T Nation

Is It True That Powerlifters Reach Their Prime at Age 40?


#1

Is it true that powerlifters reach their prime at age 40?

A long time ago, I used to workout at this Gold’s Gym. There was a tall and muscular guy with a 600-pound raw deadlift. I once asked him for advice with training and he said two things.

Number one: Stay injury free.

Number two: You reach your prime at 40.

Is this true? It’s too late for me to aspire a gold medal in weightlifting. But perhaps there’s hope for me in breaking some sort of state record with powerlifting. My body is built to deadlift a ton of weight. I used to deadlift 455 pounds at age 17.


#2

Their have been some world records set by guys over 40. I believe fred Hatfield set world record squat at 43 , 1003. Brad Gillingham i think pulls 880 at 45.Sam rhino Efferdine sets raw total record 43 i may stand corrected.
My weightlifting coach started powerlifting at 40 after his joints and mobility were to bad for weightlifting, goes like 640, 379,640 at 187 when he was 62.
Any thing is possible. The truth is if you elite lifter at 25, your joints will probably be hurting at 40 . With the new equipment and traing styles, drugs you are going to see a lot more over 40 world records
Just take your friends advice stay injury free.


#3

I have heard the same. At around 35 I think most people are in their prime !


#4

It varies from person to person. Dave Ricks broke the IPF open squat record at 57 years old, Jesse Norris just barely beat him for first place at USAPL nationals. The 93kg and 105kg IPF raw open bench records are both held by men over 50 years old - Dennis Cieri and Leon Brown. Don’t let age be an excuse to get lazy.


#5

My understanding is that your fastest gains will especially be in your teens and your early-mid twenties. Then gains start to slow down and you have to be more careful with diet, training economy, recovery tactics, and conditioning.

But you still make gains through the 30’s so the accumulation of all that work peaks in the mid 30’s through the low 40’s if you take care of yourself.

Now in a sport that requires great speed and reflexes like Olympic lifting, people tend to peak in their 20’s. Speed, balance, and coordination peak in the 20’s.

Whereas in powerlifting, there are many other qualities to being good at the powerlifts that continue to develop through the 30’s and 40’s.

I just recently turned 30 and I feel the fittest and am the strongest and most well balanced in a general athletic way than I ever have.

I plan on taking good care of myself so that I continue to be able to pick up heavy stuff even into the twilight years God willing.


#6

We haven’t defined “prime.” Do we mean “strongest” or “easiest to get strong”?

I have to ask because I can push or pull as much weight in my 40s as I could in my 30s, but I need to rest longer between sets at heavy reps than before and I need more rest days between muscle groups. So I agree that progress slows, but that doesn’t mean you have give up on goals.


#7

Tell me more about this person please !


#8

I think it depends on the individual. Certainly you can make significant progress in your 30s and 40s, but I think you need to get more right to do this than in your 20s because your body is that much more used. If you’ve built up chronic injuries leading up to that age, obviously they will have an impact.

I think the key is how you approach things mentally. If you’re consistent, sensible, open minded and willing to experiment and try different methods to find what is optimal for you, you’ll do fine. If you aren’t consistent, you’re done at any age. Likewise, if you’re close-minded and arbitrarily reject methods or ideas because they don’t fit your view of what training/competing should be, you may also find yourself struggling.


#9

Which one? Look them up on YouTube and Facebook. Also, check masters records (equipped is also worth checking, a lot of older guys started lifting equipped and still do) and compare them to open records to see which other old guys are moving some big weights.


#10

It also depends when you actually get into powerlifting. I was talking to a Polish guy a while back, there is a Polish bench-only lifter named Mariusz (can’t remember his last name and no, it’s not Pudzianowski) who has a bunch of IPF masters medals and records. He only started lifting at 40 years old.