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Thread: Age and powerlifting

  1. #1
    Super Moderator vdizenzo's Avatar
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    Age and powerlifting

    I'm curious to see what you all think on this. At what age do you think strength tops out? I'm not sure whether I'm still climbing up the hill or heading back down at 41.


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    Breaker of Skulls Guido's Avatar
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    I know of guys who are still getting stronger into their late 40's and even early 50's. I think it just depends on a lot of factors, though.
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    This is something I think about often.... To an extent, I would guess some of it depends on the individual. However, if RUM was any indication, there is much to look forward to! Look at Ricks and Conyers, these guys are in their 50's, putting up mind-boggling numbers. Personally, I feel I'm better at 35 than I was at 25, but some of that is probably heeding "lessons learned" over the years. I just hope to have the longevity of those guys. But to answer the question based on people I've known, for the normal lifter, I'm going to guess on average, the peak is somewhere between 40 and 45.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Guido View Post
    I know of guys who are still getting stronger into their late 40's and even early 50's. I think it just depends on a lot of factors, though.

    Agreed. Though it is possible to be very strong even past that.

    http://www.biggerfasterstronger.com/...g_IronGame.pdf

    According to the above link Karl Norberg was the oldest man to bench over 400 lbs. At age 74 he benched 465 with a narrow grip and legs held out in front of him. And reportedly according to another source he started training in later life.

    So if anyone can't do that but is close...maybe that's something to shoot for....not necessarily when they are 74 but within the next few years.

  5. #5
    THE 800 QUEST NickAus's Avatar
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    Seems to me 45 is about the peak, it would depend of course on many many factors.
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    Good points all. From a strictly hormonal standpoint testosterone production decreases very early. Somewhere in the 20's if I recall correctly. It takes years to build muscles up and master the techniques of the lift. Almost everyone who has trained for strength consistently has seen strength increases even as their testosterone production decreases. As said, it's likely highly individual. Strength is the last thing to go. Flexibility, speed, and recovery come first. Injury history is a big deal as well. Powerlifting is tough on the body; young and old. An older lifter usually has to deal with physical limitations that have accrued over many years. Also, the decreased flexibilty changes the ROM around the joint. This can affect power as well. If I could change one thing in my training past it would be to properly rest injuries rather than battle through them. I'm talking about true injuries, not minor aches and pains. One things for sure, the best way to get stronger is to move progressively heavier stuff.
    Last edited by john o; 12-08-2010 at 09:41 PM.

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    I think I can still get stronger, almost 42 now. Fighting injuries hampers us but I think we can keep getting stronger into our mid 40s or close to 50.
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    Senior Member Ryano's Avatar
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    I'm "bench only", but just hit an all time PR for me at WABDL Worlds. 755 at 55 years old, just missing 771. I'm sure that advances in gear is helping, but I still feel stronger than ever. I honestly don't know what my raw max is, but it's more than when I was in my 40's. While at WABDL Worlds, I talked to Randy Patterson. Randy was the first person over 50 to bench 700. Randy, in his 60's now, no longer lifts heavy or competes due to health reasons but said he hit his highest bench when he was 58. That's good news for me, as I continue the quest for 800+.

    I think the key is to listen to your body and train smart. Recovery is slower, rest more and ice more. I still train 4 days a week, two bench days, leg day, & back day. But the only real heavy lifting is on ME bench day. I'm sure that anyone lifting/training for full power will beat themselves up much more than I do. If I'm too sore from a previous workout, I'll either cut back volume or skip a workout all together. As others have said, I also think it's an individual thing.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Magilla's Avatar
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    I'm just a garage lifter with the occasional meet, but I didn't bench 400 till I was 40, I am 44 now and can hit 455 (raw). I think I am still getting stronger! Lotta that gain though is due to training smarter.

    One thing I have notice is after a heavy squat or deadlift day, it takes a while to recoup.
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    I'm no powerlifter and not anywhere near some of your guys' numbers, but I am 47 years old and still getting stronger. I think some of it has to do with how close you are to your potential, and like others mentioned, you have to train smarter.
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    I am a bench only guy who didn't do my first contest until I was 38. In 5 years I have put about 350 lb on my shirted bench and just hit a PR of 845. I have always felt that because I started competitively benching at a later age that my body was better prepared to handle the heavier weight. Like many masters lifters I had worked out for 20+ years before I started competing. So does the age when you start affect how you gain strength as you get older or is it just one of many contributing factors?

  12. #12
    Super Moderator vdizenzo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by j robinson View Post
    I am a bench only guy who didn't do my first contest until I was 38. In 5 years I have put about 350 lb on my shirted bench and just hit a PR of 845. I have always felt that because I started competitively benching at a later age that my body was better prepared to handle the heavier weight. Like many masters lifters I had worked out for 20+ years before I started competing. So does the age when you start affect how you gain strength as you get older or is it just one of many contributing factors?
    Wow, 845, that's great! Was that done in a meet and at what bodyweight?


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    It was done at the UPA Full Metal Mayhem on November 13 in Piedemont SC. I lifted in the SHW tested division and weighed in at a light 350. Probably my best day ever. I went 775-805-845. Robchris was my back spotter so I owe it all to him.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NickAus View Post
    Seems to me 45 is about the peak, it would depend of course on many many factors.
    Oh man, shoot, I turned 45 4 days ago, don't tell me it's all downhill now.

