T Nation

Gains After 35


I'm just curious what kinds of gains have been made by guys starting later in life and what can really be expected. I know at some point growth hormone is nearly stopped being produced(Naturally) and at that point you're working off your base. But I thought I'd just get some realistic ideas.


I have put on about 30 quality lbs since turning 35...


All gains "after 35"


Never been bigger or stronger (but I've been fatter).


I don't think its so much a problem of actually being able to put on quality mass over the age of 35. More so the ability to recover from a extreme training sessions. Actually Ive read some where that there is some debate whether the lower of ones hormones has less to do with age then activity level. The theory is that it has more to do with the fact people tend to become less active as they age, so the body doesn't maintain its normal levels since there not needed to maintain it.

In your case I assume your wanting to add mass. The big question is how much training experience you have.If your just starting out I think you will be surprised what you will gain.


I'm a solid 280 at 6'. Now I admit I have a body fat % at almost 30% But my lean mass according to a bod pod is still almost 200lbs. I want to keep the weight and lose the fat. I've lifted on and off since my early twenties. But really feel like I'm ready to buckle down for more of a lifestyle than the quick spurts for 10 or 20 lbs here and there.



My whole progress has been pretty much backwards. I couldn't put on any muscle at all when I was UNDER 35. Only recently I've had any gains at all.


Just started at 53, havn't taken any lean mass measurements as i was first concerned with getting rid of fat, and that is certainly happenning.
Points of note already though :
1. Clearly losing fat , already down about 10 inches in waist measurement (42" down to 34") so looking a whole lot better. (and 17-18kg in fat loss)
2.Feel of muscles is much improved--whole bod feels harder.
3.Clearly still getting stronger (beginners gains) so not worried at all about 'mass"

Not sure that growth hormone is the thing to worry about--if you stress muscles they will still respond, also the insulin response used well has a greater anabolic response.


i'm 48 (on sunday! 3 shopping days left y'all!) and I still get good strength gains if i can lift with consistency. Dan John has written that he thinks doing hypertrophy stuff is more important as we get older, to prevent meatheads from shrinking. So, if you find a good program with both the main strength lifts followed by accessories, there's no reason you can't keep making gains until at least your mid-50's. I seem to remember reading that the mid-50's is when it gets really really hard to make gains, but there are several guys on this board who disprove that.


I think people vastly underestimate what they can do after 35. I do think that as you get older its helpful to stay leaner as you add size.


You build the house until you are 35, then you do the finishing work.


Started last 1NOV10 @ 73" 173# with 9% +/- Body Fat and through commitment and Consistency have gotten to 190# with 10-11% bodyfat using Westside and WENDLER's 5/3/1 systems. So just get your ass out of bed every morn with the attitude of the knife that you will cut away all the extraneous BULLSHIT in your life that you believe is holding you back...every little thing COUNTS.


The gains are as hard as ever (about 5 pounds of muscle in the last year), but yes, the hardest part is recovery and mobility. I can no longer do a regular back squat and gave up flat benches a long time ago. So you have to lift smarter as well. CT's Superhero in 6 weeks has been very nice to see and has worked well for me, but it takes work and structure, not just grinding the muscles into oblivion.


You can make gains after 35. If you're just starting out, it may be somewhat of an advantage in that you haven't put the wear and tear on yourself as someone who's been doing it for years. Everyone's genetic makeup is different but attitude place a big part, too. Start telling yourself your old at 35 and you'll start acting that way. Yes, Virginia, there is muscle after 35.


after 43 years of drinking/smoking ( think Black Sabbaths verse...."smokin' and trippin' is all that you do " ) , I left that behind and took up powerlifting . just about to turn 48 .

estimated 1 RM's when I started ........ 125 on the bench ( thats right....125 ) ; 225 on squat and deads .

I remember missing a 5th rep with 120 on the bench ; I remember last sets of rack pulls with under 200 ; I remember last dumb-bell press sets with 35's ; and I remember feeling lika a total idiot every time I had to pick up these pathetic weights .

proven 1 RM's since are a 240 bench ( most recent) ; 385 deadlift ; and a 365 squat (over a year ago). as you can see , strength gains have been slow......but it is progress . Ive recently stumbled onto some programming ideas that have yielded the best bench progress I've ever made , and plan to apply them to the squat when I get back in the squat rack in September ( hernia surgery coming up ) ; so Im hoping to be smashing squat PR's by spring .

on the hormone thing.....Im no doctor , but Im convinced that lifting raises test levels . thats what counts the most :wink:


eyes are goin' quick though !!


Wow--125 on the bench in starting weight--only just getting towards that now, i will be happy when i get to 60kg (1 big plate each side).


No accurate gauge of lean mass but I'm at 35 now, started back training about 2 years ago after doing a bit when I was a teenager.

So far this year I've put on half an inch on my arms and almost an inch on the legs and that's with training not being as consistent as I would like.

To be honest it seems easier now (still not 'easy') to put on size than it did when I was 20.


Been lifting for 27 years. Been stronger and been weaker over all those years as my training goals have changed. But I was always able (And still am) to progress toward whatever goal i was trying to achieve. I will be 48 in Sept...


Colin!! You're back! Where have you been, man?