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Wednesday, September 5. 2018
Yes, to a degree, but it's an uphill battle. Sarcopenia is an effect of ageing. Combined with a non-vigorous life, muscle and bone loss is natural decline.
Over 50 or 60, many trainers would make a goal of simply maintaining what you have, but more aggressive trainers like to find out how far "mature" individuals can take their strength efforts.
As with all aspects of fitness, "use it or lose it" applies. I would be in the category of those who advise people not to give up on strength-building in later adulthood. Advancement is much slower than when 30, and you will not build much visible muscle, but you can be stronger anyway.
The trick is heavy weights and low reps (ie 8 or less). We're talking men and women. High reps are better than doing nothing, but they are not strength-building.
One piece of advice: Over 50 or 60, two days/week of powerlifting is enough.
Getting older doesn't mean giving up muscle strength. Not only can adults fight the battle of strength and muscle loss that comes with age, but the Golden Years can be a time to get stronger, say experts at the University of Michigan Health System
Simple test asked 50 to 80-year-olds to sit on the floor and stand up with as little support as possible
Building Stronger Bones
Can You Regain Muscle Mass After Age 60?
Weight training is the only type of exercise that can substantially slow, and even reverse, the declines in muscle mass, bone density, and strength that were once considered inevitable consequences of aging.
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In general I agree but feel that a word of caution must be said about the statement, "The trick is heavy weights and low reps (ie 8 or less). We're talking men and women. High reps are better than doing nothing, but they are not strength-building." This is fine for folks who can afford a personal trainer or have a workout buddy who can assist/check form. When you cannot afford that and/or your schedule doesn't allow for a workout buddy, I do not think working at a maximum lift is safe by yourself. Once you are hurt, you aren't working out again for awhile and it is difficult for the average person to keep working out or resume working out after injury. You can build strength by lifting heavy weights that are not your maximum. The general rule is that your muscles should be worked to exhaustion after your sets. By all means lift heavy, but lift safely. If this means you have to use a lighter weight and do 3 sets of 15 that is fine as long as you have muscle fatigue. You can and do build strength this way. The key is recognizing when you need to up the weight to keep building muscle, which is identified by not reaching muscle exhaustion after your sets.
I'm 64 and I lift 3 times a week. It's been great for my general fitness and health.
I recently purchased "The Barbell Prescription" book by Jonathon Sullivan and Andy Baker. This book is written for lifters 40 years and older. Worth a look for older folks looking to increase strength and fight the demons of age. There's also a Kindle version if you prefer that.
"The worst advice an older person ever gets is, take it easy. Easy makes you soft, and soft makes you dead."
Jonathon Sullivan also has a YouTube channel. More good info there.
Well, the post said "heavy weights", not "maximum weights".
The general rule about working your muscles to exhaustion for building strength is wrong and is clearly unsafe. When do you think it is most likely you will have a form breakdown that can cause an injury? When your muscles are exhausted, of course.
Any weight you can lift 15 times or more is by definition not heavy. You therefore cannot get stronger by lifting weights you can do for that many reps. Build endurance, sure, and a bit of hypertrophy, but not strength, which is the real goal. Weights you can do for three to five sets of five (with adequate rest between sets) seem to be the sweet spot for building strength.
Performing squats and bench presses in a proper rack with safeties eliminates pretty much all chance of injury while you are lifting alone (assuming your form is good). There is no safe way (or need, really) to spot deadlifts or overhead presses, so a workout buddy is not needed for those either (except for guidance and encouragement, of course).
The best resource, bar none, for the, ah, seasoned athlete, is The Barbell Prescription: Strength Training for Life After 40. Buy it, read it, learn it, live it. [url]https://www.amazon.com/Barbell-Prescription-Strength-Training-After/dp/0982522770/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1536176435&sr=8-1&keywords=the+barbell+prescription+strength+training+after+40&dpID=51qv4Df6h2L&preST=SX258_BO1,204,203,200_QL70&dpSrc=srch[/url]
"The Barbell Prescription" is a great book--recommended to me by my trainer. I'm 70 and noticeably stronger and more flexible after 3 months with a personal trainer...he knew when to push and when to go easy. Worst day/best day was when he introduced the Turkish Get-up...and I could do it.
You do the same, RJP.
I concur on the sets of 5. I'm currently doing three sets of five three days a week. Squats on day one - a rest day - bench presses on day two - another rest day - deadlifts on day three. Then two rest days and begin again.
I noticed that we posted at exactly the same time. Great minds think alike ... yeah, I'm gonna' go with that. HAHA!
BTW, Dr. Bliss, I wanted to say this is a good and important post and I hope the older folks out there take your advice to heart.
That 'great minds think alike' phrase was the first thing I thought of when I saw your post. lol
Sounds like you've got a pretty good program there. As you know, the Barbell Prescription has several program templates if you feel like experimenting. I'm doing one of the HLM (Heavy-Light-Medium) programs described there and it's working out quite well. I typically take two days rest between workouts, sometimes getting a HIIT session on the rowing machine on an off day. Do you do any overhead pressing to balance out the bench?
1. Weightlifting halted my "middle aged" spread in my 40s. I gained it all back and then some when i stopped. This is a major health issue for 50 plus popluation and an important reason to include strength work.
2. A poster above contrasts strength and hypertrophy as fitness goals. Remember that from your 30s on you are losing muscle and bone mass. This is what causes the frailty and cascading injuries and infirmities of old age. So just holding on to muscle mass is a valid goal.
3. Most track and field athletes train to 1-2 times bodyweight in major moves. Coach Dan John repeatedly mentions this as a basic strength standard for non athletes. This is acheivable by most people into their 60s at least. It's important not to get caught up in the numbers game of powerlifting/weightlifting - focus on training without injury-causing heroics to a reasonable FUNCTIONAL standard. In this context "Lifting bodyweight" means unassisted pullups and dips rather than bench-press bragging.
I'm 61 and have been doing six upper body cable machines at the local rec center for five months now, two sets twice/week. My chest and arms are noticeably larger. I know because friends and family have noticed and commented. I started in the 100lb range and am now in the 150lb range for most of them. I'm very happy with the ease I can do stuff around the house vs. before weights. And a nagging shoulder pain from a fall I took 25 years ago has almost completely disappeared.
I bike 3x/week too, including three, 45 second HIIT hills that get my heart pumping fast.
Y'all. This man is 70 in these photos:
So, women over 50 should "do" Bird Dog.
He'll be thrilled.....until Mrs. BD finds out.
I'm not doing any overhead barbell presses now. Dumbbell presses some times. I did Stronglifts for awhile and it has rows and overhead presses along with bench presses. Need to add presses to the routine.