How can I lift heavy with zero risk?

Men's Fitness - - Experts -

Heavy weightlift­ing can be prob­lem­atic for guys in their 30s and 40s. Tight pecs, ro­ta­tor cuff is­sues, lower-back pain and hip and knee in­juries are com­mon – and can be easily ag­gra­vated. To help, I de­vised the Built 2 Last sys­tem to al­low trainees to get stronger, add mus­cle and even be­come leaner.

Be­fore start­ing, though, spend ten min­utes do­ing mo­bil­ity work, along with ac­ti­va­tion work for your back [see the box, right]. Warm up to lift – don’t lift to warm up.

I rec­om­mend two up­per-body ses­sions per week with one lower-body one in be­tween. Each work­out starts with one main lift, su­per­set­ted with a high-vol­ume low-in­ten­sity ex­er­cise to work op­pos­ing mus­cles. This is fol­lowed by a strength ca­pac­ity cir­cuit of three to five ex­er­cises with rel­a­tively heavy weights for low reps to build strength while get­ting a car­dio boost.

Joint ven­ture

A typ­i­cal main lift for the first up­per-body ses­sion would be a close-grip bench press, su­per­set­ted for four sets of four with an iso­met­ric up­per back hold, with two min­utes’ rest be­tween sets. Start at 70% of your one-rep max and work up to 85% over the fol­low­ing weeks. Twin it with a YWT (where you lie face down with your arms off the ground in Y, W and T po­si­tions for 30 sec­onds each) to strengthen your up­per back. For the strength ca­pac­ity cir­cuit, group a weighted press-up with a row vari­a­tion, a lat­eral raise vari­a­tion and a plank.

For the lower-body work­out, pick a uni­lat­eral ex­er­cise such as a rear foot el­e­vated bar­bell split squat for the main lift. Su­per­set it with a com­pound lift such as a squat or dead­lift, lift­ing be­tween 50% and 60% of your one-rep max. Be­cause you’ve al­ready fa­tigued your legs in­di­vid­u­ally, the weight you can lift in the squat or dead­lift is lim­ited, re­duc­ing joint pres­sure. For the strength ca­pac­ity cir­cuit, group a bar­bell hip thrust with a calf raise and a core move such as a dumb­bell side bend.

For the fi­nal up­per-body ses­sion, use a shoul­der or chest dumb­bell press for the main lift. Su­per­set it with a high­vol­ume up­per-back ex­er­cise such as a sin­gle-arm lat pull­down, fol­lowed by another strength ca­pac­ity cir­cuit.

By work­ing on mo­bil­ity in your warm-ups and struc­tur­ing work­outs to re­duce strain on your joints, you’ll get stronger with­out get­ting in­jured and im­prove your move­ment and pos­ture in ev­ery­day life. Get the Built 2 Last e-book at de­fran­co­train­ing.com/shop

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