Welcome back to this week’s edition of 2-Minute Tuesdays. This week, we are talking to those of you who are above the age of 50 and are noticing that your strength is starting to decrease. There are a couple things you can do with your workouts that will greatly improve your strength, in addition to lifting weights.
1) Move Slowly
The first exercise tip we have for you if you are above the age of 50 and your strength is decreasing is to move slowly when you lift weights. Often times, exercises can be seen performed at the gym where people are flinging the weights and moving fast. The problem with this if you are trying to build strength is that you only have to really lift the weight at the start of the rep. After that, you can use momentum to carry the weight of the way. This means that for the majority of the range of motion you are using, your muscles don’t have to work super hard.
Compare this to moving slowly through the entire range of motion, and you will see that the momentum is being minimized during the exercise. This means that your muscles are having to work harder to lift the weight because they don’t get to use momentum to help them out. At the end of the day, this will make the exercise more challenging for your muscles throughout the entire range of motion, which will allow your muscles to increase their strength to a greater degree, as well.
Action Step: When you lift weights, start by using a 3:2:3:2 tempo, where you take three seconds to lower the weight, pause for two seconds, three seconds to raise the weight, and then pause for another two seconds. This will help to minimize the use of momentum while you are exercising.
2) Focus On Squeezing Muscles
The second exercise tip we have for you if you are above the age of 50 and your strength is decreasing is to focus on squeezing your muscles while you are lifting weights. What most people do when they lift weights is they focus on lifting the weights up and down. This means that their primary objective is to move the weight however they can, regardless of what muscles they are using. If you want to improve your strength, though, you need to make sure that you are challenging your muscles effectively.
When you do an exercise where you are focused on squeezing your muscles, you will notice an entirely different sensation in your body while you do the exercise. The challenge to your body will feel very specific, and you will feel only certain areas getting fatigued. This is good! It means that you are really working those areas. Just make sure that you do a variety of exercises to stimulate all areas of your body.
Action Step: During your next workout, don’t worry about how many reps you need to do or how much the weight moves. Instead, bring your attention to your muscles and focus on squeezing the ones you want to strengthen while you do the exercise.
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