T Nation

Long Term Lifting

As I get stronger and more muscular, my dad (who is also quite strong himself) keeps telling me that i should research the effect of heavy lifting over periods of decades. He thinks that if I'm lifting weights for the rest of my life, by the time i turn his age I'll be decrepid and have extreme joint pain, and basicallybe bashed to all hell. My opinions is that yes, this will happen if im 45 and lifting like a 20 year old, but training smart and listening to your body can actually produce the opposite results.

are there any mature lifters out there who have an input? how do you feel nowadays compared to an average person? is there a day that goes by where you aren’t sore? or does this lifestyle tend to make you burn bright and fast.

I don’t qualify as “long term lifter” with any consistency, but I am of the opinion that “todays lifter” is much more cognizant of the “overall science” of doing what we do.

With quality nutrition and a exercise regimen that includes stretching and those kinds of workouts that address connective tissues and joint motion we’re far better off than guys of many years ago.

As someone who got back into this 6 months ago, I can say that my bum knee and bum shoulder are FAR better now than they were a year ago. I can only assume that it’s because I know how to care for those areas, eat well, and supplement with foods and supps high in essential oils. I couldn’t walk up a flight of steps with a laptop in my hands without my knee popping like a bag of twigs, now I can do it with an 80 pound back of softener salt with nary a peep from that knee.

I suppose only time will tell, but I think that we’re far better off lifting hard as long as we make sure the other parts of the house are in order… as opposed to the alternative of allowing our “age” to dictate our activity and physique…


Probably an individual thing, but I have been lifting for 34 years. I am 51 years old and much I feel great most of the time. My peak lifting years were during my mid-thirties and I am off those numbers a bit, but nothing drastic.

At 45 I could traing as I did when I was 20 with slightly more warm-up.

I can assure you, I feel better than 99% of people my age and look better than 99.9%. Lift smart, use good form and you’ll be fine IMO.

I’m 46. I was not serious about lifting when I was younger. However, I’ve been pretty serious the past 10 years or so.

I’m in much better shape now than I was in my mid-30’s. I expect to continue to be in better shape than other people my age for the rest of my life and I expect to be lifting the rest of my life.

The fear that working hard will leave you an invalid is… well… invalid. People become decrepit because they AREN’T using their bodies.

I’ve been to powerlifting meets with people up into their 70’s who are lifting and staying strong. Those people are in much better shape than people who haven’t been lifting. On this board, Old Navy is in his mid-60’s (iirc) and he’s in pretty damn good shape. He doesn’t appear to have any problems moving.

53, lifted a lot when I was youger, took several forced years off due to injuries, not from lifting, started back about three years ago. Compete in Master’s Track and Field where I’m in the youngest group sometimes. Almost all the athletes do some type of lifting and they are in super shape. As long you’re smart about your lifting there’s no reason it will be anything but beneficial. How do I feel compared to an average person? Pretty damn good I’d say.

Not to hijack your thread, but…Hey Johnny-longtorso, thought we’d lost you. How you been?

Edit: Forget the hijack. Saw Johnny’s post after this.

I’m not sure where ‘heavy’ lifting starts, but I’m 55 and lift substantially more than most gym goers, although it’s not much by powerlifting standards. No problems. Feel great, in fact I feel better and healthier than most adults 20 years younger than me. I do think sleep, good nutrition and adequate allowance for recovery are important, as well as a balanced program. I am personally convinced that continued lifting helps keep you healthy. I’m not a trainer so I don’t have the benefit of seeing how heavy training works over a long period of time over a large population, but it has been nothing but good for me.

I can also tell you that my dad still lifts, and he’s in his mid-70’s. Regular lifting is part of the reason he still skis and plays competitive tennis.


Since I train at soccer mom central, like Old_lifter, I lift more volume than my fellow gym members, but very little by my old college weightlifting days.

I saw a doc speak at a CEO meeting. Basically he said you could lift “heavy” at any age. Our muscles retain elasticity. He had numerous examples of folks in their 70’s and 80’s in his pain clinic, who started to strength train and were able to stop using walkers. Hell he was 73 and lifted 3 times a week with a pretty aggressive training schedule.

So at 47, I am trying to work back to lifting like a young’un again.

It’s simple… is “lifting heavy” destroying your body now? If it is, that won’t get better as you get older.

If your “heavy lifting” isn’t causing injuries now, then there’s no inherent reason to believe it will do so later.

The next time someone tells you that lifting is harmful, remind them to “use it or lose it.”

Using your muscles and joints keeps them healthy. It’s doing nothing that destroys them.

You can do it. I am 59 and I lift better that 95% of the people at my gym regardless of size. My gym lifts are right now similar to what I did in my one and only powerlifting meet 28 years ago, although admittedly I am 20 pounds heavier now.

You are right, you can’t lift like you are 20 anymore. I think I’m smarter about what I do. Eat well, warm up thoroughly, lift smart, listen to your body and adjust accordingly.

We are the only ones living life the right way. Lifting weights is the ticket to a long healthy and productive life. Our bones are far stronger, our posture is great, our energy levels are high, we look fucking great, we fell fantastic, we can do pretty much anything we want to and no one messes with us. Sounds like a win, win to me.

I lifted like a twenty year old when I was twenty. Now I lift like a twenty year old with the brains and wisdom of a fifty year old. Who said you can’t have your cake and eat it to.


Your Dad sounds like he is a sharp guy and that he loves his son. You should consider yourself a lucky man. Be sure to make the most of that relationship. And be sure to pass it on to your children. Its more important than most of what is discussed on this board.
That said, your father needs to do some research himself.
If he’s computer literate have him do some research on


A good place to start would be to do a google search for the article:
“Fighting Age with Muscle” by John Brant
that should open his eyes and help get his ass into the gym. Just by age he needs it more than you do. Unless he’s one of the few left who actually do physical labor for a living.


he grew up on a farm and did construction then electrician

now he still does physical labour, but not as intensive as before.

i sent him this thread and ill keep him informed of what im doing. he really enjoys hearing about how im getting stronger and wants some tips now about how to fight joint pain and stuff.

his right knee hurts alot going down stairs around the patella, he wants to know some ways to fix it. i figure deep full range bodyweight squats, some vmo band stuff from elite fts, jefferson step ups, and more fish oil.