T Nation

Reaching Limits at 51?


Hi All,

First time posting but have been lurking for a while.

I am 51 years old this year and I am lifting better now than when I started in my late 30s. I am at 192 and fairly big but really seem to be stuck at this.

I did have a breakthrough when I started use the Pulse, Mag-10, Brain Candy, Micro-PA and Indigo-3G for I would say 3 mos. My lifts especially chest went up by quite a bit and I could visually see the difference by want more.

Just wondering is this is it at my age and just focus on the getting lean and no more trying to build bulk. I eat so much and so often that my jaw hurts by the end of the day and I drink like two gallons of water a day. Anymore and I would need a hose connected to me.

I am not so interested in the numbers as much as packing on the muscle, bodybuilding, 4 plates are fine by me for most my lifts.

Those are the only sups I take, should I use others and is the only avenue left is steroids if I still want to go further.



Ok the problem is ??

Um ok? how tall are you? How long have you been stuck at 192?

Dont really care…but ok ,if you want to credit that for your new gains .

405? Maxes or for reps and which lifts ? Why do people think that having a high level of strength isnt beneficial in the long run for Hypertrophy?

Is your diet ,training and recovery in order for what you want to achieve? You understand supplements are meant to fill in the gaps. If the three items I mentioned arent in order no amount of supplements is going to make up for it.

Steroids? Better have the 3 things in order again… If you feel your Fairly big at 192 what do you feel you want to be at?

FYI… not really enough information to make a informative opinion regarding the question you pose in the tittle of this thread.

Do you think you have reached a limit?

  1. The problem goes back to that while it feels great to be pushing 360 on many of my lifts at 51 while the guys around me are half my age and can not, does not really seem to be helping me get bigger. Feeds the ego when the cardio/figure bunnies are looking but when you are the cute old guy who cares. Ha!

  2. I am 5’ 8’. I have been stuck at this 190 level for about a year now. I may go up and down a few pounds here or there through out the year cause of work issues.

  3. ok

  4. Not 405, 360 is max and I basically break up my workout to 4 days a week with one repeat day. On chest, with bench, than upper bench press, lower bench press, shoulder press and cable cross. On back it is lat pull down, weighted dips, pull ups (sometimes weighted), row, more dips (not weighted) cable cross (backwards). On leg day, leg press, leg curls, calf raises and leg extensions (all with machines). I would repeat one day each week to mix it up. I do 20 minutes of cardio 2 times a week with 2x5 all out sprints.

My routine for all these exercises are the same which to get bigger I try to do 24-25 reps usually 6x4 with one warmup set. On the last set I try and add 5lbs to the bar every week till I fail and than I will go back down to base level (I decide) and work back up.

Diet, I pretty much eating all day and the food would be a mix of 6 egg whites a day, 1 banana, 1 pint of cottage cheese, 1 whole chicken, 1 container of mixed greens, handful of almonds, sometimes avocado roll, 2 gallons of water, 2 servings of Mag-10 and than for dinner I may do a double chicken chiptole or my gf may make me more meat, broccoli and rice. May not be the best but I figure be honest here so I can get some real advice.

Sleep when I am not drinking much water is usually straight 8 but since upping my water, get up like 3 times a night.

Do I think I have reached my limit? I think if I could get bigger I could lift more so feel a bit like a chicken and egg thing for me right now. But since the number of plates are not key to me as I am not looking to be a powerlifter than I rather just get bigger. If only I could make the rest of my body pretty much be my shoulders. Of all my body parts, my shoulder are the biggest. It was the first guy who really started to get me to lift heavy would just focus everything on lifting with the shoulder blades. It is why I could take 80 lbs curl it between my legs and get up on the dip bar and pull put 6 reps.

I just sometimes see people getting all lean to the point of seeing bone but really no size or strength so not sure if maybe at this age now just go for lean which honestly was never my style.


No squats? Deadlifts? Or free weights of any kind?


You did say… so I assumed 405 I thought you ment 4 plates per side on a Bar my bad.

Um yeah… GOD knows that their arent any power lifters caring a large degree of muscle Hypertrophy.

I dont believe I mentioned Powerlifting… that the go to line for most when someone brings up the connection of getting stronger and of size gains.

