Strongman Training Over 40 Years Old

While most people would consider such an extreme sport something for young athletes to enjoy, Strongman is a sport that can be enjoyed as a master’s athlete, especially if certain considerations are made. Big Z, Mark Felix and Nick Best are still some of the most feared names to compete against and they all left 40 behind years ago. Weather you are starting out later in life or are continuing your athletic journey with your younger days behind you, a few changes should keep you healthy and even winning while others your age strain their backs unloading the groceries.

Cut out the excess

As we age, the repair process begins to slow down and your recovery ability is compromised. The work you put in during training should become more exact and you should not exceed your recovery threshold. Extra sets will most likely be done in vain because you can’t recover quickly enough from them and this slows your overall progression. Yes, you can still make gains but your intensity should increase, definitely not your volume. Less is more in this situation and you may be surprised at what cutting back can do. Keep your work sets to three or less per exercise and only focus on two or three movements per session.

Big Z Yolk Walk
Big Z Yolk Walk

Lighten up

Your health should become a concern. As you age, you should consider leaving the youthful mindset of invincibility behind. Stay lean most of the year and instead of making cuts to get to your weight class, stay close to weight. Maybe even come up in weight just a touch a few weeks before your event. Lighten the stress on your joints and cardiovascular systems to improve overall health and minimize wear and tear. 2018 World’s Strongest Man, Ken McClellan, may be over 300 pounds, but it’s a lean and athletic weight for him and he can still beat guys in their prime ages.

Sleep, not snore all night

Note: The content on BarBend is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as medical advice. When starting a new training regimen and/or diet, it is always a good idea to consult with a trusted medical professional. The opinions and articles on this site are not intended for use as diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of health problems. They are not substitutes for consulting a qualified medical professional.

The thicker your neck and the older you get, the more prone to sleep apnea you may become. If you snore all night you may increase your risk of cardiovascular issues and stroke. By seeing a specialist, you may find a CPAP machine could improve your sleep (and therefore your recovery) and cut your risk of long term health effects. I got on the machine last year and while it’s not the most comfortable solution, it has fixed a dangerous case of apnea. If the only thing you take away from this article is having your sleep examined, consider it a huge win.

Outsmart, outwork, outlast your competition

Assuming you have been at this a while, new PR’s in max weights may be few and far between or even left behind. You may have to reset your weight goals and that’s fine! Strongman is not simply a limit strength event. Begin to focus on your conditioning as a weapon and get your work capacity up. As an athlete, you should have a higher pain tolerance as you age and you can use that advantage to get better at carries and repetitive events. Pay more attention to your game plan and avoid going rogue and abandoning your strategy. Your technique should become flawless as you age and you can avoid wasting precious seconds and energy on each event. With better cardio, a good game plan and lack of errors you can move right past those with less experience than you.

Never think it’s too late to be part of the fun. Get a physical and check your blood work every year and look for ways to make this sport a positive part of aging. The positive effects of Strongman training improve muscle mass, increase lung capacity and confidence and can have you lifting for 20, 30, or 40 more years. Be sure to never lift more than you can handle and stay in touch with the feedback your body is giving you to get the most out the greatest strength sport on the planet!

Editor’s note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein and in the video are the author’s and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.

Michael Gill

Michael Gill

Weight training is in the blood of BarBend contributor Mike Gill. Learning how to lift as part of his conditioning for Jr. High School wrestling fueled a passion that has lasted now for 35 years. He has a background in all weight disciplines and has competed in Bodybuilding, Powerlifting and Weightlifting eventually finding his niche and turning professional in the sport of Strongman. Retired from competition, he now focuses on coaching and applying events from the most versatile weight discipline to other sports. His vast knowledge of Strongman has been highlighted in his work as a color commentator for live broadcasts of the Arnold World Championships, National Amateur Championships, World’s Strongest Man Over 40 and World’s Strongest Woman.Not limiting himself to just working with weights, Mike has used his decades of discipline to work as a life coach and speaker. Additionally he can often be seen in New York City as a stand up comic.He can be reached for coaching at Michaelgill100 [at] gmail.com, @prostrongman on Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram, and on Facebook.

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