Question: Hi! It is rare to see training tips adapted to different age groups. I am 45 years old and clearly notice how my body changes. I’ll recover more slowly, lose explosiveness and mobility, to name a few. I read an article about a man of my age who uses 15 sec max sprints up hills as an important part of his training. Is this something a half-old cyclist can learn from? Do you have any suggestions on how to include such spirits in my training and how they should be performed?
FIGHT BACK WITH STRENGTH WORK
Most adults achieve their peak muscle mass sometime during their late 30s to early 40s. After that point, a gradual loss of muscle mass begins and can continue a steady, downhill course into old age. This age-related loss of muscle mass is known as sarcopenia. People who are physically inactive can lose as much as 3 percent to 5 percent of their muscle mass per decade after age 30.
Many studies suggest that all males over the age of around 35 should be participating in some form of strength work. Strength work has been shown to increase aerobic capacity, as well as increasing muscle mitochondrial density in both young and older people. Known as the powerhouse cells of the body, these structures generate energy for your body.
The reason we focus on exercise that builds muscle mass as we age is that reduced skeletal muscle mass promotes a decrease in mitochondrial quality and quantity.
2 sessions per week would be sufficient to maintain and build muscle mass through sprinting. Perform 5-8 x 10 sec maximal sprints from normal training pace. Allow for full recovery of 7-12 min between sprints. You can easily hit your wattage targets by training on Zwift.
By incorporating 2 sprint sessions per week along with some gym work, older athletes can slow the natural decline in muscle mass and the associated effects on performance.
DOWNLOAD AND IMPORT THE WORKOUT
You can download the recommended workout here. Next, you'll want to import the workout into Zwift and get training. This article explains how to import.