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Thread: Strength in your elder years

  1. #1
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    Default Strength in your elder years

    Hypothetically speaking, how long into his elder years can a man continue to productively strength train? 70? 75? or even older?

    I am asking sheerly out of curiosity, as I am only in my late 50s.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by beefeater View Post
    Hypothetically speaking, how long into his elder years can a man continue to productively strength train? 70? 75? or even older?

    I am asking sheerly out of curiosity, as I am only in my late 50s.
    This question has been asked lots of times, and I don't think there's a concrete answer in the sense that I suspect you're looking for it. At some point, "productive" necessarily means limiting strength/muscle loss rather than setting lifetime PRs, but there's no way to say where that point will be for a given individual. If you started at 20 and got brutally strong, it will look very different than if you let yourself go through 55 and got your start later on. There are competitive powerlifters in their 90s. Perhaps you can clarify your question? Are you asking when you get to quit lifting all these heavy barbells? I vote for never.

    On a highly related note, if you haven't read The Barbell Prescription yet, you need to get on that post haste.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Skillin View Post
    This question has been asked lots of times, and I don't think there's a concrete answer in the sense that I suspect you're looking for it. At some point, "productive" necessarily means limiting strength/muscle loss rather than setting lifetime PRs, but there's no way to say where that point will be for a given individual. If you started at 20 and got brutally strong, it will look very different than if you let yourself go through 55 and got your start later on. There are competitive powerlifters in their 90s. Perhaps you can clarify your question? Are you asking when you get to quit lifting all these heavy barbells? I vote for never.

    On a highly related note, if you haven't read The Barbell Prescription yet, you need to get on that post haste.
    No, I'm not asking when to quick heavy lifting.
    I take it by "brutally strong" you mean the "gold standard" for a non competitive lifter: 200+ pound strict press, 300+ pound bench press, 400+ pound squat and 500+ pound deadlift, .
    Yes, I realize the difference between someone who starts training at 18, follows a right, proper programme consistently throughout his life, he will have accumulated a great deal of strength (by his late 30s), and by age 55 may continue to get slightly stronger, despite the fact that he suffered some hormonal decline for the past decade or so, VS Someone who is a couch potato throughout his entire life then starts strength training on his 55th birthday, already in hormonal decline and without the acumen of decades of training.
    There aren't a lot of elderly retired lifters who write about or even talk about there current strength levels. Men who were brutally strong during their competitive years, and may still may be strong today, if they still train heavy. It would be in very interesting how much of a decline in strength they experienced. How many still train heavy?
    BTY, I am taking your advise your advice and reading Dr. Sully and Bakers book

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by beefeater View Post
    No, I'm not asking when to quick heavy lifting.
    I take it by "brutally strong" you mean the "gold standard" for a non competitive lifter: 200+ pound strict press, 300+ pound bench press, 400+ pound squat and 500+ pound deadlift, .
    Yes, I realize the difference between someone who starts training at 18, follows a right, proper programme consistently throughout his life, he will have accumulated a great deal of strength (by his late 30s), and by age 55 may continue to get slightly stronger, despite the fact that he suffered some hormonal decline for the past decade or so, VS Someone who is a couch potato throughout his entire life then starts strength training on his 55th birthday, already in hormonal decline and without the acumen of decades of training.
    There aren't a lot of elderly retired lifters who write about or even talk about there current strength levels. Men who were brutally strong during their competitive years, and may still may be strong today, if they still train heavy. It would be in very interesting how much of a decline in strength they experienced. How many still train heavy?
    BTY, I am taking your advise your advice and reading Dr. Sully and Bakers book
    Well I'd say the guy who starts at 55 after never having been strong will peak later than the guy who starts at 16, but he'll also peak lower (all else held equal). I know Ed Coan still moves some pretty impressive weight, but not nearly as much he did in his prime. But the Coans and Karwoskis of the world are outliers anyway, so I don't know how much useful information we can get from their data points. I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did, and good luck with your training.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by beefeater View Post
    No, I'm not asking when to quick heavy lifting.
    I take it by "brutally strong" you mean the "gold standard" for a non competitive lifter: 200+ pound strict press, 300+ pound bench press, 400+ pound squat and 500+ pound deadlift, .
    Yes, I realize the difference between someone who starts training at 18, follows a right, proper programme consistently throughout his life, he will have accumulated a great deal of strength (by his late 30s), and by age 55 may continue to get slightly stronger, despite the fact that he suffered some hormonal decline for the past decade or so, VS Someone who is a couch potato throughout his entire life then starts strength training on his 55th birthday, already in hormonal decline and without the acumen of decades of training.
    There aren't a lot of elderly retired lifters who write about or even talk about there current strength levels. Men who were brutally strong during their competitive years, and may still may be strong today, if they still train heavy. It would be in very interesting how much of a decline in strength they experienced. How many still train heavy?
    BTY, I am taking your advise your advice and reading Dr. Sully and Bakers book
    I'd suggest you google some several sites for age adjusted strength standards. Kilgore's are pretty close in tracking what those aging powerlifters taking gold medals that Adam was talking about.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Skillin View Post
    Well I'd say the guy who starts at 55 after never having been strong will peak later than the guy who starts at 16, but he'll also peak lower (all else held equal). I know Ed Coan still moves some pretty impressive weight, but not nearly as much he did in his prime. But the Coans and Karwoskis of the world are outliers anyway, so I don't know how much useful information we can get from their data points. I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did, and good luck with your training.
    Yes, I look forward to reading it once It arrives. Thanks

  7. #7
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    There are several articles posted about training elderly people. One of the Rippetoe principles is that stronger is better. I am a 70 year old couch potato who had become amazingly weak from doing nothing. I started the program and am making some nice gains, nothing to brag about or to become competitive. Just becoming much more capable of doing normal things.

    Making gains in strength is somewhat related to the starting point level. I would like to get to squats at 1 1/2 body weight, deads at twice body weight, bench 1 1/4 my body weight, press at near body weight. Weight is now only at 140 lbs so I will gain some weight with the increased muscle. These are modest goals for a 30 year old but maybe not for a 70 year old weakling. When I go for the six month checkup I am amazed at the physical condition of the people at the medical offices.

    Goal is to get up to some reasonable level of capability, watch the diet to make it more healthy, and maintain health to stay out of those treatment facilities.

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