T Nation

Oly Lifters Peak in Their 30's?

I’ve heard and read that superheavy-class Oly lifters often ‘peak’ in their 30s.

Being in my late 20s, I’m genuinely curious about the logic behind this statement. Is it something physiological, or does it simply represent time under the bar for those who started early???

This is true for most sports with the exception of gymnastics and stuff.

I don’t think that’s true. Here in Australia, for example, the playing career of an Australian Rules Football athlete is pretty much over when he turns 32-33.

Very few Olympic lifters make Worlds at 30yrs+ and even less win a medal 30yrs+ btw. So this imo would NOT be true.

Peaking is relative. If you trained since you were 10-12 you would peak by the time your in your 22-25 or thereabouts +/1 2yrs. Why? You have smashed your body to pieces with all of the training for a solid 15yrs. If you started later you would peak later but ‘theoritically’ if you started younger you could have reached a higher peak.

The supers aren’t fast fast as the smaller guys and they have no weight restrictions, so they just get massive.

When was the last super in his 30’s to win or medal? The % is probably a lot less Supers in the 30+ that medal then the guys in their 20’s.

There are ALWAYS exceptions though. The Silver Medalist on the Rings was 36! The Floor winner was 29! BUT the Rings specialist guys are older in general as it takes time to get strong. BUT these guys have dropped down to being specialist and aren’t All Rounders anymore so they train differently and their bodies aren’t beat up from everybody.

Koing

Koing – that was my reckoning too. Just some nice folk blowing smoke up my bum, I guess :smiley:

Still, there’s always Masters.

[quote]el_presidente wrote:
Koing – that was my reckoning too. Just some nice folk blowing smoke up my bum, I guess :smiley:

Still, there’s always Masters.[/quote]

Well who’s to say you can’t make a Worlds? One thing to make it and another to win a medal! Just look at the qualifying standards for the Worlds, or your local Pan-Am or Euro, etc. They are pretty savage totals for your given weight class mate.

Koing

Last SHW to medal in their 30s: Chigishev is 30. Scerbahtis is 35. Salem Jaber Saeed is 34. Tesovic won 105kg European gold at 33. So I’d say there is something to the idea that the heavier classes peak later - after all it takes time to get to that size.

Some years ago while looking at statistics for world class weightlifters from the 1980s, I thought I saw an almost direct relationship between age and weight class, with the top lifters in the lightest classes being around 20 years old, and those in the superheavies being around 30.

It surprised me a bit at first, but seemed to make sense: a 52-56 kg lifter would have finished growing and filling out before a superheavy. And those in the upper weight classes also have more room to play with in terms of adding muscle mass etc.

However, I just took a look at the rankings for 2006, 2007, 2008 at www.iwf.net, and it turns out that the superheavies generally don’t peak at 30-32. Most are younger than that.

There does, however, seem to be a correlation between age and peaking or longevity. In 2007, four of the world’s top ten spots among the superheavies were taken by guys 30 years or older (Scerbathis, Jaber, Najdek, and Kleszcs) (there was a tie for third place, so you could say four of the top eleven were 30 or older.

A quick look at the lightest weight classes suggests that it is very rare to see anyone of that age among the top ten.

So it might be more accurate to say that super heavies have more longevity and/or peak in the mid to late 1980s. Someone could crunch the numbers and figure it out without too much work.

Good catch by the OP, though.

Top 10 isn’t that good a statistic imo. What about the top 20-50? The top 100 would be a more accurate reading…

looks like I’m going to run some stats to see if I can…btw WTF doesn’t the www.iwf.net have their results in a spreadsheet?! Hacking up the copy and paste, excel and unix to get some statistics…so far…

2006:

123 guys ranked
102 guys are younger then 31 : born after 1978 or equal
21 guys are older then 31 : born before 1978
82.9% of guys are younger then 31 in te top 123 guys ranked in 2006
17.1% of guys are older then 31.

6/10 guys are over 30

Onwards with 2007

5/10 guys are over 30

2008
2/10 guys are over 30

Perhaps improvements in training and supplementation mean that weightlifters are moving up classes faster than ever before? That would explain the decline in 30+ world-ranked lifters.

As for competing, I’ve got a long road to tread. This has been a year of repeated bad luck injury-wise.

[quote]el_presidente wrote:
Perhaps improvements in training and supplementation mean that weightlifters are moving up classes faster than ever before? That would explain the decline in 30+ world-ranked lifters.

As for competing, I’ve got a long road to tread. This has been a year of repeated bad luck injury-wise.[/quote]

By the way the statistics are for the 105kg+ weight class. These lifters don’t go anywhere but they retire out? Or that the 105 guys move up to the 105+? Either way theres been a 3yr decline in 30yrs+ lifters from 2006-2008 but we had say a 10-15-20yr list that would be better, but f0ck doing all of that work from a non excel spread sheet format already! It’s a pain in the ass to strip out the DOB from a html table…

Top 10 isn’t that good a statistic imo. What about the top 20-50? The top 100 would be a more accurate reading…

looks like I’m going to run some stats to see if I can…btw WTF doesn’t the www.iwf.net have their results in a spreadsheet?! Hacking up the copy and paste, excel and unix to get some statistics…so far…

2006:
123 guys ranked
102 guys are younger then 30
21 guys are older then 30
82.9% of guys are younger then 30 in te top 123 guys ranked in 2006
17.1% of guys are older then 3.

