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Life Strength Fitness Educational Library

Learn how to apply current physiology and nutrition research to improve your health and performance.

Program Design Guidelines to Increase Muscle Strength for Older Men

Most of these guidelines comes from a huge meta study that was recently published by Brad Shoenfeld and colleagues. They assessed 21 studies that were testing what worked best to put on muscle mass using various training methods that incorporated heavy weights or light weights. 

I've critically evaluated their methods, their findings, and will show you the best criteria that WORKS.

I will then give you my professional recommendation for where to start and how to progress your program design over many years to come.

I will also present you with a very useful training tool to assist you on your journey so you get the most from every training session. 

Program Design Guidelines That Work Using Light Weights

Training Frequency: 3 times per week

Program Duration: 12 weeks

How many sets of each exercise: 3

How heavy: As heavy as possible to complete 10-15 reps achieving muscular failure

Rest between sets: 2 minutes

Tempo Down: 3 seconds

Tempo Pause: 0 seconds

Tempo Up: 2 seconds

My Professional Recommendation

-I would start with a strength program that makes you fail out on rep 10. This will most likely develop both muscular mass and strength. This is very beneficial to maintain bone density and we tend to lose muscle mass if we don't use them under enough load as we age. 

-I would make a list of exercises that you want to do for the upper body and the lower body. Make sure that during the workout you alternate between pushing and pulling movements. For example do a Bench Press followed by a bent over row. If the main muscles used are on the front side of the body, make sure the next move uses the muscles on the opposite side of that limb of the body. Follow this same principle for the lower body or trunk exercises. Since you workout 3 days per week I'd set your program up where you have an upper body day, lower body day, and then trunk exercises/forearm/corrective exercise day. 

-Keep your rest periods strict to the 2 minutes, and don't worry about tempos for now. You can experiment with doing one of those at a time in later programs or combining all 3 different tempos into one program. In later programs you can select a gradually higher rep count so that you take your strength endurance to a higher level while still achieving strength at the end of that rep range. 

-After you finish your first 12 week program you have a few options: 

1. Select new exercises and keep the rep range

2. Keep the same exercises and introduce tempos and keep the rep range

3. Select new exercises and increase the reps to 11 or 12 reps per move. 

Training Tool to Assist You in Increasing Strength

I understand all of this information is overwhelming. If you don't have the time to build your own program, don't want to put together a program that doesn't work even if you try and use my guidelines, and you don't want to pay 40-120/hr for a personal trainer to design this for you and train you multiple times per week at that price to get the results you want, there are 2 logical options that I have for you.

1. Online Training through Defensive Fitness for $65/month. I design each program for you which comes with demonstration videos, setup tips, equipment modifications, safety tips, and performance tips for every exercise. Additional Online Coaching Packages available for additional cost if needed. 

2. Get Online Video Access to our video library of 269 videos for $10/month. These videos as well include exercise demonstration, setup tips, equipment modifications, safety tips, and performance tips for every exercise. More videos are constantly added to this library so your program design variation is endless. 

Don't hesitate to Contact me if you have questions or need help signing up so you can start getting results today!