Arnold Stopped Lifting

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April 2, 2020

I just read that Arnold gave up lifting after 60 years of it. He says he just rides his bike now and that's all he needs.

At the risk of sounding stupid by accusing the world'd greatest bodybuilder of not knowing what the hell he's talking about (in the realm of lifting), I'm doing exactly that.

Maintaining lean body mass is the most important thing you can do for your health and fitness, ESPECIALLY as you get older.

Aging can be defined as the loss of muscle mass. Much of the bad stuff that happens to older folks is from weakness and associated symptoms (balance, mobility, etc.)

And sorry Arnold but just riding your bike ain't enough to keep lean mass intact. You gotta lift.

And if you're gonna lift and want to accelerate results, taking creatine is probably a good idea.

Read about creatine here.

How to Slow Ageing (and Reverse It Too)

You've likely lost muscle mass over the years to sarcopenia. Of particular concern, is your loss of type II or fast twitch muscle fibers. These are the ones that really accelerate aging.

You definitely want to rebuild type II muscle mass.

How do you do it?

The traditional ways are to lift heavy things or to move explosively. The problem is that this approach is hard to do (safely) if you're not in top condition already. The chance for injury is high when you do heavy lifts or jump explosively or sprint at top speed or push a heavy car across the parking lot.

There are other ways to achieve this

One is the pre-exhaust method. Now, to be honest, yeah this is a safe method to exploit but it ain't easy. You'll likely have to work up to where you can implement it effectively.

The idea is to get the slow twitch and intermediate twitch fibers to drop out from exhaustion so only the fast twitch muscle is available to move the load even though the load is not exceptionally heavy.

You'll have to do some trial and error to find the right weight to use for the different exercises. I hope you journal 'cause it will come in handy here.

You'll follow a 3 set plan per movement. Let's say you're doing overhead pressing.

Set One is a relatively light load that your press in a very controlled, slow, deliberate manner, looking for 15 to 17 total reps. You're trying to maximize time under tension (TUT) and you'll experience a severe lactic acid burn by the end of the set.

Put the bar down, add some weight, and begin Set 2. Your total rest is 20 to 30 seconds.

Set Two is around 7 to 9 reps and you add speed to your lifts. Instead of purposeful slow, deliberate reps, you're trying to explode the weight from the bottom of the lift and then control the eccentric (lowering) portion of the lift. Down slow and explode up.

Put the bar down, add some weight, and begin Set 3. Again, your rest is minimal.

Slow twitch muscle recovers fairly quickly. That's why you must keep your rest interval to a minimum. You're trying to get to the next set before the muscle can recover.

Set Three is 3 to 5 reps of explosive, fast reps. Up and down is under control but at maximum speed (as fast as you can move it).

Put it down. You're done. Go on to another movement.

This is hard.

You need pretty good fitness to get through it. You might just start with the first two sets for awhile. And your rest interval will likely be longer than 30 seconds.

Start doing it. Keep track of it and over time, you'll get better.

Set 3 is where the type II muscle get's worked so ya got to get through the full cycle to work the fast twitch fibers.

Give it a shot.

Oh, don't do this too often. Once a week max or even every 4th workout if you're training 3X a week. Ya gotta recover.

Another way to hit the fast twitch fibers is to do relatively heavy singles. So instead of the 3 sets of 8 or 5 x 5 or the more common sets/reps scheme, do this:

A good warm up is required. Do a few sets of the lift you're gonna be doing as the final part of your warmup. So if you're benching, get a few sets of 8 to 10 reps in. You want to be ready (remember DFYU).

Then set the weight to 85 to 90% of your 1RM. Let's say your max bench is 200 lbs. 90% is 180 lbs.

Now you'll do 4 to 5 sets of 1 rep with just about 2 minutes rest in between.

What you're doing is recruiting fast twitch muscle to do these near max load sets of 1 but not going too long and building up lactic acid.

The rest allows your energy system to recover (in this case, you're using the phosphocreatine alactic energy pathway) so you can blast out another near-max rep.

Pick your poison. Working your fast twitch muscle is demanding but very good to fight ageing. And you don't do it too often.

And take your creatine if your gonna do it. It will help to build that muscle tissue.


About the author 

Mark Fickler

Mark aka The Old Spartan and Over-50 Fitness Savior is a 64 year old coffee guzzling father of five wandering the outdoors around Albuquerque, New Mexico. Mark helps Active Boomers get lean, healthy and strong so they live rewarding, fun lives using his signature 2 Rule Easy Fat Loss training program.

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