If you’ve been doing Crossfit for a considerable amount of time, then you already know that it can take a toll on your body. If you’re over 35, all that mileage is probably starting to add up.
I know none of us, myself included, like to use age as an excuse but the hard truth is that you don’t bounce back as quick as you get older. Our young, competitive minds are no longer in sync with our old beat up bodies.
Does this mean you should stop doing Crossfit and start taking Zumba classes?
We both know that’s not going to happen.
So what’s the solution to preserving an aging body that still enjoys good old fashioned intense exercise?
The answer is to develop some veteran saavy when it comes to training and not fall into the trap of training like a 23 year old Regional athlete.
You need to train smarter and avoid the 7 BIGGEST training mistakes Crossfitters over 35 make:
You’re going too heavy too often – I like to throw around heavy weight as much as the next guy but unfortunately, the nervous system takes a little longer to recover as you get older, not to mention the stress it puts on your joints. Cut back on working up to 1 rep maxes and spend more time in the 70-80% range. Unless you’re a competitive athlete, there’s no need to max out on a regular basis.
Not enough rest days – Speaking of recovery, this very well could be the biggest difference between you and the 25 year olds. Recovery time slows down with age and you have to respect that if you want to continue to make gains. At least 1-2 full rest days per week are recommended depending on your training volume and intensity. The higher the intensity, the more rest days needed.
Too Much Volume – The sport of Crossfit has had a huge influence on how people train nowadays. The level of human performance has far exceeded what anyone could imagine over the last decade. Thanks to social media, it’s far too easy to fall into the “volume trap” of Regional and Games athletes and run your body into the ground with marathon workouts and endless metcons. If you’re constantly in a state of soreness, have achy joints, and low energy, you probably need to dial back the volume a bit. 60-90mins a day is more than enough time to put in QUALITY training, make gains, and recover.
Not enough accessory work – As glamorous as EMOMs and AMRAPs can be, it’s important not to neglect your accessory work. This is the stuff that will keep your joints and connective tissues healthy and bulletproof your body so it can better withstand the punishment of high intensity workouts. More strict work, single leg/arm exercises, and tempo movements will go a long way in preserving your body. I, personally, have always been a huge fan of ring rows, 1 arm dumbbell shoulder presses, and bulgarian split squats.
Not enough monostructural intervals – One of the easiest ways to build your engine without destroying your body is with good old fashioned intervals. An Assault bike, rower, treadmill or even a sled are all great modalities. The benefits of using monostructural intervals is that you can build your engine both aerobically and anaerobically while the movements are primarily concentric so there is minimal muscle damage/soreness.
For example, 8 rounds of 1 minute max calories/1 minute rest on the Assault bike or rower would make a great workout. This is the best bang for your buck if you want to train with high intensity and recover fast.
Not enough sleep – Sleep could single-handedly be the most important yet most neglected aspect of most people’s recovery. With full-time jobs and families, it can be hard to get to bed at a decent hour. At least 7-8 hours of quality sleep per night should be your goal. If this means you have to turn the Netflix off an hour early, so be it. If you have the luxury of a midday nap, this will also pay huge dividends.
Not enough mobility work – Hips and shoulders feeling a little stiff? That overhead squat isn’t as smooth as it used to be? Spending a little more time working on your mobility before and after training will go a long way in keeping your body healthy and, of course, making your movements more efficient. Ten minutes of mobility work could be the difference between a great or really shitty workout.
The moral of the story here is you need to spend more time on the little things that you used to take for granted when you were in your twenties. You might be able to still put up big weight and be near the top of the leaderboard in a lot of WODs, but if you can’t recover or if you’re injured all the time, what’s the point?
It’s time to play the long game and leave a little in the tank. Remember, this constantly varied functional movement performed at high intensity is supposed to be good for us.
Train smart and grow old gracefully.
P.S. Are you interested in a training program with short, but highly effective, workouts that take 30 minutes or less and won’t leave you feeling beat up? Try a 7 day FREE trial inside the Pure Payne Strength Club below!