T Nation

50+ and Increasing Muscle

I do find the posts here interesting and insightful. However, being 51 I’m real curious about the real ability to gain muscle mass at this age. I’ve been working out with weights for about 6 years regularly and with a trainer and am in pretty good shape but would love to add a little mass to my frame. Not looking to be Mr America but…

I only wish I was aware of this bodybuidling craze when I was in my 20’s!! Anyway, Am looking for any suggestions, including supplements, and please if you feel it’s not possibe, tell me. I will then continue what I’m doing as I am in better shape than I was in my 20’s
dbushn2

Funny timimg. I just (re)read Paul Kelso’s book “Powerlifting Basics, Texas-style The Adventures of Lope Delk”. Here’s a quote (kinda)…

“I’m gaining muscular bodyweight at an age when most men are looking for a place to take a nap!”

He talks about training since the 50’s so I’d say he’s got a few years on you.

You may want to check out that book (google search) and see if you’d like to get into powerlifting. You don’t need to compete to powerlift and it’d be a great challenge for you. See if your trainer is up to the task. And if you followed some of the routines in the book, you’d be sure to get bigger and stronger.

Good luck.

Being 5 ysr older than you I can say yes you can increase muscle. Ya gotta do it right and be willing to walk funny now and then.

I powerlift, and love it. Hey I injured my shoulder 3 weeks before national masters. Let it rest developed my own rehab, and tonight just 6 weeks after injuring it, I benched first time since. Did 10 reps with 200 lbs.

Just get off your butt and train, eat, and get some rest.

Growing old is not for sissies.

Another over-50 here. Yes you can put on muscle. You have to pace your eating so it does not outrun your muscle building, however. Losing fat is not as easy as it was when we were 17.:0)

For those over 50 (I’m 45), I’d like to see what type of routine you’re doing. Thanks.

Brian

I’m not over 50, but this guy is. http://www.cbass.com/index.html

Keep lifting man. Eat right. Get your cardio. It’s the key to a long, healthy life. In my work I never have to take care of a healthy old guy with abs showing who’s having a heart attack. It’s just the fat, inactive ones mostly.

I’ll be 60 in December.

I won’t bore you with a long story, but I got back in the gym 3 years ago after a 10 year layoff. I started training powerlifting almost right away. I did my first meet last year in the 55-59/220# raw division (AAU).

My lifts are still going up. There’s no reason that yours can’t go up too.

Eat right, train hard, and rest.

Rick

I turned 51 last saturday. Yes you can gain muscle at our advanced age. Lift heavy, and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something.

[quote]Bad John wrote:
I turned 51 last saturday. Yes you can gain muscle at our advanced age. Lift heavy, and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. [/quote]

Happy Birthday, I just turned 52 today. I have been training off and on for 8 years. I am stronger than ever in my life but seem to have hit a plateau. So yes you can definitely gain strength, but how much? I am thrilled with the forum addressing us over 35.I would like to find out what more experienced bodybuilders our age are doing with regard to training.

I feel one impediment to my gains has been inadequate nutrition based on reading Dr. Berardi’s works. Now that I seem to be getting that straightened out, I am open to suggestions regarding training and recuperation for us older guys. Anyone have a suggestion as to any articles here or elsewhere that offer that guidance. I love working out and lately have been doing the whole body/three day a week workout HST style(www.hypertrophy-specific.com). Made a few modest gains but am concerned about recuperation time. By the way I was one of those kids my whole life that the muscle building adds showing the skinny kid getting sand kicked in his face was aimed at.

Heck my new lifting partner is 54 I think and can smoke me on most loads except squat due to the fact he cant sqaut from an old shoulder injury (cant holf the bar)

He can press 5 plates on most days. Coming back from a knee and hip injury and after three weeks is Stiff legging 5 plates for reps.

I say yhea you can do it. Have to be a bit more wise about it. recovery hit it HARD when you do and rest hard. know when to back off.

Heck I also helped my mom make a HELL of a turn around at the age of 53 post cancer surgery. Doing an ABBH tpye routine and then edt. She made some AWESOME gains in a short time.

Best of luck
Phill

[quote]Captain G wrote:
Bad John wrote:
I turned 51 last saturday. Yes you can gain muscle at our advanced age. Lift heavy, and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something.

