Weight Training Mistakes Older Men Make

I've certainly made a lot of weight training mistakes older men make over the years in addition to enjoying much success with my weigh training.

First, Some of My Recent Successes

  • 295 pound bench for 3 repetitions
  • 360 pound squat for 3 repetitions
  • 375 pound deadlift for 3 repetitions

I performed these 3 lifts in just the last few weeks.  This is the most I've ever benched and squatted in my life and I'm in my late 50's.  I have deadlifted more than this but back when I much younger.

My right shoulder feels good from an injury suffered last March.  My right elbow feels good from an injury I suffered about 6 years ago, finally.

Me talking (bragging) about my 355 Pound Squat

I was super pleased to perform this 355 pound squat for 3 reps on Sunday September 11, 2022 and even more excited to make the 360 pounds I did a few days ago.

Me talking about the First Time I Made the 1,000 Pound Total in May 2022

I was incredibly satisfied and proud to have made this 1,000 pound total in May 2022.  Note that I said I was 58 years old.  I was still 57 at the time.  I'm losing track of the years, lol.

I've just blown past this total recently as I'm at 1,030 pound total now and I feel like I can keep going.  I feel good, with no bad injuries.

Weight Training Mistakes Older Men Make
Being Tired While Training

  • Doing too many work sets will get you very tired.  Focus on ONE heavy work set. I hurt my right elbow on the second set of lying triceps extension.  It is just starting to feel better after 6 YEARS.  I severely hurt my neck and upper back during a second set of squats in 2017.  I  spent months and thousands of dollars working on recovering and re-habbing from this mistake.  Focus on ONE heavy work set on most lifts.
  • Getting tired from too many warmup sets and reps and then being too fatigued to do your work set properly.
  • Doing too many reps and getting sloppy at the end.
  • Doing too many exercises, resulting in too long of a workout, and being so tired at the end of your workout that the only thing you accomplish will be becoming exhausted and potentially really hurting yourself.  If you squat, deadlift, press and bench press, there is not a real need to do much else.  At this point the only other lift I do is dumbbell curls.
  • Doing cardio before the weights.  This will exhaust, making your lifting ineffective and much more susceptible to injury.  Maybe a little cardio at the end of the weights and mostly on the days you are not weight training.
  • Doing too much cardio in general and always feeling rundown and beat.  Weight training is a more effective way to get and stay fit anyway.

You need to feel great and rested when weight training.  If you're very tired from life, you're better off skipping the workout.

Weight Training Mistakes Older Men Make
Not Knowing What You Are Doing

  • Doing exercises with poor form because you have not taken the time to learn proper form.  You see this a lot, like I do.  People swinging weights around wildly and putting themselves into danger.  Or using the heaviness of the weight to create an excessive range of motion.  Go to Starting Strength to learn proper technique.
  • Doing dangerous exercises.  Some exercises just have no place in anyone's routine.  Some of the worst are upright rows, behind the neck presses, reverse grip bench presses and very wide grip bench presses with your elbows flaring out to your sides.
  • Not keeping your shoulders down and tight for all exercises.
  • Not keeping your lower back arched and flexed for all heavy move.
  • Doing good exercises but that are not appropriate for you.  Some are good for others, but if your body resists and you cannot do it, don't.
  • Not using collars and letting the weights slide around causing instability.
  • Using a too long range of motion.  Some of the chest movements like flys, pec-deck and cable flys tend to get your arms way behind your body.  This is a huge mistake.  I don't include these types of movements into my routine anymore.
  • Stretching before you train.  You get plenty of stretching by performing the movements through their full range of motion.
  • Being careless when setting up the lifts.  Benches, bars and plates are heavy and awkward and you need to set things up carefully.
  • Not being aware of what is going on around you when you are training.  Other people can be oblivious to what you are doing and will get in your way while you're doing something critical.  I am always super careful with watching people when I am getting ready to do my work set.  I may have to say to someone what I am doing so they don't blunder into me.
  • Lifting in an unsafe manner without racks and pins to catch the bar if you miss a rep.

Bench Press Safety Tips

Weight Training Mistakes Older Men Make
Having Unrealistic Expectations

  • Expecting to look like a professional bodybuilder, fitness model or famous celebrity by just weight training, exercise and diet.  They all use chemicals to look the way they do.
  • Trying to build muscle and get really cardio fit at the same time.
  • Trying to get in shape fast after a lifetime of poor habits.
  • Focusing on isolation exercises rather than full body movements.
  • Thinking using machines is better than barbells.
  • Not understanding that your body may not allow you to do everything.
  • Pushing yourself unmercifully.  Weight training is sustainable if you go at it in a rational manner.

Weight Training Mistakes Older Men Make
When Warming Up

The main idea with weight training is to perform the major lift or lifts that day for the planned number of reps for the planned weight.  The warmups are just to get  you ready for that major lift.

Excessive warming up conflicts with performing the major lift.  Warming up is just to get ready for the main work set(s).  You need to avoid getting tired during your warmups.

