Strength Is Key

I have not done much writing of late as I/we have been working towards an even more basic future that I will soon write about in the Life Balance section on this site for those interested. Those that are close know of my basic philosiphies of life and balance of ‘doing and not having’. I long for the simple life and the enjoyment of not a jot of stress.

My story may help others to see the wood for the trees and realise there is more to life than work and nice cars, there is a completly different lifestyle that can be had, its not for everyone but it may make you think and make changes if it fits your mindset. For more on life balance look to that section and look for a new article soon.

But for now let us look at the basics of this sport/art life we love and how to stay strong.    

The key to keeping muscle on your frame as we age is a simple process of staying strong as you can.

Here’s another simple but to the point quote that connects perfectly with the above statement.
Use it or loose it.
This simply means if you are not constantly pushing your boundaries or at least keeping your strength stable – you will loose that tissue. If its not needed it will not stay.

So with that being said as you age and old dings and dents prevent the use of heavy weights in the movements we have done for years, you must find a way to progress in that said move to stay strong on the basics. Otherwise you will loose size off that major area, that’s nature.
I have seen this happen over the years with many ageing body builders and that’s fine if you want to reduce and trim down. But if you want to still keep that youthful size and roundness to the old bod you have to find a way to stay strong.
Now I cover these basics exercises and their variations in great detail in my book Old But Strong.
But let’s here cover a few points.

Make use of the rack – heavy short range pain free moves – coupled with full range med heavy work.

Negatives in an odd way offer less pain and have huge strength payback.

Thick bars -also allow heavy basic moves with less strain on the joints, oddly you can lift smoother with more strength and less clunking and grinding.

Use bands and chains to overload the strongest points of the movements, again less strain in the vunerable points of the movement.

For those still young and prepping for shows here is a valuable point.

You must stay strong, you must do so as in order not to loose tissue.
More tissue – faster metabolism more fat loss – more ripped and fuller.
I picked this tip up from Mike O’Hearn.

As he is coming down in weight to be ripped for a guest pose. He keeps his size by using the same heavy weights for lower reps and does more sets with that weight.
So let’s look at this, first as many do this normally.

Say your squatting 3 plates aside for 3 sets of 6 -8 reps – and as you get closer to the show you start to feel lean and 6 -8 reps seems to be crushing you and the style seems to break down from session to session.
As the weeks progress you reduce the weights until eventually your doing just over 2 plates a side for the same 6-8 reps.
Obviously the body is going to reduce that tissue somewhat.

Here is another idea.
Stay with the 3 plates or even add up a little and do sets of 2 reps for maybe 6-7 sets, therefore keeping the body accustomed to the heavy work.
I had another take on this whereupon I would do 2 reps rest pause for 15 (with the bar on the saddles but still on my back) seconds the do another rep or two, rest pause again do another 1 or 2 till my 6 is achieved. I would do 3 sets of this rest pause work.

This can work for all the big basic muscle building and keeping moves. All your add on exercise can be worked in normal rep ranges – you will find that if you keep your base strength up the other moves will not loose a dot.

No matter what many so called experts say. You must get stronger in the basics to be bigger.
If you don’t believe this I will ask you this.
“In order to get bigger, what must you do get weaker?”
Love to ya all Ian

1 reply
  1. peter yates
    peter yates says:

    Hi Ian,good to have you posting again and as usual right on the money.I used to be A 20 rep death set squatter.Now at 66 i never go higher than 5 but mostly stay in the 2 or 3 range. This way i can still use relatively heavy weights but do not get worn out or suffer joint pains. Higher reps are OK for isolation exercises but i rarely do them now saving my energy for the biggies.So much has been written about CV health as regards aging but retaining strength is just as important but seldom addressed. Thanks for doing so.


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *