Master-aged lifters never die, they just take an hour to warm-up. The master lifter is still in the game because, truth be told, you have to be. Because the world without weights is just not worth living in, and that is why you continue to work around injuries, get to the gym extra early in order to get your warm-ups done before your training partners get there, and instead of finding a meet to train for like in the old days, you now train and when you are healthy enough to put up the total you want, you find and then go travel to the meet. These are all little adjustments you have made over the years to stay in the game, and it is because you have learned to adapt that you can still fill your iron needs, which you require to have part of your life fulfilled.

RELATED: 10 Best Christmas Gifts for the Old Guy Who Still Wants to Lift and Get Strong(er)

With that said, as the holiday season is approaching, here is a list of ten items for the master-aged lifter to help keep them in the game, as there is no other option. Adaptability is the name of that very game.

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1. Red Shoulder Saver Pad

This is an essential item for the master lifter. The Shoulder Saver works better than a bench board for a couple of key reasons. First, the feeling of the pad hitting your chest is far more authentic than a bar hitting a board that someone is holding on your chest. Second, if you are training alone, you can still use the Red Shoulder Saver Pad instead of putting the boards under your shirt or trying to secure them on your chest with some mini-bands. Beyond that, the Red Shoulder Saver adds a dynamic to your training so you can do your regular bench routine, then hit the Shoulder Saver for a different part of the chest. Depending on how close or far your grip is, you can also incorporate more or less triceps into the movement.

Lastly, and specifically for those days when the master lifter is feeling like a retired lifter, when the pec tendons are a little too tight or the shoulders are a little too stiff, you can still hit your bench training while using a smaller range of motion to lessen the injury potential. On a day when the gears are not moving as smoothly as they should be, the Red Shoulder Saver Pad is great.

2. The American Cambered Yoke Bar 

Along the lines of the Red Shoulder Saver, the ACYB is a great implement to use when hitting your bench program. The ACYB is a great barbell to add to your collection, as this bar allows for either heavy weight or lighter speed weight to be used. Because of its unique design and angles, the ACYB takes some stress off the triceps as well as the wrists. The fatter diameter of the bar also allows you to hit a different dynamic. You can use bands or chains or both with the ACYB and go heavy, or go for high volume, or go for speed, all while keeping the tendonitis from biting down so hard.

3. Bandbell Earthquake Bar 

As a master lifter, what has helped you stay in the game is working all the ancillary areas of your training. It is those ancillary movements that work as mortar for the bricks, or bigger area movements. For example, you don’t just hit heavy bench after heavy bench after heavy bench. Instead, you make sure that you hit the ancillary areas to keep the big areas healthy. The Bandbell Earthquake Bar is a great tool for the master lifter for the obvious training reasons that open-aged competitive lifters use it for, but in addition to those, for the master lifter this tool requires the lifter to stay tight. This is great to keep the shoulders healthy. Use this for high reps, low weight, and a good deal of chaos, requiring strict form without an explosive element involved.

4. E-Series Farmer's Walk Handles

Strong grip, core work, GPP, knee pre-hab, and strength training, all in one multi-faceted tool. E-Series Farmer's Walk Handles are the financially-friendly version of the Strongman Farmer’s Walk Handles, thus perfect for the powerlifter who doesn't compete in strongman. As a master lifter, grip, core, GPP, and knee pre-hab are areas that are key to longevity, and can all be trained with the E-Series Farmer's Walk Handles. That is why this is on my list.

5. Rehband Original Blue 7380 Warm Pants 

As master lifters, we no longer go into the squat rack and throw on one, then two, then three, four, five and then six plates. There is warm-up time, some stretching, and some warm-up sets. Okay, a lot of warm-up sets. But those sets, although time consuming, are an investment. The warm-ups allow for the master lifter to slowly rev up to their big sets. On my list of ten items for the master powerlifter are the Rehband Original Blue 7380 Warm Pants. Even for the raw lifter, this is a great tool to keep the beat-up-and-worn-down-but-still-in-the-game lifter warm and with maintained hip health. These are great for squatting, but also for any day in the gym when you want to keep the hips and hamstrings warm and a little protected.

6. Rehband 7051 Original Knee Sleeves

Along the lines of the warm pants, keeping the knees and the hinge joints themselves warm is why the Rehband 7051 Original Knee Sleeves made it to my list. As a member of elitefts I can get any knee sleeves I want (perks of the position) and although I like them all, my favorite, which I would personally recommend for the “retired powerlifter”, are the Rehband 7051 Original Knee Sleeves. I was training with a master-aged Highland Games competitor and he had a pair that he has owned forever. I tried them and have never gone back.

7. Rehband 7051 Original Knee Sleeves...for Your Elbows

For me personally, I use the size Medium Rehband 7051 Original Knee Sleeves as elbow sleeves. I do so because I find the elbow sleeves are just a little too short. As a long-armed deadlifter, for my benching I like a longer sleeve. The mediums are what I use as my elbow sleeves to keep tendonitis at bay and to keep those hinge joints warm without adding too much compression. So, in other words, I own a pair of large Rehband 7051 Original Knee Sleeves for my knees and I own a pair of medium Rehband 7051 Original Knee Sleeves for my elbows.

Last point on these is I wash my sleeves in cold on the delicate cycle, while turned inside out. They are a little more expensive, but I use them every bench day so who really cares about the price when they keep your joints warm, safe, and help you stay in the game? Bottom line: you would blow the extra cash on pizza for the month anyway, so spend the extra cash and get the elbow sleeves that will last as long as you have.

8. Monster Garage Gym T-Shirt

Okay, so maybe there is no direct benefit to your lifting, but it is easier to put on this gym t-shirt than it is to bend over to tie your shoes. The MGG is one of the premier powerlifting gyms in the US and as the master-aged lifter, the MGG is a throw-back to the days you remember when gyms actually meant something and when lifters had pride in their hardcore gym.

9. elitefts Standard 2x2 Power Rack

As a semi-retired lifter, you have collected all kinds of bars and weights over the years and you often try to get in a little workout in your garage. Go the next step: get the elitefts Standard 2x2 Power Rack and start your home garage. You can deadlift in the rack, use reverse bands when you pull in the rack, floor press in it, obviously squat in it, as well as do your rack pulls and many other things. Bolt it to the ground and make it happen. The Monster Garage Gym, which is now one of the premier powerlifting gyms in the United States, started off with this very piece of equipment and it gave us everything we needed when the gym was still, literally, in a two and a half car garage.

10. elitefts Garge Line Dumbbell Flat Bench

To go with your elitefts Standard 2x2 Power Rack, this flat bench will allow you to fully train in the rack. You can bench off it, do dumbbell presses, dumbbell rows, sit-up crunches, leg lifts, seated military press, seated curls, seated side lat raises, and countless other movements. Bottom line: as a lifter who has been there and done that, having some equipment in your garage or basement is a great way to get in some serious training if you are stuck in the world of corporate gyms. When you train at home you will enjoy seeing a little chalk dust on the equipment.

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