Hail to the Dinosaurs!
One of our older Dinos -- age 68 -- asked about a
bench press program for older Dinos.
He's been doing 5 x 5, followed by 1 x 3 and 1 x 1.
He used to bench press 350 x 1 and 225 x 15.
He knows he won't get back to those numbers, but
he still wants to try to increase his current bench.
So he asked what kind of program to follow.
My answer is pretty much the same as my answer
to any question from an older Dino:
1. Follow a good, all-around training program that
works all of the major muscle groups.
a. It doesn't have to be a total body workout. It's
fine to use a divided workout schedule. In fact, for
many older Dinos, it's better because you get more
rest and more recovery time.
2. Do some additional work for any lift or any body-
part you want to specialize on.
a. The key word is "some" -- which means "a little,
and not too much."
b. Specialize on one lift or one body-part at a time.
3. Don't overdo things by jumping into a full-bore
specialization program to force progress -- or you'll
probably just hurt yourself.
a. A little bit of extra work for a given lift or a given
body-part goes a long way.
b. Concentration, visualization and focus will help
enormously. Practice tunnel-vision training.
4. Follow a slow and steady progression system. Do
NOT try to gain too much too fast. That, too, will
probably lead to an injury for an older trainee.
a. The progression systems in Dinosaur Training
Secrets, Vol. 3, are perfect for any older trainee --
and for any trainee at any age:
See the links to our PDF products (we have a
number of them now) at our products page:
5. Work on maintaining healthy joints as much as
building strength. For bench presses, this means doing
plenty of shoulder and upper back work. Dumbbells
and Indian clubs will help keep your shoulders supple
and strong from all angles. Cables are also excellent.
a. Include lots of rowing, and your choice of
pull-ups or pull-downs.
b. See Gray Hair and Black Iron for more tips on how
to maintain healthy joints -- and for a list of shoulder
wreckers and other exercises to avoid at all times.
6. If you have access to a power rack, and rack work
doesn't cause any joint pain for you, try partial benches
in the power rack.
a. The best position for rack work is a bottom position
b. The next best position is anywhere from 2 inches to
six inches off the chest.
c. Lockouts are okay, but not nearly as useful as
bottom position benches or benches from the 2 inch
to six inch position.
d. Some older trainees thrive on rack work. Others
find it is too hard on the joints. So start light, be
conservative, and see what works best for you.
e. See Strength, Power and Muscle for more
details about rack work.
f. If you don't have access to a power rack, try
pause style bench presses.
7. If you are an older trainee, do not do wide grip
bench presses. They're too hard on the shoulders.
8. The best assistance exercise for the bench press
(other than rack work) is the close grip bench press.
Use a grip that is a little less than shoulder width. It
should not be a super close grip.
9. Follow a healthy diet that helps keep your T levels
high and reduces inflammation. See Knife, Fork,
Muscle for specific advice on diet and nutrition.
10. Shoot for realistic goals based on your current
age and current condition. Don't try to compete with
the lifter you were 30 or 40 years ago.
a. See Dinosaur Training Secrets, Vol. 2, my "How
Strong Are You?" course for specific advice on how
to calculate age-appropriate training goals.
Finally -- and this should go without saying for any
trainee at any age -- always bench inside a power
rack with the pins set to catch the weight at the
If you don't have a power rack, make sure you
have an experienced and reliable spotter.
As for sets and reps, 5 x 5, followed by 1 x 3 and
1 x 1 is good. The real key is to use the right kind
of progression system.
As always, thanks for reading and have a great
day. If you train today, make it a good one!
Yours in strength,
P.S. Go here to grab a copy of Gray Hair and
Black Iron. It's a MUST HAVE for older Dinos:
P.S. 2. Go here to grab any of the other books
or courses mentioned in today's email:
P.S. 3. Thought for the Day: "Rule no. 1 is to
keep on training." -- Brooks Kubik