My Top 5 Exercise For More Muscle And Strength After 35!

Ever since I fell in love with lifting and getting strong at 17. I love going to the gym lifting heavy and grinding some hard sets.

As we get older, we have to be smarter and can’t always go hard in the same ways.

Even more than that we have to change our exercises, because going hard in certain exercises isn’t worth the risk.

But, I have found there are a handful of strength exercises where the risk/reward ratio is on our side. It is harder to get hurt.

Allowing us to push hard so

  • We make a gain in muscle, strength, and athletic performance
  • Don’t beat up our spine or joints
  • Make us feel young again

I’m going to share my favorite 5 . Read on and let’s get strong.

Trap Bar Deadlift

The first one is the trap bar deadlift. This is going to be better for building very strong legs, than packing on muscle.

It is safer than traditional or sumo deadlift, because the bar placement is right underneath your center of gravity.

There is a blast to do, load up some heavy weights and go to town.

A few tips

  • Keep slack out of arms
  • Drive your feet through the floor, and once the bar comes off the ground drive your hip forward.
  • Brace into your abs breathe in and push your abs out before you lift.
  • Keep your spine in a neutral position, not rounded
  • Lift with a bar with mats if you feel it in your lower back
Me pulling 515 off some mats

Slight Incline DB Press

The DB’s allow for a better shoulder position that won’t kill your shoulders, elbows, and wrist.

The slight incline helps avoid any shoulder impingement, which can cause pain.

Personally, I’ve always gotten way more pec activation with this than the typical bench press

Better shoulder stability for shoulder health.

But, not so much that you can push this really hard and build really strong push strength.

This to me is the ideal push exercise for guys who do BJJ and older dues who want to make gains without all the shoulder pain.

A few tips

  • As you lower the weight think like your rowing.
  • Focus on 2-4 sec negative with 1 sec pause at the bottom.
  • Keep your chest out shoulder blades back

Bench supported T-bar row or Seated Row

Horizontal rowing is my jam.

These two are my favorite. I love these because you can lock yourself in and go hard on your back, biceps, and shoulders. With little risk of injury and you’re able to load heavy enough to see some major gains.

A strong upper back is the foundation of healthy shoulders. As you might know for healthy shoulders we want to have a strong back and in general do more volume for our back than our pec and front shoulders.

With both of these, I prefer a neutral grip to make it more shoulder friendly.

A few tips

  • As you row pull your shoulder blades back and contract you’re back hard.
  • Focus on tension, squeeze the grip hard, row to your chest, big squeeze for 1-2 sec and 3-4 sec negative.
  • Avoid jerking motion and just using your arms

Rear Foot elevated split squat

This is a much-hated leg exercise, but it works all the big leg muscles without killing the lower back or compressing your joints.

It can improve your mobility and work on core strength at the same time.

They can be very hard. when you train them with decent weight.

This is a great option to get strong legs, build muscle and become more athletic.

Heavy Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat with DB’s

Trap bar RDL

RDL’s are purest form of a hip hinge or deadlift. Driving more hip mobility and targeting the hamstring and glutes.

Although, this one has a little more of a learning curve. It is a great one to learn. If you can’t bend over without pain, you’re bound to pull your back at some point.

I love Trap bar RDL, it is one of the best variations to get us to load an RDL without putting too much stress on the lower back.

Even clients who have sensitive lower back pain can load this RDL variation with little to no pain.

Because the weight is right underneath our center of gravity it tends to work well.

A few tips

  • Soften your knees before you start the movements
  • Think about driving your hip/tailbone to the wall behind you.
  • Try to get a big stretch on your hamstring and glutes(ass)
  • Then stand tall.
  • Focus on most of the movement coming from the hips without much additional knee bend or rounding of the lower back.
  • Brace your core/abs on the way down and exhale on the way up


That is my top 5, I hope you learned a ton and try some of these exercise. If you have any questions be sure to let me know.

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