You’re told to believe that mid life is a time of crisis, when money is strong but your body is weak. However, the facts tell a very different story.

In 1994, at 45 years old, George Foreman defeated Michael Moorer, a boxer who was nearly 20 years his junior, for the heavyweight title belt. Then in 2005, at 41 years old, Ronnie Coleman became Mr Olympia, gaining the most prestigious bodybuilding title in the world. I have personally coached numerous strength athletes that continue to get stronger and even set world records into their forties.

There’s no reason you can’t enjoy a slice of that action because the more elite an athlete is, the harder it is to make gains. If the cream of the crop can do it into their forties, so can you. Here are four essential steps you need to employ to make advances in size and strength as you advance in age.


1. Intention

“Movement intention” is how to safely and effectively distribute and lift the load. When performing compound moves (multi-jointed moves such as squats, presses, deadlifts, etc), focus on moving the barbell from point A to point B as forcefully as possible with perfect technique, not on the individual muscles.


2. Muscle

Single-joint movements, such as biceps curls, need to be performed with using a process called “muscle intention” – purposefully focusing on contracting the muscle you desire to work. This is easier on the joints and better works the muscle. Muscle intention is also known as the mind-muscle connection.


3. Deload

Here you’ll do a week of training with less volume and intensity. A good starting point is to reduce the weights you would train with by one third and the number of sets by the same. Start with de-loading every fourth week and then find out what works best for you by assessing your ability to recover and also push for PBs.


4. Frequency

“Squat every day” might be a rock star hashtag on Instagram but it’s a quick way to get hurt for any athlete over 40. Accept that you may not be able to train as often, so use each session wisely. Half hearted workouts have no place in your routine. Feel tired or disinterested? Save up the intensity for tomorrow’s session.


Find workouts and more in every issue of TRAIN magazine.