Here is how I do a general warmup:

  • I start with a standing up knee bend.  Just basically bouncing a little for 10 reps
  • Then kicking out my leg to the side for 10 reps.  Each leg.
  • Then kicking out my leg to the back for 10 reps.  Each leg.
  • Go easy on these, you're just doing this gently to raise your body temperature and move your legs a bit.
  • If I need more warming,I walk briskly on the treadmill, ride the bike or do some rowing for a minute or 2.
  • Shrugs (no weights) for 10 reps.
  • Bent over rowing (no weights) for 10 resp.
  • Curls (no weights) for 10 reps.
  • Standing bench and/or presses (no weights) for 10 reps.
  • Bent over shoulder circles holding a light weight for 10 rep, in each direction for both shoulders.
  • Sawing motion for 10 reps each arm.

All this takes less than 5 minutes.  I'm warm and starting to feel good.  You are also getting warmed up with setting up for your lifts and the putting on the plates.

Press Routine including warmups:

  • Warmup.  Set of 5 reps with the bar.  Go very slowly.
  • Warmup.  Set of 5 reps with the bar.  Go a little faster.
  • Warmup.  Set of 5 reps with the bar.  Go faster yet.
  • Warmup.  Set of 5 reps with 65 pounds.  Go faster.
  • Work Sets.   3 set of 5 reps with my work weight.  At this point I am still building up my shoulder strength from a  shoulder injury so I am using light weights and feel like 3 sets are helping my shoulder feel better.  Make sure to get plenty of seated rest between sets.

So, I do 7 total sets of presses, including the warmups.

Squat Routine including warmups:

  • Warmup.  2 sets of 5 reps bodyweight only.  Go slow.  Pause at the bottom with elbows on knees to ensure feet are in the correct position.  Between these sets i stretch my shoulders by trying to get into the correct squat position with the bar on my back.
  • Warmup.  Set of 5 reps with the bar.  Go slow.
  • Warmup.  Set of 5 reps with 135 pounds.  Rest a bit.
  • Warmup.  Set of 3 reps with 225 pounds.  Rest a bit.
  • Warmup.  Set of 1 rep with 295 pounds.  Make sure and rest a lot (sitting down) before the work set.
  • Work Set.  3 reps.  This will be a limit set.

So, I do 7 total sets of squats, including the warmups.

Bench Press Routine including warmups:

  • Warmup.  2 sets of 5 reps with the bar.  Go slow. 
  • Warmup.  Set of 5 reps with 95 pounds.
  • Warmup.  Set of 5 reps with 135 pounds.  Rest a bit.
  • Warmup.  Set of 3 reps with 185 pounds.  Rest a bit.
  • Warmup.  Set of 1 rep with 225 pounds.  Make sure and rest a lot (sitting down) before the work set.
  • Work Set.  3 reps.  This will be a limit set.

So, I do 7 total sets of bench presses, including the warmups.

Deadlift Routine including warmups:

  • Warmup.  2 sets of 5 reps with 135 pounds.  Go slow
  • Warmup.  Set of 3 reps with 225 pounds.  Rest a bit.
  • Warmup.  Set of 1 rep with 315 pounds.  Make sure and rest a lot (sitting down) before the work set.
  • Work Set.  3 reps.  This will be a limit set.

So, I do 5 total sets of deadlifts, including the warmups.

Warmup Tips from Starting Strength

Favorite quote -

In fact, the vast majority of the studies on the subject show a decrease in power development if stretching is performed prior to the movement being tested. Stretching does not prevent injuries, and it doesn't increase performance. The full-ROM barbell exercises constitute their own stretch, and if you are already flexible enough to execute the barbell movements over their full and effective range of motion – and if you are not engaged in a sport that challenges your existing ROM during the movement patterns used in the sport – then you are sufficiently flexible to train without stretching. Stretching need not, and in fact should not be a part of the warmup, because it's a waste of your time.

Weight Training Mistakes Older Men Make
With High Reps

Once I quit doing high reps, which is more than 5 for the big lifts, my lifting results improved, my soreness was eliminated, my desire to lift increase and the susceptibility to injury has decreased.

I found I can concentrate and focus much better for 5 reps or less.  I also find I don't breathe heavy while doing the 5 reps or less and can maintain great form.

And as my total weight lifting poundage has increased, I tend to do 3 reps.  I know for awhile with a very sore shoulder, that doing more than 3 reps on the bench really bothered me.

Weight Train Safely from Starting Strength

Bad Advice About Higher Reps

Favorite quote -

Here’s the critical point: fatigue produces sloppy movement, and sloppy movement produces injuries. A set of 10 gets sloppy at about rep number 8 or 9, unless you’re an experienced lifter, and even then it’s damned hard to hold good form on the last reps of a high-rep set. A set of 5 ends before you get fatigued – 5 reps is an interesting compromise between heavy weight and higher reps. Unless you’re a heart/lung patient, 5 reps won’t elevate your breathing rate until after the set is over, but a set of 10 will have your respiration rate elevated before the end of the set.

I do not really get that sore anymore.  I still get very tired after my workouts, but from the heavy weights.  Soreness in not necessary.

I try to keep my assistance work reps to about 8 reps.  If I push for higher weights, this might end up being 6 reps.  If I feel good, it might go up to 10 reps.  But you can certainly get hurt doing high rep assistance work too.

Weight Training Mistakes Older Men Make Wrap-Up

The advantages of weight training are huge as long as you can keep training.  Avoiding injuries and not getting rundown is the key to keep weight training.

› Weight Training Mistakes Older Men Make

The only way I could become the happier man I am today was by leaving my wife.  You might be in the same situation I was in.  I suggest you take a look at my book - Leave Your Wife & Become a Happier Man with the 3 Step System.

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