Approaching 60 and Training


Marshall posted this: “There are a lot of us approaching 60 and your posting recounts issues that most of us are facing. Your books are excellent for younger athletes — how about a paper or a book on using your techniques focusing on fitness for those of us "approaching 60"? The article in Outside Magazine would seem to be a good start.”

I am fast approaching sixty, only a little over two weeks to go, so this is an area near to my heart. Here are some thoughts on things I have personally observed as well as what I have been able to pull from research.

Less is more – in fact much less is a lot more. Train consistently but remember that training is cumulative. If you have been an athlete, like I was, and have continued to workout there is an accumulation of background. I have found that shorter more intense workouts are preferable to longer more prolonged workouts. Follow these workouts by a much lighter day. If it is higher impact day then follow it with a very low impact day. I know I get in trouble when I try to put two impact workout back to back.

Just as training is cumulative, the old injuries are still there – Respect your injury history and do more remedial type of work so they do not come back to haunt you.

Warm-up – Even more important as you age. Make it active and progressive. Be sure to include rotational movement s and some crawling. 90% of the warm-up should be on your feet and moving at no slower than a jog tempo.

Don’t buy into the aerobics myth – Do not get me wrong you must do aerobic work, but it should be balance by all the other components of training. Strength training especially exercises that promote postural integrity and dynamic alignment must be done consistently. Vary your mode of aerobic work and don’t be afraid to push it a bit.

Flexibility is more important – Aging is relentless, but it seems the most relentless in the loss of range of motion. I must admit I have been very flexible all my life, but in the last year I have noticed some subtle losses in flexibility. I must make a conscious effort to incorporate this component daily. Yoga is good, especially Ashtanga yoga. Hip mobility is really essential. I prefer hurdle walks to achieve this, because it is dynamic and I have a consistent measure.

Balance – Train it in a sensible manner. Make it part of other activities and be as dynamic as possible.

Agility work is very important – You don’t have to bag drills from your football days, but body awareness work and some movements that involve quick changes of direction and reorientation of the body should be done twice a week, even if you are an endurance athlete.

There is no fountain of youth, but exercise and an athletic lifestyle come close. You are only as old as you think you are. I live a community of newly weds and nearly deads. It looks like a snapshot of the future of the US with a population that is primarily over 55. I am inspired daily by the people in sixth, seventh and eighth decades of life and how active and athletic they are. When I go swim there is an eighty year old man who has had a triple bypass who swims a mile a day. When you talk to him he doesn’t talk like he is old and he does not act it. My motto is older and better. My goal is to die doing a smorgy circuit with the breakfast club when I am in my nineties.

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Vern Gambetta

Vern Gambetta

Director at Gambetta Sports Training Systems
Vern is the Director of Gambetta Sports Training Systems. He has been the a conditioning coach for several MLS teams as well as the conditioning consultant to the US Men's World Cup Soccer team. Vern is the former Director of Conditioning for the Chicago White Sox and New York Mets. He has lectured and conducted clinics in Canada, Japan, Australia and Europe and has authored six books and over one hundred articles related to coaching and sport performance in a variety of sports. He has a BA in teaching with a coaching minor and an MA in Education with an emphasis in physical education from Stanford University.
Vern Gambetta


Athletic Development Coach & Consultant. Founder of GAIN Network. Proud dad. Love to read everything.
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Vern Gambetta

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