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Strength Training For Older Adults

“I did a bulk last year. Even though it was fairly clean, it put WAY too much fat on me. I’m not trying to lose fat, but don’t want to put on anymore than I have to. I realize I will gain some fat during a bulk, but want to keep it low.
I certainly do not consider myself overweight. Being 6’4″ I should probably weigh in the 200 lb range, but my metabolism does not allow that. Will be happy if at the end of this bulk I am back at 195 again. But hopefully will be keeping it off my gut.
I think age has a lot to do with it. I never had to worry about being overweight, but now that I’ve turned 40, I know my metabolism is going to slow down. Have you done an article on changes in training/diet due to age? I’d certainly read it.”
Posted by LeanTXMuscle
Strength Training For Older Adults

Older Adults.
I don’t consider LeanTXMuscle an older adult. 40 is young to me. Even 55 is young when I hear what some do at that age. Pic above: Darrell Gallenberger doing a 402lb Deadlift at age 72.
I agree getting older doesn’t make things easier. However strength training, building muscle & losing fat is never easy, whatever your age.

Changes of Age.
The average adult becomes sedentary as he gets older. This has several implications:
  • Loss of Muscle Mass. Caused by sedentary lifestyle & sarcopenia.
  • Loss of Performance. 15% loss of strength, speed & power per decade if you’re inactive. Caused by loss of muscle mass & sedentary lifestyle.
  • Reduced Flexibility. Cause: loss of performance & sedentary lifestyle.
  • Increased Body Fat. Move less, eat less. 2.5-3% increase in body fat per decade if you don’t.
  • Loss of Balance. Caused by loss of muscle mass.

Strength Training: The Fountain of Youth.
Sperwer mentioned this some months ago with his story of how he built muscle at age 55. Strength training is the fountain of youth, benefits:
  • Builds Muscle. Strength training builds muscle. It reduces the muscle loss of 15% per decade to 5%, even in the 60-90y old range.
  • Trains Balance. Crucial for safety in older adults. Free weight barbell exercises like Squats develop and maintain balance & coordination.
  • Increases Flexibility. Ebsfwan shared on Forum how he can comfortably touch his toes since he started the Beginner Strength Training Program. Something he hadn’t been able to do since 15 years.
  • Fights Osteoarthritis. My mother (48) will get surgery for a teared meniscus caused by degeneration of her knee joint. Strengthening muscles around joints improves their function. In her case: Squats.

Coping with Life’s Challenges.
Nothing will prevent you to build muscle, lose fat & get stronger except your attitude about training & age. It’s never easy. Any age has its own challenges to cope with. Examples:
  • 15-20. Money & lifestyle are often problems. You don’t work, you’re a student. You need money for the protein. Lots of parties & alcohol.
  • 20-30. Career, business, relationships, buying a house. Responsibilities more important than strength training & which need your attention.
  • 30-50. Bringing your kids to school, spending time with your family, etc. I heard the “wait until you have kids” a lot.
  • 50+. The changes of age we discussed above.


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