    Actually I think the turning point depends a lot on when you started strength training. I didn't get serious about it until 2 years or so ago, well and then not serious about strongman until June 2010, I know I've got a long ways to go before my strength levels peak. But it'd probably be quit a bit different if I had been doing strongman for 10 years already.

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    Skinny Feet Kiff's Avatar
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    I am only 19 but i hope i can reach some of the numbers in this post even if it takes me till i am 55

    Seems people are leaning towards starting later being a good thing? Do you think that is because you are less injured and have ruined your joints less or is it as OR suggested that you are going to be further off your genetic potential that you 'feel' you are doing great.

    If you had trained for years you may not be making the progress as well but do you think your numbers would be higher?
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    Vincent, I am turning 43 in January. Seems like PR's are alot harder to come by these days. I have wondered the same thing many times, if I have hit my peak and on a downward slide. I dont know about you, but for me, when I realize that downhill slide is here, I am probably done competing. I still lift in open class, and cant bring myself to check the box for the "Masters" division. lol. I have given myself an unofficial timetable to attain some goals, which is the age of 45. When that hits, it's time to sit down and make some decisions. Until then, it balls to the wall. I just have to figure out what my goals will be after competing, which will probably be dropping some pounds, focus more on mobility/flexibility, etc. I have a 6 year old boy that I need to turn in to a machine when he gets older. But I think if we can stay healthy, and injury free, the sky is the limit--Like Ryano . He is kicking ass well in to his 50's.


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    Senior Member jtteg_x's Avatar
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    One of my training partners is in his mid 50's and has been competing during his 20's. He was at his prime until he hit the age 50 barrier and started experiencing health issues (shoulder, heart, blood, just general health). He competed mainly as SHW and that plays a lot into. At 41, I truly believe you still have it in you (Dizenzo) because you train smart.

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    one of my training partners just turned 47. he continues to get stronger. at 179lbs bw i have seen him easily bench 420 raw. he is currently ranked #3 in multi ply bench at 181 and he will surpass that the next meet he does this winter.
    1813@181

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    Quote Originally Posted by barbell01 View Post
    one of my training partners just turned 47. he continues to get stronger. at 179lbs bw i have seen him easily bench 420 raw. he is currently ranked #3 in multi ply bench at 181 and he will surpass that the next meet he does this winter.
    i will also add that he has been competing for a very long time so its not just noob gains
    1813@181

  20. #20
    Senior Member UncleAl's Avatar
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    At 41, you're just a pup, Vince! We Italians don't peak out 'til we're in our 80's....Oh wait, that's sexually.

    As a general rule, I'd say late 40s. There are so many top rated lifters in their early to mid 40s, it's almost like guys under 45 should be in the open, rather than masters division. Of course, as Athos pointed out, there are also phenoms, like Conyers, Ricks, and Bridges, who are still among the best of the best into their 50's...and what about Gaynor, who at 64 pulled 680 (raw) in the 198s last June?!!!!
    Last edited by UncleAl; 12-09-2010 at 05:52 PM.
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    Well one of my training partners hit an all time PR in the deadlift at 61. He started lifting around 35 and has had a 7 years break in between. But when we started training togerther and trained for the same meets he started getting pretty good gains. He deadlifted 639 at the 09 WPC worlds at 215 lbs at 61 years old. He's as strong raw in bench now as ever and same with the squat.

  22. #22
    illinois fattest lifter theBarzeen's Avatar
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    At 26 I can't offer much here from personal experience.... but every week I watch Ernie Frantz still squatting around 500 at around 200lbs bodyweight in a loose suit...... literally he takes his suit off easier than I can get out of a pair of jeans..... the guy turned 76 this year. He always talks about how he did his best lifting in his late 50's....

    Have a few really strong guys on the team in their 50's ( one ~700lb squatter in his 60's)...... this has always seemed to me like a sport that you can do well in to the AARP years.......
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  23. #23
    A gallon a day, everyday! ThomasG's Avatar
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    Well I definitely don't recover like when I was 20. Being 21 now I really have to watch my volume and now when to shut it down.







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    I'll be 55 in less than a month and truely hope to make my best lifts after I recover from this partial shoulder replacement. I've lifted a lot of years since I was 14. I made my best meet lifts just a month or so short of 50 in 2005 in Finland. It was on openers of 804 - 600 - 600 for 2006 with the change. My best raw meet #s are all after 50. Squat 600 - bench 402 - total 1603 at 53 in 2009; and deadlift 600 at 52. All of my best gym lifts have been after 50 also. I know Brian Meeks hit his best lifts after 55 and even at 60 plus. I know because his are the records I chased for the last 10 years. Genetics is a factor but not mentally giving in to what the rest of the world is telling you is too old is a huge factor as well.
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    Senior Member Buccos1's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=UncleAl;2408549]At 41, you're just a pup, Vince! We Italians don't peak out 'til we're in our 80's....Oh wait, that's sexually.

    [QUOTE] That's funny

    I'm getting closer to 40 and am still getting stronger, despite a lot of nagging injuries. This is great reading about everyone in their 40s/50s still adding to their totals and getting stronger!
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