Bodybuilding from 40 years and over : Part 1

Several times, I have been asked for a program, a cycle, a diet for people over 40. When reading these questions, one has the impression that this is it, it is the beginning of the end… Certainly our hormones are on the decline, our body pays, perhaps, the afflictions of the past but age is not a fatality. We can continue to train and it’s even good for the body (and the head).

State of the art

The body is less flexible, we are more prone to injuries, we have more difficulty to recover…

“Oh Thor49, I feel rusty!!!”

First of all, we need to work on our flexibility, activate our central nervous system and warm up well in order to prepare our next session.

“Okay but how do we proceed?”

The first important phase: the warm-up.
The purpose of this phase is to activate our central nervous system, to activate more strength during the sessions, to increase our body temperature, to increase our heart rate, to avoid injuries among others…


In the last few years, we have seen a (torture?) device appear; the famous foam roller.
You know, that compact foam roller.
There is also the tennis ball or the bands…
What could be better than the famous Agile 8 or Limber 11 of Mr. Joe DeFranco (famous trainer for NFL, NBA, UFC, MLB athletes among others!!!).
His methods target the lower body, the back and the spinal part.

Agile 8:

Limber 11:

Note from Thor49: If you are injured or at least recovering.
Nothing prevents us from doing some “rehab” exercises in order to prepare the injured area well for this prelude.

For the upper body:

Shoulders…Who here has never suffered from shoulder pain.
Most injuries in this area are caused by poor flexibility and often by a poor warm-up.
That’s why I really like elastic bands.
They allow to bring blood (and thus nutrients) in the targeted zone but also to work the flexibility gently (in the pain too^^)
I do this type of dynamic stretching every time I train my upper body…

2. activate the central nervous system

Plyometric work.
This training technique involves the stretch-contraction cycle and is essential in the development of reactive strength by stimulating the muscles to create more force in the transition from eccentric to concentric action.
The inclusion of plyometrics has a huge carryover in building the beginning of polyarticular movements.
However, it should be noted that these ballistic movements are taxing on the nervous system and should not be overused with a ton of volume.
Aim for 3 to 4 sets of 3 to 5 reps.

Example of plyometric work:

Upper body:

Examples of plyometric pumps

Lower body:

Jumping squat, box jumps, one-legged lateral jump with landing on opposite leg or same leg.

3. the crawling

What is this beast? It’s actually quite simple. Our temperature has risen. We activated our CNS. We worked on our flexibility! Anyway, we’re hot here…

Ramping is the process of doing a specific number of sets of exercises. With each set, the number of repetitions is decreased but the load is increased before reaching the workload. It also allows you to measure your strength of the day.
Generally, I need between 3 to 8 sets of crawling depending on the exercise. For example, if on my session of the day, the bench will be targeted. Here is how my crawling will be organized:

Set 1: Deadlift 15-20 reps
Set 2: 20kg > 10-15 reps
Set 3: 40kg > 8 reps
Series 4: 80kg > 6 reps
Series 5: 120kg > 4 reps
Series 6: 150kg > 2 reps

Then I can get on with my work
A.Bench 3×5 @ 125kg
B.The following…

Note from Thor49: It usually takes me 25min to get there, the rest of my session is done in 30-40min. It doesn’t last 2 hours…

NB: This type of warm-up is also suitable for all types of athletes, whatever their age or sport.