Happy Birthday, I just turned 52 today. I have been training off and on for 8 years. I am stronger than ever in my life but seem to have hit a plateau. So yes you can definitely gain strength, but how much? I am thrilled with the forum addressing us over 35.I would like to find out what more experienced bodybuilders our age are doing with regard to training.

I feel one impediment to my gains has been inadequate nutrition based on reading Dr. Berardi’s works. Now that I seem to be getting that straightened out, I am open to suggestions regarding training and recuperation for us older guys. Anyone have a suggestion as to any articles here or elsewhere that offer that guidance. I love working out and lately have been doing the whole body/three day a week workout HST style(www.hypertrophy-specific.com). Made a few modest gains but am concerned about recuperation time. By the way I was one of those kids my whole life that the muscle building adds showing the skinny kid getting sand kicked in his face was aimed at.[/quote]

Hey thanks.
I think as you get older, nutrition gets more important. Hell, if you don’t do anything it gets more important. Just look at all the ads aimed at us.
I know about the plateaus. I am trying to get past one right now on benching. To do this I have been working, dumbell rows (the antagonistic muscles). Hopefully this will help get me past where I am. I also am working a lot at overhead pressing.
Since I don’t really have anyone I can ask questions of, do you have flexibility problems? I seem to have these when I back squat. I can front squat ATG, but not back squat. I can get down a little past parallel but not any farther.
What are some of your workouts like?

Hey thanks.
I think as you get older, nutrition gets more important. Hell, if you don’t do anything it gets more important. Just look at all the ads aimed at us.
I know about the plateaus. I am trying to get past one right now on benching. To do this I have been working, dumbell rows (the antagonistic muscles). Hopefully this will help get me past where I am. I also am working a lot at overhead pressing.
Since I don’t really have anyone I can ask questions of, do you have flexibility problems? I seem to have these when I back squat. I can front squat ATG, but not back squat. I can get down a little past parallel but not any farther.
What are some of your workouts like?

[/quote]

I train many people in this age bracket; the problem is that as you age, your ligaments and tendons tend to tighten up. This causes a lot of injuries and tendonitis issues in your joints. I strongly recommend using heavy duty bands and incorporating range of motion stretching into your workouts (3 - 4 times a week). You should see a difference in flexibility in a short amount of time. This is especially great for men with hamstring and quad tightness –

I’ll disagree with the optimists here who say you can do anything you set your mind on. I honestly do not think that most of us over 50 have the hormonal environment to permit decent lean muscle gain as difficult as it may be to accept our limitations.

Good point on tendon issues and flexibilty. Any more information about using bands for stretching?

[quote]peterm533 wrote:
I’ll disagree with the optimists here who say you can do anything you set your mind on. I honestly do not think that most of us over 50 have the hormonal environment to permit decent lean muscle gain as difficult as it may be to accept our limitations.
… [/quote]

Peter,

I don’t know what you goals are, but please don’t talk youself out of them because you’re over 50. Hell, we’re kids compared to some of the guys on this board. I’m honored to type in the same ether as them.

As I mentioned earlier in this thread, I’m pushing 60 and my lifts are still going up. I’ve never used juice, (although I certainly don’t have a problem with those that do), and I’m no genetic mutant.

If you are willing to train hard, eat right, and get the rest you need, you can continue to make gains. And when the gains finally do stop coming, you’ll be fitter than the rest of the guys in the home :wink:

Rick

Rick,

I am still in there trying at over 55 but the evidence of what I see in myself and others just doesn’t support the notion that any significant lean muscle gains are likely to occur much after 50. A lot of people would put that closer to 40 but of course much will depend on your prior training experience.

Of course you can improve your lifting totals -again depending on what you previously did- by improving neural/skill factors but muscle size is more elusive and more I suspect dependant upon sufficient hormonal support than anything else.

If you are the exception to the rule then more power to you!

[quote]peterm533 wrote:
I’ll disagree with the optimists here who say you can do anything you set your mind on. I honestly do not think that most of us over 50 have the hormonal environment to permit decent lean muscle gain as difficult as it may be to accept our limitations.

Good point on tendon issues and flexibilty. Any more information about using bands for stretching? [/quote]

Thats what HRT is for my friend. You can get Test levels us guys in our 20’s don’t even have.

