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Minimize Injuries, Maximize Progress With Recovery

Getting older doesn’t mean you have to quit working hard, but it does mean you need to be smarter about how you go about it. Recovery is the key to progress, and if you are over 40, you should be tweaking your program so you can get as much active recovery as possible before your next max effort or intensity workout.

Up until now you might have prided yourself on not having missed a day in your training for the last several years, but if you are over 40, training hard seven days a week is a sure route to an early retirement from your sport or activity.

As we age, you can still TRAIN for the same number of hours a week, but the BREAKDOWN of the training has to change.

One thing is absolutely for sure – the older we get the more active recovery time we need. Let me say that again, if you are over 40, you need more recovery time following your harder, more intense training sessions. We for the most part, have no control over this. It is what it is. Period.

The first thing to remember is that, as we age, you can still TRAIN for the same number of hours a week, but the BREAKDOWN of the training has to change.

For example, at 20 years old, you might have been training for 10 hours a week, with 9.5 of those hours you were for an getting bigger, stronger and faster (adaptive effect), while only about, 30 minutes were spent doing stretching, mobility, or even some type of rehab work (active recovery).

And now at 40, you can still train for 10 hours, but you only need as few as 4-5 hours may be for adaptive effect.

Why This Is Important

First, our bodies take a little longer to warm up and finally get moving. Our heart rate doesn’t get as high as quickly. Our circulation isn’t quite what it used to be, so even our joints take longer to warm up.

Second, the most critical thing is, GETTING INJURED IS NOT AN OPTION (Believe me, I know!).

As we get older, we need to replace blind-aggressive enthusiasm, with technical skill and mastery. And while the former could cover up a lot of mistakes back in the day, the latter will stop you from making those mistakes in the first place now.

Because of this we need to realize that our movement quality needs to improve. What does that mean?

Our first loaded rep or movement should be as textbook as our last, even on warmups. Your bench press (movement) using just the bar for your warmup, should look exactly the same as 225 pounds for 10 reps.

Teaching yourself to keep and maintain perfect form from start to finish, can help to limit and even prevent injuries from happening every time we train, while keeping us still running marathons and deadlifting well into our 50's, 60's and 70's.

Rules to Grow Older By

  1. Train with purpose. As your "adaptive training hours" start to go down, the quality of those hours becomes even more important. Go into the training room or gym with a plan and stick to it. Remember what your goals are. Every workout should be centered around those goals and nothing else. Don't waste your time with some synchronized-to-music kettle bell circuit or "Turkish-Getup your girlfriend challenge". Not only are they useless, but also could be a high risk for injury.

  2. Add targeted mobility work. Performing targeted mobility warm-up of the muscles and movements to come is essential. When you can perform your first target exercise or movement with nearly zero tightness or discomfort, then you are warmed up. If you are squatting down to depth with just the bar and everything already feels tight and shifty, throwing 45’s on each side isn’t the solution anymore. Pay attention to how your body feels and how it is moving, and target your warmup to loosening up those adductors, or getting your knees tracking properly. “Warm up by performing the movement” is no longer adequate (I’ve changed my views on this over the years).

  3. Incorporate complete rest days. You should actually schedule at least ONE FULL REST day into your workout schedule. You might even need two days of complete rest from your sport or exercise. If you are pushing your body through pretty tough and stressful workouts, don’t limit to yourself to just one rest day. Add an additional day or two of recovery. One way to figure out how much rest you need is to keep a workout journal. Here you can track your progress and you will be able to pay attention to how quickly or slowly you recover from workout to workout.

  4. Sleep. Yes, this one needs to be on the list, even though I don't really need to tell you - so here it goes. The modern-day world, full of entertainment and the possibility for an exciting social life, leads to many people being sleep-deprived. And well, the truth is that the time when our conscious brain is out of service happens to be the same time when the body is at its deepest state of recovery. Optimize your sleep and you will optimize your recovery. Period.

  5. Lose your fear. Try new things. Keeping the mind engaged with new challenges, new tasks that require coordination, new patterns for the brain to learn- these things pay dividends as we age. Learning new skills can actually delay age-related cognitive decline, and this same rule applies for our bodies. Learning new movements requires developing balance, improving coordination and uncovers weaknesses we didn’t know we had. Try yoga or start Jiu Jitsu (hint, hint) - do SOMETHING that requires you to get out of your comfort zone. This will reward you even in your preferred activity… and learning new tasks may uncover talents that you never knew existed.

Last But Not Least

Remember that even on your workout days, your body is still trying to recover from the last hard workout you did. Not listening to your body and ignoring your need to rest, will lead to constant injures and setbacks.

If you are over 40, the answer is not to train harder, but to train harder less often. The secret with training is not how much you do, but how much your body can handle, and that amount is often much lower than you might think.

You need to moderate your training, take rest days and use proper nutrition and supplementation to ensure adequate recovery and repair so you can continue to see results and progress in your training.

Get Started Today!

If your current workouts are no longer giving you the results you’re after, check out any of our Online Fitness Coaching or One on One Training programs, and find the program that best fits your health, fitness and even performance needs!

Donny King Fitness gives you the most cutting edge intuitive-user experience along with the most advanced workout design tool ever created. If you have questions or want more information on how you can reach you fitness goals, contact us today.

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