Strength Training for Women Over 40: What Is Important?
The following are some of the most important points to consider when planning your own strength training program for yourself or someone else. These are just guidelines, so feel free to adjust them if necessary. You may have different goals than what these suggestions suggest. However, it’s always good to start with a goal in mind and then work towards achieving it!
Your Body Has Been Getting Older For A Long Time And Your Muscles Have Become Weaker.
You’ve probably heard the saying “you’re only as strong as your last set” before. If you haven’t, it might be time to reevaluate how much you train. Or maybe you already knew this but were too lazy to do anything about it.
Either way, now is the perfect time to get started on changing things up in your routine!
If you want to build muscle, you need to eat enough calories to fuel your workouts. If you don’t, then your muscles won’t grow. However, if you aren’t eating enough calories and/or carbs during the day, then your metabolism slows down which means that it takes longer for your muscles to gain weight.
So how many calories should you be eating?
Well, the amount of calories you need to eat is dependent upon a number of factors including your height, weight, age, and activity level. The easiest way to figure this out is to search online for calorie calculators that you can fill out and it’ll tell you how many calories you need to consume.
You also need to be consuming enough carbohydrates and protein. The amount that you need to consume again is dependent upon your activity level and other factors. Just make sure you’re eating enough of both and you’ll be fine.
The last thing you need to do to ensure that you are indeed building muscle is to rest and recover. Just like when we were growing up, our bodies need time to heal themselves after strenuous activity.
Otherwise, how are you going to get stronger?
So, in review…
Calories: consume enough of them to gain weight
consume enough of them to gain weight Carbs: consume enough of them to provide energy for your workouts and rest of the day
consume enough of them to provide energy for your workouts and rest of the day Protein: consume enough of it to ensure that you’re repairing and building muscle fiber
consume enough of it to ensure that you’re repairing and building muscle fiber Rest and Recover: make sure you’re doing this if you want to see results
What Is The Best Workout Program For Women Over 40?
Now that you have a better idea of what you should be aiming for, let’s talk about some workouts that you can try out. You aren’t going to become a fitness model over night and get a Victoria’s Secret Body by next week. It’s going to take time, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t see instant results.
That being said, when it comes to exercise and getting in shape, it’s all about consistency and sticking with a routine. If you go to the gym for one day and then stop going, well then you aren’t really going to see any results.
You need to go on a regular basis and build upon that consistency. So even if you can only do one set of 15 reps of an exercise during your first week of training, at least you went to the gym. Try to eventually work your way up to three sets of that same exercise as the weeks go on.
You also need to be patient with your body. If you’ve spent most of your life being sedentary, then suddenly you’re going to go to the gym six days a week and try to run yourself into the ground, you probably aren’t going to see the results you want and it’s even possible that you could get injured. Take things slow.
Your body will adjust.
Now, before we get into the actual workouts, let’s address a few more topics…
There are several different types of workout routines that you can follow. The goal is to find one that fits your skill level and your personal preference. You want to enjoy the workout and you also want one that’s not going to cause any injury.
Try out several different ones to see what you prefer.
Keep in mind that when it comes to weight training, you should always warm up first. Don’t dive right into the heavy weights. You can pull a muscle if you aren’t used to lifting and try to lift too much weight.
Always warm up first by doing an aerobic activity such as jogging or even just a light walk for five to ten minutes. Then move onto your weight training.
Also, be sure to stretch after your workout too. Stretching helps increase blood flow and allows for your muscles to repair themselves quicker.
Mix It Up
In order to avoid getting bored with your workouts, you’re going to want to switch things up every once in awhile. Don’t just do the same routine over and over again. This is why many people only last a few weeks at the gym and then quit.
They get burned out on the same routine.
What can you do about this?
Well you can try doing different types of routines every few weeks or even every few days if you’re really feeling ambitious (which I don’t recommend for beginners).
For example, let’s say that you’ve been doing tons of crunches to get a six-pack. You do three sets of 50 every other day and this has been working well for you. However, after about two months you start to get sick of doing the same routine.
You’re bored with it and your results have started to plateau.
Instead of just doing these for another few months, it might be a good idea to switch things up a bit and try something different.
Sources & references used in this article:
Selective muscle hypertrophy, changes in EMG and force, and serum hormones during strength training in older women by K Häkkinen, A Pakarinen… – Journal of applied …, 2001 – journals.physiology.org
Effects of age, gender, and myostatin genotype on the hypertrophic response to heavy resistance strength training by FM Ivey, SM Roth, RE Ferrell, BL Tracy… – The Journals of …, 2000 – academic.oup.com
Effect of age on muscle hypertrophy induced by resistance training by S Welle, S Totterman, C Thornton – The Journals of Gerontology …, 1996 – academic.oup.com
Effects of strength and endurance training on isometric muscle strength and walking speed in elderly women by S Sipilä, J Multanen, M Kallinen, P Era… – Acta Physiologica …, 1996 – Wiley Online Library
Effects of strength training on muscle hypertrophy and muscle cell disruption in older men by BF Hurley, RA Redmond, RE Pratley… – … journal of sports …, 1995 – thieme-connect.com
Intervention with a combined physical exercise training to reduce oxidative stress of women over 40 years of age by MP Mota, ZA Dos Santos, JFP Soares… – Experimental …, 2019 – Elsevier
Effects of strength training, detraining and retraining in muscle strength, hypertrophy and functional tasks in older female adults by CS Correa, G Cunha, N Marques… – Clinical physiology …, 2016 – Wiley Online Library