Im talking about taking say someone whom can Bench 225 x 10 and getting them to the point of moving 315 x 10 . Trust me a person going to be a hell of allot bigger…Thats what im talking about not a 1 RM…

Do you mean 4 sets of 6? Either way way thats actually a pretty low rep range for Hypertrophy gains. Your rep is lower than most off season Raw Powerlifters I know. You might want to look into changing up the your rep range. You have obviously have plateaued in that range and are seeing diminished returns if you have been doing it for awhile.

I wouldnt call that eating all day myself…Your first step is to estimate your calorie intake. I dont advise Diet but I would suggest you should talk to @EyeDentist Besides the subject bores the hell out of me.

So no actual kind of squatting of any variation or any pulling variation? Also IMO a little over kill going on the pressing…


I think his pressing is free weight… But I also notice no pulling or squatting of any kind


I agree dieting is boring as shit and makes me tired but I also believe is probably the reason for most gains. Frankly though not sure I can eat much more than that. Maybe a different mix would help.

My rep of 24-25 actually came form an article on this site. I added my 5lb rule. I found when I first started this several years ago that it worked and worked well. But now I just can not seem to get those gains.

My goal is to finally hit 200.

Your points about squats and what used to be my favorite lift, the deadlift annoys me cause it reminds me that I can not do them any longer. Several years ago I had a freaky accident outside lifting that screwed up my L4-L5-S! and since that time I try and isolate my lower back.

I have on occasion tried using different types of bars and very low weight and it is pretty sore the next day. After what I went through to get fixed with PRP procedures I just do not want to go back there.

Can you make the gains without the squat and the deadlift. Seen lots of articles about that.


yep…time to change rep range.[quote=“gatorproud, post:7, topic:219128”]
Several years ago I had a freaky accident outside lifting that screwed up my L4-L5-S! and since that time I try and isolate my lower back.

Got yah… I can see where your coming from ,Tried any friendly variations ? Like a Trap bar? Id suggest maybe trying sled pulling if you access to one.


Yes my lifts are not machines except for the leg day but on chest and back day, no machines.


BTW I remember reading that 10 reps is kind of a dead zone. You either go low reps, high weight for size or you want lean you go 3 set 20 reps or if you want strength gains you do 5 sets 8 reps.

I was thinking of maybe adding to my last set to 8 reps and really push myself.


I tried a trap bar but than the knees gave me some aching. I was going to go back at that again. Which deadlift puts the least amount of strain on the lower back. Front?

A sled can rake the place of a deadlift or squat? Or is it you want a pulling/pushing exercise mixed in. I believe my gym has a sled. The sled you would consider a full body exercise?

What rep range would you try?



Firstly, I wouldn’t start to set limits on yourself just yet. We sometimes do that, I’m guilty of it too.

I 2nd the sled… here’s an article, I came across awhile ago,

I have iffy ribs and have to limit certain exercises. Also, if you have access to a prowler???

Do lots more searching on the articles, TNation has a number of them about bad backs & what alternative exercises you can do. It’s just a matter of finding a couple that works for you.


@minimaltechno article suggestion will help IMO .


Thank you both for the article.

Really looking forward to the sled. Maybe on the 4th day I could add these exercises instead of doing a repeat day.

I had done bulgarian splits in the past, is it a back or leg exercise. Or is it up to which group of muscles you engage more. Blades or legs?

Last found this article on dieting to get big.

What do you think?

I will change up the rep range to see if it will make a difference for sure too.



Best of luck brother…


Wanted to say thanks to everyone here for giving me some suggestions to my workout.

I did the following

a) Changed my traditional lifting rep range now to 5 x 8 with the first set being warmup of 10 reps. I also removed one exercise of lifting for the chest and back days and added a what I can only call crossfit type routine. Leg day we keep the same and add a crossfit exercise.

b) The crossfit type stuff I have been adding is tire flipping, sled, prowler, one arm dumbell deadlift and row machine. I do these after my traditional lifts. I than do usually 20 minutes of cardio with 2, 5 minute intervals.

The issue right now is that by the time I reach the crossfit stuff I am a bit tired and than the crossfit stuff murders me and I can really not do that much. I am wondering if I should change up and instead have a crossfit day as opposed to mixing in with the traditional lifts day.

I was going to start looking into the zone diet but my worry is that with my travel I just can not see how I can really keep it going time wise. I also wonder about water, meaning I drink plenty and always feel bloated. Does water really help metabolism as much as they say and how much is really needed.

Thanks for any and all thoughts.