Over 40 training – PECS and BICEPS

This is the GertFITNESS training methodology for the older guy 
(to give you an idea, I am now 55).

This article will be part of a 4-part series:

  • Part ONE: PECS and BICEPS (including ABS & Calves)
  • Part TWO: SHOULDERS and TRAPS (including ABS & Calves)
  • Part THREE: BACK and TRICEPS (including ABS & Calves)
  • Part FOUR: UPPER and LOWER LEGS (including ABS & Calves)

Why is it grouped together like this? Because this is typically the best training approach for the over 40 to train the body 4 times a week.

Let's get the basics straight!

Before we start let’s get the following straighten out:

  1. The over 40, and especially over 50 body, cannot train like that of a 20 or 30-year old. It simply cannot take the punishment.
  2. My training regime is NOT meant to create an Arnold Schwarzenegger physique, but meant to create a healthy, fit and muscular looking body for the older guy.
  3. Fancy “moves” is best left to the youngsters. The older body responds optimally to time proven moves, like compounds and it has actually been proven by science to stimulate greater releases of testosterone and HGH in the older body.
  4. Calves and ABS will be trained in each of the 4 training sessions. They are of a unique muscle group that only respond to frequent intense training, unlike all the other muscle groups.
  5. If your blood testosterone is not healthy, nothing will happen. This is the number ONE step an older guy must give attention too. An easy way out is to get a HOME TESTING TESTOSTERONE kit (https://trylgc.com/gert use 20% discount code ‘GERT20’). Once you know your levels, then apply the T-MANAGE plan to increase levels. Here is the link to the plan: https://gertlouw.com/2020/04/13/the-testosterone-management-bible-for-men-over-40/
  6. Lastly, all the above will be worthless without a strict eating regime in place. Diet determines 80% of your muscle building success. Here is a good template to get you started: https://gertlouw.com/2017/09/08/free-cutting-building-diets-for-a-ripped-muscled-physique/

Those are the 6 foundation points for your training and body transformation.

Note: completely new to training, follow the following regime for the first 3 months first – https://gertlouw.com/2014/06/02/how-do-i-start-a-body-transformation-from-scratch/

Right, now that covered let’s move on to the training.

The training here is for a BUILDING PHASE which typically is training to failure at lower reps. After roughly a three month period you HAVE to consider changing it to a CUTTING phase (again for 3 months) at higher rep range per set and with about 30% drop in weights.

Be under no misconception as to the intensity required when training for growth (like in the Building phase).

Training INTENSITY methodology

My methodology regarding intensity required in the Building phase:

  • Before age 40: you train each set to absolute failure to stimulate growth! Yip, each set guys!
  • Age 40-50: you train at 90% failure rate, meaning after you do your last rep, you should just-just be able to complete one more rep to reach point of absolute failure.
  • Age 50-60: you train at 80% failure rate meaning that after you do your last rep, you should be able to do another 1 and another half reps to reach absolute failure.
  • Age 60-70: you train at 70% failure rate meaning that after you do your last rep, you should be able to do another 2 reps to reach absolute failure.
  • Here is an example of the intensity required for age group 50-60 (I am 55). After my last rep I am able to do about 1.5 more reps to absolute failure point:

Training is 4 days a week with a 5th day that you can schedule to only work on lagging muscle groups.



[total sets excluding warmup – 21]

5-10 minutes warmup (purpose: get blood flowing and muscle warmed up)
  • 2-3 sets of 25 knee-upsStanding_Cross-body_Crunch_M_WorkoutLabs
  • 2-3 sets of 25 of body squats.BODY SQUATS
  • 3 sets of 8press-bar-lying-on-incline-260nw-425668825
  • Stretching the trained muscle for 1-2 min after training
ABS crunches (exercise ball)
  • 2 sets of 25 (abs MUST ache!)Exercise ball crunches
Alternating Dumbbell Bicep Curl
  • 3 sets of 8 for each armunnamed
  • Stretching the trained muscle for 1-2 min after training
  • 2 sets of 20 (hold for 1 sec in top position)213_fig1
  • 2 sets of 8FLAT BENCH PRESS2
  • Stretching the trained muscle for 1-2 min after training
ABS crunches (exercise ball)
  • 2 sets of 25 (abs MUST ache!)Exercise ball crunches
  • 3 sets of 8 with each arm (keep for 1 sec in top position squeezing bicep muscle)Concentrated bending arms with a dumbbell. Exercising for bodybuilding. Target muscles are marked in red. Initial and final steps. 3D illustration
  • Stretching the trained muscle for 1-2 min after training
  • 2 sets of 20 (hold for 1 sec in top position)exercise-3
  • 2 sets of 8dumbell-flys
  • Do some cool-down stretches of all the muscles trained during session for 3-4 min…


Points to remember

  • No throwing weights. Slow controlled movements with ONLY the target muscle doing the work! No other joint movement!
  • Keep training sessions as short as possible. Longer than an hour in gym = problematic and could results in the body going in a catabolic state = bad!
  • Slight soreness the next day should be the target but NOT so sore that you struggle to move or to get out of bed. That is problematic and means the muscle fiber tear damage is too great and recuperation time required too long for recovery. Doing this regularly can result in stagnated growth and even decrease in muscle size.
  • It is a good idea to eat a banana (or apple) and drink 20g WHEY protein (mixed with water) straight after training. Here is my preferred WHEY choice and where to get it.
  • The 16 TRAINING CONCEPTS/PRINCIPLES as discussed in the previous article is key to keep this training method fresh and new. Exercises stay the same, but the attck must be ever changing with the 16 principles.

This PECS and BICEP training session is typically done on day ONE of training, which for me, is always Mondays.

Next week guys, I will post day TWO which will be SHOULDERS and TRAPS training.


My important links:

  1. This is a generic training approach. My coaching system for the older guy, the ADVANCED SYSTEM II, incorporates all my teachings and is customised on many levels for your body and goals. It is very comprehensive and give you the complete blueprint to reach your body goals and move beyond them. You can find out more here and also signup through this link: https://gertlouw.com/my-transformation-secrets/
  2. Here is the links to order all my key supplements and training gear as discussed in all my articles: https://gertlouw.com/supplements-order/

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Wishing you all sweaty and intense training session, till next week!


Gert Louw

Gert looking down

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