T Nation

Over 50 Training and Strength Standards?


#1

I just wonder how many of you guys and gals are 50 and over and still train. I also would like to know what are the strength standards for my age group. I have been training since my teens. Thanks


#2

I turned 60 last December and still train regularly. I have trained off and on since I got a 110 pound weight set for my 12th birthday. I noticed a big difference around 53ish, that my joints couldn’t take heavy lifting even though the muscles could handle more, so I seldom do less than 12 reps now. Also I noticed in late 50’s recovery takes longer and I can’t handle as much volume. I focus on a lot of bodyweight stuff now (handstand push-ups, weighted pull-ups, weighted dips) with free weights as ‘assistance’ exercises and some machines where they allow more range of motion. Also a lot of stuff I injured or strained in my youth has come back to haunt me. An ACL tear at 30 that didn’t bother me for 25 years turned into arthritis in that knee and hip, so I do a lot of mobility stuff to keep those joints moving as much as possible. But, I will keep doing whatever I can until they close the box and start pushing dirt in.


#3

Will turn 53 next month. My strength has fallen off dramatically since my young-buck days. For many exercises, it’s not an exaggeration to say I now work out with weights I warmed-up with back in the day.

That said, there are some strong-as-hell 50+ lifters on TN, so obviously YMMV.


#4

53 in September. Haven’t competed in PL meet in over 2 years. Constantly training around old and recurring shoulder and hips issues. Plan on competing in Nov meet. I have to train smarter, not necessarily harder. I’m learning to auto-regulate more as opposed to reps x sets x weight. I may go a little harder when I feel better and may cut back a smidge when not feeling as well recovered.

Strength isn’t near what is was when younger but it is what it is. I just want to be stronger than yesterday. A guy from our gym hit a 320ish bench in a PL meet (bench only) in Late July/early Aug at 79 years old.

I will not go gentle into the good night.


#5

At 68 in October and a T-mag reader since '98
Never had any serious injuries, maybe I never tried hard enough or other aspects of life saved me from myself
but I also have nothing coming back to haunt me-yet.
I’ve managed to keep the same weight now for over 15 yrs, but have also gained real muscle, if not much, but at 24 Fatness, graybeards at the chinup bar that can knock out 15 or so are scarce… but so what,
so from what I’ve read learned here and as recently posted
it’s the failure to stay motivated that will assure you have planned to fail.

I built my own landmine, a slosh pipe and Trax like straps that hang from an old easy curl bar suspended from a patio beam
so “beating” up the old man is about as easy as walking out the front door . . .
but this hot weather has me swimming more . as a recovery factor, priceless.

don’t quit


#6

Turning 56 next month and still lift three times a week, plus early-morning walks with the wife. Gains are slower and recovery is longer, so I have to train smarter. I still managed to hit a long-time personal goal this month: a 405-pound deadlift. Yes, not a huge amount. Most high-school defensive linemen can beat that. But hopefully not bad for the gray-and-balding engineer crowd. If Dave Draper and Jack LaLanne can lift heavy in their 70s and beyond, so can I. Next goal is to press my body weight overhead (185 pounds).

As an aside, my group had a college engineering student who was interning with us over the summer. Turned out he was a lifter as well, and we trained together in the company weight room and pushed each other at each session. A good experience for all. If you get a chance, befriend a young whipper-snapper. Iron sharpens iron, after all.


#7

Hit 54 this summer and been training since i was 12 yrs old with the old hollow metal bars with the cement inside the plastic weights if anyone remembers those lol.

The only negatives I’ve noticed as I’ve gotten older aside from many injuries is that I don’t have the capacity for volume. I’ve always trained pretty heavy and intense going to failure or close to it most of time and just recently I find I can’t handle the amount of sets that I used to. Maybe it’s just coincidental since I’ve been slacking on my cardio and conditioning lately.

Strength levels stronger in many areas since my younger days and weaker in a few areas due to injuries. That being said strength was never one of my strong points. To give you an idea my flat bench has always teetered between 275-315 depending on my weight and dieting state. Squat has been maxed at 425x3 and same with my RDL’s until a recent sacroiliac/hip issue sidelined me. If it wasn’t for that injury my sights were set on hitting 455 this summer.

I’ll never quit pushing though especially being motivated by many guys over 50 especially on this site who can push some big weight. I’ve found that as I’ve gotten older hitting the iron benefits a lot more things that just your strength or physique. It teaches discipline, overcoming adversity, setting and achieving goals etc., etc., that actually carryover to other areas of your life.

I’m really inspired by guys like Wendler and his mental approach and perspective on training and pushing yourself and share a majority of the same viewpoints.


#8

Your strength standards should be whatever you can achieve. Check out hawkcapt1912’s blog (the guy who helped pull an airplane for charity) and other regular posters here who are real achievers in your age group. I’ve worked out for about 40 years, I’m over 65 now, and my strength in my 50s was as good as in my 40s. I still try to lift heavy at times; maintaining good mobility is becoming important; wife likes me better, too.


#9

I’m 52 this year and have a lot of the same experiences reported here. Over the last 2 years, some loss in strength and an overall loss in volume capacity. The strength loss was sudden, the capacity loss more gradual. Still able to hit it relatively hard, heavy, and brutal but my forearms and shoulders are now limiting factors with upper body (straps help the forearms but they still ache). I’ve always had above average legs and back, so they haven’t given out yet, but when I hit them hard, they hit back in ways I never noticed before (the effects linger for 3 or 4 days with little motivation to get back to the gym).

