Power Back
People with more explosive power live longer than those who prioritise endurance, says the European Society of Cardiology. Try with squat jumps, med ball slams or sprint training.
4. Train Everything at Once
Fewer total-body sessions are as effective as training split muscle groups (ie arms and chest one day, legs another) more frequently, according to Concordia University. Likewise, compound moves (deadlift, squat, press-up) trump isolation exercises (biceps curl, leg extension) for the older exerciser.
5. Don't Overdo It
A little under an hour of training produces the same results as a punishing five hours, reports Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. There’s no need to slog.
6. Remember: More is More
Performing fewer reps using heavy weights puts older muscles at greater risk of tearing, says the JSCR. So, drop the kilos and spend more time in the 10-15 range.
7. Eat Plenty of Protein
As testosterone tanks and muscle mass becomes harder to hold on to, you need more protein. If you're bored of chicken, try one of these plant-based options. As a bonus, they also contain more fibre, which can help to see off prostate cancer.
8. Make Recovery a Priority
Good sleep, sufficient rest days and a bit of time spent with your massage gun are more important than ever. The good news? Recovery time is roughly the same at 50 as at 25. Put younger men to shame by walking off DOMS with ease.
9. Don't Be Tempted to Cheat
Resist the temptation to top up on growth hormone. Side effects include joint pain and a higher cancer risk, according to Harvard University.
10. Maintain Your Mobility
After the age of 40, our range of motion falls by about six degrees each decade. Maintain mobility by performing dynamic stretches at the start of your workout, or practise mobility moves on your rest days.
11. Work Back to Front
Weak rhomboid muscles will hunch you over and make you look older than you really are. Remember to work your back and shoulders, as well as your chest, and balance pushes will pulls.
12. Build Muscle, Not Just Stamina
Your metabolism will inevitably slow down as you age, but an increase of muscle mass stalls the decline, reports the National Institutes of Health.
13. Finally, Hit the Floor
Deep core strength built by planking will strengthen your lower back, which fights posture deterioration, reports Harvard University. Start with your hands elevated if it's tough, but work up to a full 90 second on the floor.
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