Tailoring your training to your age is crucial if you want to be your best. MF provides the plan to suit your needs
20s: Your recovery will never be better, but that doesn,t mean you should push your luck
Bad lifestyle choices. At this age, you’re much more likely to binge-drink, according to the Office of National Statistics’ 2010 General Lifestyle Survey, which found that 16% of men in their early 20s consumed more than 12 units of alcohol in one sitting at least once a week – the highest of any age group. To make matters worse, you’re also far more likely to eat junk food and far less likely to get a good night’s sleep after an evening on the demon sauce.
Recovery. ‘In your 20s your ability to recover is high, so to an extent you can get away with bad lifestyle choices,’ says Chris Burgess, head personal trainer at the University of Bath. This capacity for recovery means your body can cope with frequent high-volume training, which gives you plenty of scope to counteract the effects of your social life in the gym.
High-volume gym sessions. ‘The benefit of doing higher-volume work is you’ll burn more energy, which will help to offset some excess calorie intake,’ says Burgess. ‘I’d recommend doing three full-body workouts each week, with two muscle-building sessions and one energy-depletion session with higher reps.’
This will also help to strengthen your connective tissue and your joints. ‘I’ve seen a lot of guys in their late 20s who’ve spent years lifting crazy weights develop over-pronated shoulders, rotator-cuff injuries and lower-back problems,’ says Burgess. ‘If you take the ego out of it and concentrate on intelligently using high-volume work, you can strengthen your body against these injuries and prime it for lifting heavier loads and fulfilling your strength potential in your 30s.’
30s: The strength decade. Training intelligently now will stand you in good stead for the coming years
Physical decline. A study at the University of Michigan found a gradual but inevitable decline begins to set in during your early 30s. ‘You may start to lose your speed, your ability to recover, even your flexibility,’ says Jack Lovett, strength coach at Spartan Performance (spartanperformance.co.uk). Luckily, there’s one key training attribute working in your favour during this decade – strength.
The famous ‘dad strength’. ‘You’ll be stronger in your 30s than you were in your 20s,’ says Lovett, ‘and although you’ll have to reduce the volume of your workouts and rest more, with the right training you can make huge strength gains. If I were training someone in their 20s I might spend time working on speed or explosiveness, but with someone in their 30s I’d focus on maximum strength.’
Maximum-strength workouts. ‘For guys in their 30s I’d generally recommend three workouts a week, with two upper-body sessions and one lower-body one,’ says Lovett. ‘Focusing a whole session on your upper or lower …read more