6/10 guys are over 30

Onwards with 2007
110 guys ranked
86 guys are younger then 31
24 guys are older th en 31
2 guys are apprently f0cking old…1900 DOB! These guys were ommited from the data set
78.1% of guys are younger then 31 in the top 110 guys ranked in 2007
21.8% of guys are older then 31

5/10 guys are over 30

2008
2/10 guys are over 30

94 guys ranked
80 guys are younger then 30 in the top 94 guys ranked in 2008
14 guys are older then 30
2 guys were borni n 1900 and 1918 which I have ommited from the 94 guys

I’ve read that strength peaks at about 25, but I’ve heard time and time again from people that “you are strongest in your 30’s” but that is all anecdotal and I’ve never read and studies on the subject. I would argue that in the past the best lifters were often older than they are now because of more practice. Now, the methods of training and how the programs are set up kids are getting far more, and better, practice than in the past.

Back in the day although kids played sports it wasn’t as competitive or “serious”, now kids sports are far more competitive and “serious” (e.g. scholarships, high paying careers, fame etc.) so the amount of practice is increasing. I would predict that in most sports the age that you become pro will continually decrease (obviously to a point, it won’t decrease forever) because of increasing knowledge and sophistication of how to become better at the sport in question.

Koing wrote:
el_presidente wrote:
Perhaps improvements in training and supplementation mean that weightlifters are moving up classes faster than ever before? That would explain the decline in 30+ world-ranked lifters.

As for competing, I’ve got a long road to tread. This has been a year of repeated bad luck injury-wise.

By the way the statistics are for the 105kg+ weight class. These lifters don’t go anywhere but they retire out? Or that the 105 guys move up to the 105+? Either way theres been a 3yr decline in 30yrs+ lifters from 2006-2008 but we had say a 10-15-20yr list that would be better, but f0ck doing all of that work from a non excel spread sheet format already! It’s a pain in the ass to strip out the DOB from a html table…

Top 10 isn’t that good a statistic imo. What about the top 20-50? The top 100 would be a more accurate reading…

looks like I’m going to run some stats to see if I can…btw WTF doesn’t the www.iwf.net have their results in a spreadsheet?! Hacking up the copy and paste, excel and unix to get some statistics…so far…

2006:
123 guys ranked
102 guys are younger then 30
21 guys are older then 30
82.9% of guys are younger then 30 in te top 123 guys ranked in 2006
17.1% of guys are older then 3.

6/10 guys are over 30 in the top 10

Onwards with 2007
110 guys ranked
86 guys are younger then 31
24 guys are older th en 31
2 guys are apprently f0cking old…1900 DOB! These guys were ommited from the data set
78.1% of guys are younger then 31 in the top 110 guys ranked in 2007
21.8% of guys are older then 31

5/10 guys are over 30 in the top 10

2008
2/10 guys are over 30 in the top 10

94 guys ranked
80 guys are younger then 30 in the top 94 guys ranked in 2008
14 guys are older then 30
2 guys were borni n 1900 and 1918 which I have ommited from the 94 guys

[quote]Louchuck wrote:
I’ve read that strength peaks at about 25, but I’ve heard time and time again from people that “you are strongest in your 30’s” but that is all anecdotal and I’ve never read and studies on the subject. I would argue that in the past the best lifters were often older than they are now because of more practice. Now, the methods of training and how the programs are set up kids are getting far more, and better, practice than in the past.

Back in the day although kids played sports it wasn’t as competitive or “serious”, now kids sports are far more competitive and “serious” (e.g. scholarships, high paying careers, fame etc.) so the amount of practice is increasing. I would predict that in most sports the age that you become pro will continually decrease (obviously to a point, it won’t decrease forever) because of increasing knowledge and sophistication of how to become better at the sport in question. [/quote]

You can get strength gains in to your 30’s

BUT

You also start losing your speed at around 30-33 which is a problem in the world of WeightLifting :stuck_out_tongue:

You don’t tend to find older sprinters in their 30-33+ but this could be them just blowing up through training from 12-30.

PL can get PB’s in to their 30-33+ but I’m not sure if you get a lot of PL starting seriously from 12yrs onwards?

But yeah there is a lot of variables in here we’d have to have a big spreadsheet with lots of years…

Koing

It depends on the training. If you are 32 years old and find a new way to increase the stress of training, then you should adapt and improve.
Elite lifters may start training as young as 9 and exhaust every method of training within 12-15 years thus their results will stall.

Also we must consider that lifters are accelerating their maturity by taking anabolic steroids thus peaking far earlier than natural.
Linford christie for example only took up athletics at 19 and he only started winning medals & running competitive times in his 30’s. I also read that there is no physiological reason for speed to decline before the age of 35.
So it really comes down to making your body adapt to higher & higher stresses.

aslambek ediev, PR’ed his lifts at age 37.

Also a Ukrainian lifting in the 105s named Igor Razoronov seemend to get better as he got older (to a curtain point) in 1996 he was an alternate in the 99 class, 4 years latter at the age of 30 he got 4th place in the 105 class, then 4 years latter in the 105 class at the age of 34 he won the silver medal. He then competed in 2008 at the age of 38 and got 6th (although he was caught for steroids).

So other then the steroids (which most top 10 weightlifters are taking imo) he got better and better till 35ish.

There are always exceptions in everything. But I think these guys are just that, they are exceptions, it doesnt’ mean ‘we’ as we get older can’t get PB’s past 32 as I bloody well f0cking hope so! But had I been training for 15yrs by the time I’m only 28 or so it would be a lot harder to PB past 30. Maybe you lose your hunger after 15-20yrs on the International circuit?

Yeah I saw aslambek ediev, sick man sick!

Koing

Most people can get stronger in their 40’ies as well. There’s lots of examples of that. In powerlifting that even happens sometimes to elite lifters. For a person with more “normal” strength it’s obviously a lot easier.