Average Joe-I'm no expert, but I have been lifting hard since the beginning of this year, and I'll be 47 at the end of this month. Personally, after slowly 'puttin' on the pudge' for years despite a fairly active lifestyle (lots of hiking and fishing, but also lots of indulging too!), I decided to really burn some fat and add some lean, hard muscle. My current goals, among others, are to see my abs (if I have any to see!) by my birthday, lose a couple more inches off my waistline, and start defining the 12-15# of muscle mass (estimated-4 inches off waist and bulkier everywhere else) I've packed on through hard work and lots of protein. Here are a few things I have learned/am learning as I go that may help:
-The compound lifts are great for putting on mass and strength, though I have to be careful with the squats, and quit doing the deadlift recently when I developed lower spine issues. I'm not sure it's worth the risk, at least for me.
-Alternate very heavy workouts with lighter ones to avoid over-training and straining our late 40's bones, joints, and connective tissue. Take a few days or a week off every couple of months for the same reason.
-I have made significant strength gains as I near the end of a bottle of Amplified Creatine 189. Though I was leery about it, I did a LOT of on-line research; I feel it is safe if I don't over-do it (don't double-up like the young bucks), drink a ton of water, and otherwise respect my kidneys. I may try just straight creatine monohydrate next.
-When I get stuck in a rut strength-wise (can't add weight), I have had good results by changing exercises. For instance, I was having trouble upping my poundage on dumbell rows (the aforementioned back issues), switched to a rowing machine, and have really upped the weight.
-Though I don't have the upper-body strength yet to really do dips or wide-grip chins, I hear that body-weight exercises like these can really help with the strength in those areas. I do know that, by only going all out once a week, and adding in flies, cable cross-overs, incline presses, etc., my bench press is really improving dramatically, which gives me confidence to up the weight on other exercises. (Hint: Those 2.5# and 5# weights are great for small incremental weight jumps).
-For instance, I was doing three sets of curls with our gym's fixed-weight EZ curls bars (40/50/60#). I just decided to drop the 40# warmup set, and start with the 50#, and go up the rack to the 70# (which I can only get a few strict reps from, plus a few cheat-reps with slow negatives). That's probably small potatoes to the serious lifters on here (Azmark), but it was a big deal to me. I've got my eye on that 80# bar for the near future, and have done similar with nearly all my lifts (up the starting weight, add some to the max where possible).
-For the recovery that is so important at our age, you can't beat the steam-room and whirlpool if your gym has such-this is also where I stretch back out after a hard workout. I feel that the creatine, lots of bed-time protein, and a recovery tea I make all help with this, though there are lots of products on the market for the purpose.
-As an older fella in my gym (who moves a lot of weight, BTW) says, "It's not how much you lift it, it's how you lift it." For me, strict form and full range of motion are things I shoot for on every set of every exercise.
Keep at it, and maybe we can keep each other motivated. My long-range goal is to give myself an awesome body for my 50th birthday. So far so good. I've never been more motivated, and frankly, and am in better shape, am more athletic than I have ever been in my life.
BTW-Aren't you on SRP too? Just checking-Aaron
"Me they can kill. You they own."