Workout Tips For Older Guys

Staying Injury Free Is The Key To Enjoying A Healthy Weight Training Routine For Many Years To Come.

As your get older you need to respect your body more when you exercise. While a young body is very forgiving and can withstand a lot of use and abuse. Older joints, tendons, and ligaments are not so forgiving.

If you are not careful you can easily end up with strained muscles, aches, pains, tendonitis, joint pain and other nagging injuries. If you are taking the time to read this blog post than I’m sure you can probably relate to this stuff all too well.

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone in hospital

Your mindset in the gym towards working out needs to mature as you get older. A lot of younger guys who are full of piss and vinegar like to push the limit by lifting too heavy, using sloppy form, training to failure and beyond with cheating reps, forced reps, and doing whatever else they can do to literally try and force their muscles to grow. But I’m not pointing fingers at anyone because this is exactly how I used to train when I was a teenager. Looking back at it now I cringe just thinking about some of the workouts I used to do. And the crazy thing was that I got away with it and remained injury free – for a while…

However, as I started to get a little older, and not that old mind you, even by my mid 20’s I could start to feel the aches and pains in my rotator cuff, elbow tendonitis, etc. And this made me realize that I wasn’t invincible. I had to start respecting my body in the gym or else I wouldn’t be able to workout much longer.

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Workout Injury Prevention Tips For “Older” Guys

Note: if you are on an iPad and can’t watch the embedded video clip above,
you can watch it right on my YouTube Channel by Clicking Here

The very first thing you should do when you start your workout is a proper warm up. It just blows my mind how many people ignore this simple piece of advice and walk in off the street – totally cold and head over to the weight rack and jump right in. While they maybe able to get away with it for a little while, eventually skipping the warm up routine will lead to a pulled or torn muscle, tendon, or ligament. It’s just a matter of time.

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Warm Up Exercise Routine To Do Before Workout

Note: if you are on an iPad and can’t watch the embedded video clip above,
you can watch it right on my YouTube Channel by Clicking Here

In addition to a proper warm up routine, you also need to respect your body more, and be a little more forgiving when you train. A motto that I like to live by in the gym is to:

“Live To Lift Another Day”

This means that if you are doing a particular exercise and it hurts or just doesn’t feel right, it’s ok to skip that exercise and do something else. Not every exercise works for every body. And if you try to “man up” and push through the pain you’ll probably end up pulling, tearing, or straining something. Listen to your body and more often than not it will give you warning signs when something is wrong.

In addition to that you need to pay closer attention when pyramiding up in weight. If you are not confident in your ability to handle a certain weight, it is ok to stop short of failure or train lighter – even if you previously lifted that weight before.

Our energy levels are constantly changing. There are numerous factors that can influence your strength levels on a particular day – from your recovery, glycogen stores, how much sleep you’ve been getting, stress at work, family issues, etc. Just because you lifted a certain weight in the gym last week doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be able to lift that same weight again this week.

“If it feels too heavy, than it probably is…”

Stopping a set short of failure or cutting your workout short will NOT hinder your muscle gains. However, if you try to tough it out, grit your teeth, and push through the pain you can very easily get injured and this could set you back weeks, months, or even longer.

“If in doubt, leave it out…”

I would much rather train safe and remain injury free. This will allow you to hit the gym more frequently and reap all the benefits that a healthy bodybuilding lifestyle has to offer. Being too aggressive with your workouts only increasing your risk of getting laid up with injuries.

The older you are, the harder it is to rebound and come back from injuries. While a young guy in his teens or early 20’s maybe able to bounce back within a few weeks. Guys in their 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and older could be set back for months or years and in some cases they may never fully recover from an injury.

Remember to listen to your body and play it smart in the gym so you can
Live To Lift Another Day!

About The Author


Lee Hayward is a former competitive bodybuilder and muscle building coach who has been online coaching people since 1997. His work has been featured in several international magazines such as: FLEX, Muscle Insider, Muscle Mag International, Testosterone, Ironmag, and Forbes. Lee's main focus right now is with helping men over 40 - who don't want to be fat anymore - lose the gut, build muscle, and get back in shape. If you're ready to "Start Again" for the last time and finally build a lean healthy body that you can be proud of, just e-mail Lee to discuss a realistic action plan that's right for you...


  • Gary Gray

    Good Article. First of all 43 is not very old. I began seriously weight lifting training at ago 30. Between age 40 to 45 I was at my all time best and was in 15 powerlifting contests. (at 198 bodyweight, best bench 330, squat 450, deadlift 525 – not same contest) (The 330 bench was a bench only contest and out of 12 people in the 198# class I came in last place, but it was my record best and I will always remember it). Now I am age 74 and I try to do more bodybuilding and grip training. I like to think I can go a few more years.

  • Michael Gonzales

    How about guys over 50???
    I’m going to be 59 in two months and is very Conscience about my Appearance and my safty in and out of the gym..

    Thanks Lee

  • Raja

    Genuine good advice!! Much appreciated!!

  • Michael Gonzales,

    The same advice applies to someone in their 50’s and older.

  • jay d

    Is there a such thing as gettin ripped at 42 ?

  • KeithR

    As an older guy who used to be fit, this really interests me. I’ll definitely be using some of your tips here.

  • MMT

    Very good pieces of advice ! I ignored warming out and joint suplements and now I am out of gym for some months … Too much pain means no gain !

  • Sam

    Great advice Lee. I think as we get older we need to stick to exercises that we feel comfortable with. I find doing squats slowly very soothing.

  • Dana

    Thanks for the good advice Lee. I’m a fifty three year old woman and have been lifting for a good few years. After a lay off I got back in the gym but somewhere along the line I hurt my shoulder. I should know better at my age but the thing is that even after easing up on my shoulder workouts the pain comes back. It feels more ‘sore’ then achy and I notice it more when I’m sleeping (when I turn onto my side). The thing is- it goes away but as soon as I do any shoulder work (even after a good warm up) back it comes again. Any suggestions short of stopping working out altogether? Thanks in advance.

  • Alan

    To prevent joint pain and injuries from weight-bearing exercises, warm-down properly by freeing-up the joints with non-weight-bearing, quick, high repetition exercises. For example, after a session of heavy squats, do a set of 50 or so hindu squats. To prevent elbows from stiffness after a heavy bicep workout, do 50 bicep curls without the weights or even the bar, at a quick pace. Just carry out the same actions with high reps and at speed, but without the weights. After the bench press, just pump the arms up and down 50 times with the same action as the bench press, laying down, but without the weights or bar. Just the arms. Good way to loosen up the joints after weights and prevent joint problems. Leave it all until the whole session is over, then go back over the whole routine with one set of joint-freeing exercises, of perhaps 50 reps each exercise. That takes care of the joints, then stretch to take care of the muscles.

  • Alan


    You could try doing some dynamic shoulder work, non-weight-bearing, to move the shoulder-joint and free it up. If it is just stiff and not injured and in need of recovery through mobilization. Like sending fast-running water through a clogged drain, pump the arms up and down a hundred times a day like the military press, but faster and without the weights. Do the lateral raise 100 times, fast, without bar or weights. And other shoulder exercises you would do in the gym, using this method. Same principle as with my post below. Get some “air” circulating through that joint, so-to-speak. Clear out the cobwebs.

  • Sam

    Great article Lee
    Can we reverse the ageing process by obeying rules, just like when we obey rules for getting fit?

    • Dr Strange

      Time is a one-way street, my friend.