Programs for the not so young
OK so I am turning 34 in a couple of weeks, so I'm definitely not over the hill just yet, but I am finding that the body is not quite responding the way it used to 10 or so years ago. I'm actually in probably the best shape I have ever been in right now as I have been training pretty consistently for coming up 3 years, but I have been struggling with injuries on and off over that period.
I started off at about 154 pounds and got up to about 200 pounds in two years and have cut down since then to about 190 pounds. So I am actually pretty happy with where I am at, I wouldn't mind cutting down a bit more and putting on a bit more muscle mass but I mainly just want to be able to train consistently, maintaining, while avoiding injuries.
I guess I am what you call a "hard gainer" I find it easy to lose weight hard to put it on.
I've always trained to failure on every set so it seems that is the first thing I am going to need to change. I have pretty much always done a 5 day split, weight training 4 days a week, cardio 1 day a week, my workouts are usually around an hour and I have about 2 minutes rest between sets.
To try and prevent injuries I have upped my reps, my heavy week I usually do about 10 - 16 reps, my light week I'll do 12 - 20 reps. My third week I have now introduced a two day split just to mix things up where I do 10-16 reps as well. I mostly stick to 3 sets per exercise.
Regarding the injuries they are mostly shoulder and elbow/forearm pain. Nothing major but I'm sure if I just ignore them then they'll probably result in something more serious. I love bodybuilding and would be gutted if I had to give it up due to injury, but don't want to wreck my body at the same time.
I don't know if the cause is from not taking time off, I have taken a few days off here and there and only training 4 days a week on a 5 day split gives plenty of rest but I haven't taken a full week off in at least a year.
It may also be caused from RSI as I work in IT so spend a lot of time in front of a computer. I think that at least explains the forearm pain as it always seems to be my right arm.
Or maybe it is just due to training to failure every set and I'm just overdoing it.
I thought perhaps I should follow a proven program instead of continuing with my own. I notice a lot of people talking about HIT, 5x5 and FST-7. I actually have all three incorporated into my workouts but should probably pick one and follow it to the letter.
Anyway, any advice you guys can give me would be much appreciated, especially if you are in your 30's or 40's and managing to avoid injury.