Training for Veteran Lifters
I'm not that old but my body has been through a lot and I've really had to rethink training the last year. I'm not 18 anymore, but I'll be damned if I'm not going to keep kicking ass; I just have to be a little smarter about how I kick that ass.
Here are a few things I've done to keep myself healthy and feeling good, and still able to make progress on my bigger lifts.
Warm up (Using a PVC pipe, band, and lacrosse ball)
The first thing I do before every workout is roll out my IT bands, groin, hips, upper and lower back using a PVC pipe. I also use a lacrosse ball on my piriformis. After that, I static stretch my hip flexors and hamstrings using an average band. This really only takes about 10-15 minutes and I highly recommend people do this at least 1-3 times a day. It will make a massive difference.
So, a typical warm up would be:
• PVC pipe work
• Lacrosse Ball
• Band Stretching
After that, I also like to do some med ball slams, med ball throws, Prowler pushes, jumps, or bodyweight exercises to get my body ready for training. This is not a workout, but more of a primer; so treat it as such.
Bodyweight assistance work
This is another thing I've done quite a bit of. I always start my workouts with a big exercise (squat, clean, deadlift, press, bench) and very often follow it up with simple bodyweight exercises such as dips, chins/pull-ups, pushups, glute-ham raises, back raises, various ab exercises, and one leg squatting.
This allows me to get some extra work in but not load my spine or my body too much. So if you're feeling excessively sore or your joints are hurting, this might be a good option.
"Old Man" assistance work (using machines only)
This might be one of the better options for hypertrophy and strength among lifters who still want to make good progress on their bigger lifts but want to save their body. This is very similar to the bodyweight assistance work listed above: do the main lift/lifts of the day and hit the machines to train your assistance work.
First, it's going to be easier; man made machines to do his work for him. Second, you don't get caught up in what you're lifting when you're using a machine (well, at least you're less likely). Finally, you're able to get some good hypertrophy work in your workout.
Dan John mentioned in one of his latest articles
that hypertrophy training was very important for an older lifter; the trick is to be smart enough about it so you can keep your strength up without completely burning out. My suggestion? Treat hypertrophy work like Viagra: pump up your muscles and have a good time. Use this time to do some of the stuff you used to do when you were a young kid and first discovered training.
As long as you make sure you are training your first lift hard and smart, you'll always be on the right track.