Joel Peterson, Personal Trainer

Am I Too Old To Start Weight Training? Part 2

Joel Peterson – Level 5 Personal Trainer Apple Athletic Club

Last week we looked at the “Why and What” of Strength, or Weight Training. If you missed it go back and review. This week we are going to look at the “Where and How” we should do this type of training. This technique is mostly for seniors but anyone can benefit from it. We have covered this type of training in previous installments so please go back and review for the technique that is best suited to you age and conditioning level.

First, the “Where” is in your own home or a gym, if you desire. Second, let’s go slow. By slowing your movements down, it turns your weight-training session into high-intensity exercise. The slow movement allows your muscle, at the microscopic level, to access the maximum number of cross-bridges between the protein filaments that produce movement in the muscle.

This is a beneficial and SAFE way to incorporate high-intensity exercise into your workouts if you are older and have trouble getting around. You only need about 12 to 15 minutes of slow strength training two or three times a week to achieve the same human growth hormone (HGH) production as you would from 20 minutes of sprints, which I would not recommend.

The fact that slow weight training gives you an excellent boost in human growth hormone (HGH), otherwise known as the “fitness hormone,” is another reason why it’s so beneficial if you’re older. As you reach your 30s and beyond, you enter what’s called “somatopause” when your levels of HGH begin to drop off quite dramatically.  This is part of what drives your aging process.

Am I Too Old For Weight Training Part 2

People of all ages can benefit from super-slow weight training but this is definitely a method to consider if you’re middle-aged or older. I recommend using four or five basic compound movements for your slow (high intensity) exercise set. Compound movements are movements that require the coordination of several muscle groups—for example, squats, chest presses or pushups and compound rows.


Begin by lifting the weight as slowly and gradually as you can. Try a four-second positive and a four-second negative, meaning it takes four seconds, or a slow count to four, to bring the weight up, and another four seconds to lower it. When pushing, stop about 10 to 15 degrees before your limb is fully straightened; smoothly reverse direction).

  • Slowly lower the weight back down to the slow count of four.
  • Repeat until exhaustion, which should be around four to eight reps. Once you’ve reached exhaustion, don’t try to heave or jerk the weight to get one last repetition in. Instead, just keep trying to produce the movement, even if it’s not ‘going’ anywhere, for another five seconds or so. If you’re using the appropriate amount of weight or resistance, you’ll be able to perform eight to 10 reps.
  • Immediately switch to the next exercise for the next target muscle group and repeat the first three steps.

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