T Nation

Benching After 50+ Years Old


I have a question for anyone in the know. A couple years ago I was benching 425
then I went on an atkins diet, bad idea. Anyway I've gotten back into lifting and eating enough carbs, my bench will not go up. Could it be that I'm to old to regain what I had because of being 57?


Maybe try a program like 531, Madcow or a routine like that with built in progression? Start light and stay consistent.


The consequences of de-training magnify with age. That doesn't mean you can't rebuild most/all of your previous level. Proceed like the tortoise; not the hare.
**IMO....your choice of diet is not the reason for your situation; an extended period in a calorie deficit on any protocol would produce the same result.


I think physical condition trumps age, and I have noticed food choices affect heavy workouts. If you have to diet, try the Velocity diet on this website after reading (a) the posts on it here and (b) pgs 37-48 in Dan John's book "Never Let Go".

I'm 66, bench 245 w/o spotter, deadlift around 405, squat 395. My doctor tells me I'm still in my late 40s. You ought to be aiming for somewhere in your 30s.


Fuckin' sweet.


You mentioned a diet. Did you drop much weight? If you did, that's a big reason right there.


Yes I dropped weight but gained it back, my bench didn't follow.


You have my respect, only hope I can do what you do, if , I am lucky enough to reach your age.


Nice numbers....what weight class are you in?


Sounds like some combination of the following:

Losing muscle that wasn’t regained; it is harder to gain it in than lose it, especially in mature lifters.

Losing neural efficiency that similarly wasn’t regained because you had to go lighter (secondary to the weight loss), and thus could not practice with previous heavy loads. There is great specificity to heavy loads with barbell training (unlike, say, with machines). And at 2 years older–at your age–this all matters.

Perhaps consider a program that focuses on low rep training 1-3RM with all the main lifts with little supplemental work (but starting the program ‘too light’ so to speak). That worked for me (Singles training in fact) to improve pressing numbers after weight loss, and keeping overall sessional volumes lower, to facilitate recovery.