• Similarities between GPP & Competitive
• People share more similarities than differences.
• ‘Masters’ is a very broad term (35 vs. 70 year old)
1) What characteristics diminish?
2) How can we best adapt training to slow and reverse these characteristics?
What characteristics diminish with age?
1) Strength, Power & Muscle Mass Decrease
• Behavioral thing: most people as they age stop doing explosive activities, stop lifting heavy stuff, stop playing because they are scared they will get injured
• Older populations don’t respond nearly as well to hypertrophy protocols (i.e. muscle building)
2) Speed of Recovery Decreases
• Hormonal Changes
• Less Sex Hormones (i.e. testosterone or estrogen) This means protein synthesis slows.
• Less Melatonin Production, especially in women post-menopause, which reduces sleep efficiency (more disturbances, less REM & Deep sleep)
• Environmental Exposures increases (the amount of oxidative stress & free radicals increases, leading to cell damage) caused by eating processed foods, prescription drug use, pollutants, pesticides, smoking, etc.)
• Increased Stressors outside of training: married, children, mortgage, day job, etc.
3) Joints Irritation Increases
• Delayed inflammatory response
• Reduced soft tissue elasticity
• Collagen (hair, nails, cartilage, tendons) is less resilient and slower to be repaired
• Less time spent in ranges (use it or lose it) → reduced mobility & movement quality → greater stress in the same movements
Training Priorities (Increase Doses of…)
• Strength & Power (fundamental motor patterns, moderate frequency, quality > quantity)
• Sustainable Aerobic Work (low eccentric modalities, controlled mixed modal doses, speed recovery)
• Skill Work (less fatigue accumulation, high intention, lower intensity)
• Accessory Work (goal to improve movement quality)
• Mobility (time in positions, reclaiming lost ranges, prioritizing transferability)
Reduced Training Exposure (Decrease doses of…)
• Total Training Load (Max Recoverable Volume – MRV)
• Specific Pattern Frequency – Reduce Joint Strain (e.g. Contraction Volume in Bilateral Squatting)
• Reduce Volume of Plyometric Activities (but don’t pull them out completely)
• Consider Removing High-risk Movements (Kipping Pull-Ups, Kipping HSPUs, OHS if positions aren’t developed, rebounding box jumps, pistols, heavy TnG work, etc.)
• Increase Exposures of New Movements Slowly (reduce likelihood of DOMS)
• Number of Lactic Efforts (Keep total CNS toll lower)
Be Patient: On average an athlete will have 5-7+ years of improvement, regardless of what age you start.
Work with a coach who understands your needs as a Masters athlete.
Listen to your body and adjust course as needed. Programming is living & breathing: it adapts.
- Don’t think in terms of weeks or months, think in terms of decades.
- Don’t sacrifice short-term mental or physical health to chase a goal.
- Get out of the box. Go outside.
- Allow your fitness to make you more present, not less.
Want more on Masters programming? Watch this video…
Masters Athlete Programming (Sample Week)
This is what a week would like for a ‘middle of the road’ Masters athlete. That is…an athlete in their mid-40s, without competitive aspirations, but who enjoys training ‘functionally.’
Like what you see? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for coaching.
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