As far as standards go, fuk 'em unless you really need them. Train as hard and often as you can and your best performance is your standard.

Substituting some of Thib’s Growth Factor routines for my normal work has revitalized my training in an excruciatingly beneficial way, so you might want to check out those articles/post.

Also, Plasma has been a tremendous help. You definitely don’t need to use the humongous scoop they provide if you have a normal build. A tub (or bag nowadays) can last well over a month. Dosing Plasma before an important event, stressful situation, or after a late night of moderate drinking is also very helpful. I don’t know how I could train without it.


#10

This is Kilgore’s age norms based off of his and Rippetoe’s ubiquitous absolute body weight to strength standards. Some e-strong guys claim their too low but I think they’re very reasonable for guys who started late and missed their golden test level years and old guys like us who have lifted for so hard and for so long our body simply can’t do that anymore:

http://www.lonkilgore.com/freebies/squat_standards_pounds_small.pdf


#11

I just turned 51. Honestly I don’t feel much different in the weight room than I did 10 years ago - but then again, I’m on TRT with 100 mg of test a week. Although I like my physique, I’m hitting plateaus more often now, so bumping up the weights has been more of a challenge than before. No aches or pains. Quite the opposite, I can run up a flight of stairs with luggage in both hands.

One of the nice things about being this strong at 50+ is that there just aren’t that many others around you that do the same. You’re closer to the playing field of 30+ year olds than 50+ year olds.


#12

55 in 4 months, trained for power lifting throughout my 40s then had injuries.
Back to training about 2 months ago. Only my yard toys and some bar work in the garage, and sled dragging. Started deadlifting the other day and pulled a 305 on my first try. Now I’ve lost 25 pounds from my competition weight. I now weight 175. But I can smell competition again. I’m thinkin’ a 420 pull or so at Master 4, 181 weight class. sounds real nice.


#13

Link to Killustrated Weight Lifting Standards with age brackets for both men and women. PDF version of all the lifts. Thanks JRT6 for putting the Squat PDF up. I’d never seen these before.

http://lonkilgore.com/freebies/freebies.html

I was thinking I had zero hope of reaching Elite strength levels on my DL and Squat, but if I look at the over 40 age bracket, I might be more of a badass than I thought. Or at least I might not be as weak as I thought. :wink:


#14

[quote]JRT6 wrote:
This is Kilgore’s age norms based off of his and Rippetoe’s ubiquitous absolute body weight to strength standards. Some e-strong guys claim their too low but I think they’re very reasonable for guys who started late and missed their golden test level years and old guys like us who have lifted for so hard and for so long our body simply can’t do that anymore:

http://www.lonkilgore.com/freebies/squat_standards_pounds_small.pdf

[/quote]

Cool link, thank you. It’s nice to know what the standards are for different age groups.

I’m in my mid 40’s, and I have never really lifted for maxes, unfortunately. I wish I had, but now my window of opportunity is gone.

I lifted more for exercise and general strength levels. I like to work out each body part twice a week, and do a lot of volume. I haven’t noticed too much difference between now and when I was much younger, but I definitely do more now than I did decades ago. So there isn’t much of a reference. I’m used to the routine now so my body recovers pretty nicely.


#15

[quote]BigMan2004 wrote:
I’m in my mid 40’s, and I have never really lifted for maxes, unfortunately. I wish I had, but now my window of opportunity is gone.
[/quote]
Why?


#16

[quote]kpsnap wrote:

[quote]BigMan2004 wrote:
I’m in my mid 40’s, and I have never really lifted for maxes, unfortunately. I wish I had, but now my window of opportunity is gone.
[/quote]
Why?[/quote]

I don’t know, I figure I could have done those things when I was younger, but might not be a good idea to go for maxes at my age these days. I’m getting to the point I’ll have to think about quality of life in the future, and want to avoid injury if possible.


#17

I feel that once in a while we should try to test our max in the basic exercise s. This way we know where we are at and make adjustments. I presently use full body workouts and then switch to upper and lower body split.


#19

Thanks, great link. You can change the lift type(from squat to deadlift or bench) in the address bar to see the charts for each of those lifts! This has really boosted my confidence. I’m 54, and lift between the intermediatte and advanced for each lift. I know I can do better so have no reason to stop trying!


#20

Turning 58 next month still doing 100+ pushups each morning and some lightweight dumbell exercises. Hitting the weights 2-3 days a week. My bench has actually increased since high school to 265 and reping 225 for sets. The deadlift i never really got into for some reason, but last week upped my PR to 315 with a bodyweight of about 190. I’ve been lucky to have much younger lifting partners so the motivation is definitely a huge help. I’m Still an active volunteer firefighter (30+ years) and actually participated in a firefighter calendar at this age. lol Still rockin’ the 34 waist. Age is only a number.


#21

I think the weights in these tables decrease way too quickly in the age groups. According to the table for 50+ I’m elite on a few movements like Deadlift and Pull-ups but believe me, I’m way too wimpy to be elite on any lifts. Bell shaped curve or not, there’s got to be some consideration for the fact that most people just don’t try anymore.