06/29/2009 - bob
Bodybuilding Over 40, or Is It?
Bodybuilding over 40…
I am sure glad I landed on Vince DelMonte’s info when I did. I recently did a few searches on “bodybuilding over 40” and browsed a couple of “supplements are awesome” sights. The only bodybuilders over 40 I could find in my quick check of any discussion of age and bodybuilding had been bodybuilding since their early 20s. Granted, I found a few impressive guys, over 70 even, who were big and ripped… but had been doing it for 40 years, obviously with gifted genetics.
I did feel a bit self-conscious when I used the term “bodybuilding” to describe my efforts. After all, I don’t own a speedo and I’m not going to shave my chest or my legs… but I am working hard on building muscle. I’m not just toning. I’m lifting. I’m not just doing a few sets of bench presses and squats to maintain my current muscle mass. I’m going through a routine, increasing weight and intensity, to grow.
I guess it was a bit of a sanity check that led me out into the big, bad world of relentless nonsense on bodybuilding. One blog post written by some pro bodybuilder talked about weights to use if you are over 40 and going to start training again… I could swear I read “for the bench, pick a light weight, about 225lbs, to re-introduce yourself to training.”
I can’t even imagine trying lifting my old maximum workout weights… especially doing supersets of compound exercises. But I started light, and built up some endurance, and strength, and am making great progress. It’s not about “benching 200” which was a high school taunt… (I can’t remember what my old max bench weight ever was, because I was doing inclines for the years I tried the Mentzer routine.) It’s not about the weight, or the reps, it’s about building muscle. If I can do it with a 10 pound dumbbell, doing the crazy shoulder superset at the end of my workout, that’s what it is.
If you’re thinking about getting back in shape yourself, go for it! Start with really light weights… maybe even “just the bar” so you can get your form down and ease into it so you don’t hurt yourself. There’d be not much worse than getting all psyched up to start building muscle again and have to stop because you hurt your shoulder, for example.
I’ve been healthy, not gaining much weight, no hypertension, etc, so it was a lot easier for me to get back in to a routine. Still, it took me four weeks to get to three times through DelMonte’s superset routine. So if you’ve not done any exercise lately, make sure your doctor clears you, and start fast walking or biking to get your heart used to beating hard. Then, I’d do the routine I started with, and go once through it. When you change your old training method from “waiting around until I recover as much as possible to do the next set of the same exercise” model to the superset model, your body will change quickly.
Tomorrow, if I don’t actually get the sore throat bug going through my family, I’ll start the second week of 4 by 10. Need some sleep too, so with that, I’m off for tonight.