[quote]Bad John wrote:
I am trying to get past one right now on benching. To do this I have been working, dumbell rows (the antagonistic muscles). Hopefully this will help get me past where I am. I also am working a lot at overhead pressing.
Since I don’t really have anyone I can ask questions of, do you have flexibility problems? I seem to have these when I back squat. I can front squat ATG, but not back squat. I can get down a little past parallel but not any farther.
What are some of your workouts like?

[/quote]

I am glad you mentioned the flexibility. Doing the HST thing my workout is comprised of the following - Bench Press, Pull Ups, Rear Delts, Lateral Raises, Lying Tricep Extensions, Preacher Curls, Pec Deck Flyes, Seated Row, Machine Triceps Extensions, Reverse Grip Tricep Extensions, Cable Curls, Leg Curls, Leg Extensions, Hanging Leg Raises, Machine Crunches.

You can see there is not much leg work. I have a knee that has been described a total wreck by my physician. I just haven’t scraped together the money yet for the copay to get the required surgery. Not sure if I did the damage jumping onto concrete from about 5 feet or the squats I had been doing at the same time. I had shoulder surgery four years ago and today I can hear a scrunching type noise anytime I do a military press movement. Suspect the shoulder might be due to an overemphasis on pushing type movements over pulling in my misguided attempt to increase my bench press. I am definitely out of balance based on the test where you put your back to the wall and you should be able to put both the backs of your hands and elbows to the wall when holding your hands like you are in a stickup.

[quote]gr8legs60 wrote:
I strongly recommend using heavy duty bands and incorporating range of motion stretching into your workouts (3 - 4 times a week). You should see a difference in flexibility in a short amount of time. This is especially great for men with hamstring and quad tightness –

[/quote]

I noted you said you train others so I would assume you have seen a cross section of us mature lifters. Is there any similarity in the over 50 group with regard to stiffness and lifting especially with regard to lifting heavy?

I have felt I would do myself a service to begin Yoga to try and regain lost flexibility. Ego instead of common sense makes me spend my time on the weights instead of flexibility. Though I believe I have read the flexibility would benefit my weightlifting.

[quote]peterm533 wrote:
Rick,

I am still in there trying at over 55 but the evidence of what I see in myself and others just doesn’t support the notion that any significant lean muscle gains are likely to occur much after 50. A lot of people would put that closer to 40 but of course much will depend on your prior training experience.

Of course you can improve your lifting totals -again depending on what you previously did- by improving neural/skill factors but muscle size is more elusive and more I suspect dependant upon sufficient hormonal support than anything else.

If you are the exception to the rule then more power to you!
[/quote]
Peter,

I read your reply last night and it has been rattling around in my head ever since. I’m going to make one more pass at you, because I think you’re worth it.

I mentioned earlier that I got back in the gym 3 years ago after a long layoff. My first day back I weighed 228, had a 46" waist, and my blood pressure was 150/95. After 3 years, my weight (this morning) is only down to 222, but my waist is 37" and my blood pressure (last night) is 115/65. My weight is only down 6 pounds, but my waist is down 9 inches.

Now, I’m no physiologist, but I suspect I’ve built some muscle. I don’t take fat measurements, but my scale and mirror tell me that I’ve replaced some fat with lean body mass. And I feel better than I have in 25 years. We may not be able to build muscle like a 20 year old, but I’m here to tell you that we can still build muscle.

I’m no exception. I’m just another old guy in the gym. But I rarely miss a workout, and I work hard. I’m lifting heavier than I ever have. I’m sure some of that can be attributed to improved technique. Some of it can be chalked up to neurological conditioning (which, by the way, comes with lifting heavier). But there’s no denying the brand new muscle I’m sporting.

Start out easy. Let your joints and tendons get used to the loads gradually. Set short term goals and work towards them. When you reach a goal, set a new one. Keep at it. Eat well, train hard, and rest. It ain’t rocket science.

This site is a great resource. It’s loaded with articles about training and nutrition. The information and ideas exchanged in threads like this are priceless. Read and learn.

You can do this.

“Do or do not. There is no try.” Yoda

Rick

10-4 Yoda Rick…10-4