Over 40 training – BACK and TRICEPS

This is the 3rd article in 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)

This is typically the best training approach for the older guy to train the body 4 times a week.

Some of you that watched Part I and II might want to skip directly to the actual training section. Check the timecode I put up in the top left corner, that is where the training starts.

However, those of you that did not watch part I or II, these are critical concepts for the older guy to get in place with his training. Ignoring them will most certainly mean mediocre results to complete failure and even injury.


First, The 6 foundation principles for the older body:
  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 Schwazeneger physique, but meant to create a healthy, fit and muscular looking body.
  3. Fancy “moves” is best left to the youngsters. The older body responds optimally to time proven moves, like compounds.
  4. Calves and ABS will be trained in each of the 4 training sessions. They are off 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 important aspect an older guy venturing this route 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/

Just a note: completely new to training, follow the following regime for the first 3 months to get the body, tendons and joints accustomed to weight training: https://gertlouw.com/2014/06/02/how-do-i-start-a-body-transformation-from-scratch/

Building phase = growing muscles

I am focusing here on a BUILDING PHASE training environment which means your aim is primarily to add muscle size at lower reps with heavier weights training. Typically, the daily calories are slightly higher during such a phase to allow quicker muscle recovery and building. After roughly a three-month period you should consider changing the Building Phase training into a CUTTING phase training which means lighter weights (I drop my weights with roughly 30%) and each set at higher rep range and NOT to absolute failure. By alternating these phases, the tendons and joints gets sufficient time to strengthen and recover for the next Building Phase. Cycles needs to be constantly alternated to prevent injury.

Your training is 4 days a week with this fixed program and the 5th is optional when you should focus only on lagging muscle groups. On the 5th day ONLY work out lagging muscle groups. For example: if your left bicep is smaller than the right one, ONLY to exercises for the left bicep, and so on. Less than 4 days training and you will find you will not grow and stimulate muscles to respond.


Training INTENSITY METHODOLOGY for the older guy

Now, without a certain level of intensity, muscle growth will simply not occur.

So what is my methodology regarding intensity required in the Building phase?

Assumption: Your 8th rep is where total muscle failure occur, meaning you cannot do 1 more rep without assistance.

The older guy intensity methodology

  • Before age 40: Do each set to rep 8 – absolute failure.
  • Age 40-50: Do each set to rep 7 (stop 1 rep short of absolute failure)
  • Age 50-60: Do each set to rep 6 (stop 2 reps short of absolute failure)
  • Age 60-70: Do each set to rep 5 (stop 3 reps short of absolute failure)



[total sets excluding warmup – 22]

5-10 minutes warmup (purpose: get blood flowing and muscle warmed up)

  • 2-3 sets of 26 Air cycling on exercise mat  (13 each leg)

air cycling

  • 2-3 sets of 25 of body squats.

Body squat


Now for the growth exercises.

After each set, do 1-2 min of stretching of the muscle just trained.

WIDE GRIP BACK PULL-UPS (upper back) - 3 sets of 10

Wide grip back pull up final

TRICEP DUMBBELL KICKBACKS (triceps) - 2 sets of 10


SEATED CALVE RAISE (calves) - 3 sets of 25


SEATED CABLE ROW (back) - 2 sets of 10

Seated Cable Rows BACK

TRICEP DIPS with weights if necessary - 2 sets of 10


ABS CABLE CRUNCH (abs) - 3 sets of 20

cable crunches ABS

ONE ARM (BENT OVER) DUMBBELL ROW (back) - 2 sets of 8 each arm.


LOWER BACK EXTENSIONS (back) - 3 sets of 20 with holding weight plates against chest.

Back extensions final

SKULL-CRUSHER With EZ bar (triceps) - 2 sets of 10

Skull Crusher

Cooldown stretches for 3-4 minutes of Traps, Shoulders, Abs 
and Calves muscles. 

You might ask…But what about the deadlift? No worry, it is slotted in with “Part 4 – Leg training”.

Other critical point for growth environment
  • No throwing weights. Always 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!
  • Only slight soreness should be felt the next day. If you struggle to get out of bed it means intensity too much and muscle will take too long to recover for optimal growth.
  • There is a window of opportunity to feed the body the right foods for growth for the next hour after training. Banana (or apple) and 20g WHEY protein (mixed with water) straight after training is perfect. Here is my preferred WHEY choice and where to get it.
  • The 16 TRAINING CONCEPTS/PRINCIPLES is key to keep your training fresh and new. Exercises stay the same, but the attack must be ever changing with the 16 principles.

For example week 1 do FORCED REPS, week 2 PARTIALS, week 3 PRE-EXHAUST, etc…

    5. DROP SETS
    9. JUMP SETS
    11. BURNS
    12. JETTISON
    13. STRIP SETS

All is discussed in detail in my coaching system, the ADVANCED SYSTEM II, but just google and you should get enough info on these training principles.

This BACK and TRICEPS training session is typically done on day THREE of training, which for me, is always THURSDAYS.

Next week guys, I will post the last part, day FOUR which will be Upper and Lower legs 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 “preferred” key supplements and training gear as discussed in all my articles: https://gertlouw.com/supplements-order/

Then guys and girls, as you can see my information is free. The only way my site stay up, is by donations. I kindly ask for a small donation to help me keeping my info free and speaking positivity into people’s life’s: https://paypal.me/GERTFITNESS

Please make a small donation to keep site free.

Please help me keeping the site on air and free. Through many of the life uplifting posts I have helped many people facing and overcoming dark moments in their life. By sponsoring this site you help them too!


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


Backyard muscle

Author: gertlouw

In the deepest south of South Africa you will find me. Dwelling in the most beautiful city in the world, Cape Town. I live close to God and try to follow in the footsteps of Christ as led the Holy Spirit. Other passions include Karate and Judo and wrestling (and off course surfing for many years). Karate I did for many years, Judo 4 yrs and for a short period kickboxing until I was knocked silly one time with blood all over and teeth protruding through my lip, but if I have to choose over, I would choose wrestling…simply because of the brutal power against power game with your opponent. Love it. Love my home theatre hobby, my youtube channel and spending time with family! And off course me and my son's new adventure https://mediax.photography ...and love flying my drone - DJI Phantom 4 Pro For those interested, this blog is my database of all my fitness and transformation knowledge. And NO (!) I am not getting any money for it and neither do I promote anything on it or getting sponsored by anybody. My blog is simply where I want to help other guys living a healthier life and become the best they can be, inside and out and ultimately it is my legacy I want to leave my one and only son – now 13 y/o and already eager to get his 6-pack! So donations very welcome! Just click the donation button... I started my healthy living after a very close call with death at age 40. After much hardship one of my main aims now is to assist other guys with healthy living and transforming themselves inside and out. I don’t know how much grace will still be given me, but I live now every moment to be the best I can be. To be the best bodybuilder I can be, the best father, best husband and best friend to those whom my paths crosses. I want to live a life worth living and not just do what excites me or pleases me. Feel free to contact me directly if you wish. Reading this far, the last bit important info on me you need to know, is that my anchor in life is Jesus Christ. Please bear in mind, English is my 2nd language and as a result their might be spelling, grammatical and other language errors in my blog – I do apologise for this! Wish you all many blessings. Gert Louw

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.