Female Masters Athlete Smiling And Riding Studio Bike At The Gym

4 Training Tips for Masters Athletes

BY Marc Lavallee

Embrace the natural transition of aging and strategically tailor your training with these four training tips.

If you find yourself in the esteemed category of masters athlete (anyone 35 years or older), it marks a significant juncture in your athletic journey. At this stage, your body undergoes natural transitions, including declines in muscle mass, bone density, flexibility, and a noticeable slowdown in recovery capabilities.

These inherent changes impact your training and susceptibility to injuries. Rather than resisting the inevitable transformations that accompany aging, it’s best to acknowledge and adapt to them.

Embrace this phase as an opportunity for growth and refinement. As a masters athlete, you now possess a wealth of wisdom and experience, coupled with a profound understanding of your body. It’s time to strategically tailor your training to accommodate the unique needs of your current self.

1. Get a Movement Assessment

I highly advise everyone (masters athlete or not) to undergo a comprehensive assessment before diving into any training regimen.

Ensuring a thorough evaluation of your existing fitness level, overall health, and any pre-existing conditions or injuries is parament before starting a new training plan. It pinpoints potential weaknesses or imbalances that demand attention within your training plan.

While the optimal approach involves seeking the expertise of a physical therapist, athletic trainer, or coach for this assessment, time and budget constraints are real considerations. You can also perform an at-home movement assessment. Here are seven exercises designed to gauge your flexibility, strength, and endurance — all within a time frame of under 20 minutes:

2. Build Strength With Resistance Training

Resistance training is a must for masters athletes. It helps preserve your muscle mass, bone density, and overall strength.

The natural aging process involves a decline in muscle mass and strength, which often translates to diminished overall functionality. Whether you identify as an endurance athlete or a strength athlete, prioritizing strength in your training regimen is of utmost importance to sustain your current level of performance.

Opt for high-impact exercises that provide significant benefits, such as squats, lunges, deadlifts, chest press, push-ups, pull-ups, rows, and more. These exercises offer a substantial return on investment, ensuring that your training remains robust and aligned with your goals.

3. Focus on Recovery

Prioritizing recovery is non-negotiable for all athletes, but masters athletes should give it extra attention. Research shows that the aging process often slows down recovery, increasing your risk of injuries.

While high-tech gadgets can help you gauge your recovery, it’s crucial to master the fundamentals first. Make sure you’re getting sufficient sleep, consuming enough carbs and protein, and staying hydrated. Additionally, spending a little extra time on active recovery methods such as foam rolling and stretching is probably in your best interest.

Don’t forget incorporate rest days and deload weeks into your training regimen to amplify the benefits of recovery. These strategic inclusions not only contribute to your overall training program but also play a vital role in supporting your recovery efforts.

4. Do More Mobility Exercises

Studies show that stretching and mobility exercises preserve joint health and mitigate injury risks. Engaging in practices like yoga, Pilates, or foam rolling enhances your flexibility and mobility.

Direct your focus to personalized areas of concern — regions with limited mobility or tightness. Frequently troublesome zones, especially for aging athletes, include the hips and shoulders.

No matter your age, it’s best to always tailor your training program to align with your individual needs. Masters athletes exhibit diverse levels of fitness, distinct goals, unique health statuses, and varying histories of past or current injuries. Adapting your approach based on these individual factors ensures a training regimen that optimally suits your requirements.

This post originally appeared on TrainHeroic and has been adapted for TrainingPeaks.


Suzuki, Y., et al. (2018, August 30). Home exercise therapy to improve muscle strength and joint flexibility effectively treats pre-radiographic knee OA in community-dwelling elderly: a randomized controlled trial. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6342874/

Tayrose, G. et al. (2015, May). The Masters Athlete. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4482301/

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Marc Lavallee
About Marc Lavallee

Marc Lavallee has trained Canadian military units in the Search and Rescue Technician (SAR-Tech) program along with members in their active duty and selection phases. He currently coaches for a policing agency. Find his training plans on the TrainHeroic Marketplace, or follow him on Instagram @marclavalleesc.

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