“Unstoppable”-getting started with strength training in middle age (and beyond)

Jun 29, 2022

We may be over the hill a bit, but the world desperately needs us to care and to help out, now more than ever.  Heck, we need it!  Life is richer with meaning than ever before.  Are we ready?   

In our twenties, people in their 30’s seemed old. In my 50’s, people in their 30’s seem young.   Like they have no idea what their bodies are about to do to them.  In middle age (and beyond), our biology shifts, first whispering, then raising its voice as the years go by:

“You had your time.  It’s all downhill from here… and it gets more slippery with every step.  Maybe it’s time to take a nap.”  

This biological tide starts going out in our thirties, the pull getting stronger with each trip around the sun. 

At first it’s a shock to hear some of the stuff that comes out of our mouths, but as the evidence mounts, we stop resisting.  Sentences like:

“I used to eat whatever I wanted and never gain weight, now I can’t get rid of this belly, no matter what I do!”

“When did my body get so creaky in the morning!”

“This back pain sucks!”

“My butt is so flat!” 

How do we shout “NO!”  How do we mellow out the tide, slow it down and convince our biology that our physical bodies are still relevant? 

How can we make middle age feel lively and last until check out time? 

Yep, you know it, strength training.  Good nutrition helps a lot too. 

Maybe you think you won’t like it, that it's not for you.  But what if it’s easier and more fun than you think, and totally worth it?  

You can even wear daring shirts like one they sell at my gym, West Coast Strength, that say “Lft Hvy Sht” or my “Strong Strong Friends”!

Resistance band workouts offer a fantastic way to start working out in middle age (or later). 

For fitness success, we need to address our posture and tweaky patterns at the front door and on every floor! 

We need to keep our joints, muscles, and connective tissues active and on board.  Stretchy bands activate our vital tissues while giving us stability challenges that help integrate the core and nervous system.

Will you outgrow them, though? Not at all. Even if I’m hitting heavy weights, I use bands daily for warm ups and prehab or rehab!

Bands are also ideal for vacations.  Say you are going on a trip to Europe for a month and want to keep your strength gains going.  Pack a few resistance bands, and coupled with some body weight exercises, you can keep your workouts going, and enjoy the physical and mental enhancement that training brings.  

Such focus will keep us safe, and…keep us going!  

Let’s check out a balanced strength training workout with bands, one that will enhance your posture, strengthen your legs, back, and core, and can even be done outside, maybe on that camping trip coming up?  

Here’s a basic Pull-Push-Core-Legs Line up:

Let’s start with the Standing Row (Pulling):

Here’s a Chest Press with Pec Flies (Pushing):

Now let’s work the Core, and integrate the whole body:

Let’s finish up with springy lunges (Legs)! Start with the support of the back of a chair, or table if needed, get familiar with the movement, and get playful!

General Tips:

  • Start with the smallest bands in the set and get your form really tight before moving up in resistance

  • Try 10 repetitions per exercise, and move on to the next one, until you have completed one circuit (one 10 repetition set of each exercise). Do as many circuits as you like (1-5 is plenty!)

  • Breathe rhythmically into your belly

  • Keep shoulders down and back (relax the neck!)

  • Belly button pulled in

  • Athletic, springy legs, with knees tracking toes

Enjoy yourself! Listen to music, a podcast, or the birds. Rest at the end, have a piece of fruit, and congratulate yourself. You have flooded your body with growth hormones, brought circulation and the forces of rejuvenation to all parts of your body. You have cast a vote for youthful vitality!