Lifting weights should be something everyone does, regardless of their age. However, how much and how often you age is linked with how old you are. Find out how to lift according to your age.
It is no secret that the older a person gets, the less athletic, strong, and flexible that person is. Of course, there are a few outliers in the world. An 80-year-old woman can possibly lift a heavier deadlift than a 40-year-old man. Yes, that is possible. But in general terms, the older you get, the lesser your performance gets.
Do you know how you should lift according to your age? Dr Mike Israetel has a few key points to elucidate you.
Dr Mike Israetel, PhD in Sport Physiology and co-founder of Renaissance Periodization, is a well-respected professor in the bodybuilding community. He doesn’t only talk about workouts and fitness tips, he often dives deep into health and nutrition.
Check out what he had to say below.
How to Lift According to Your Age
Below you will find how Israetel divided a few age categories and how people should lift accordingly.
15-30 years old
This is your prime years, when you have the best response to training for size, strength and mobility. There aren’t many huge differences in hypertrophy if you are 15 or if you are 30 years old.
- Quick recovery from joint stress
- Uncomplicated recovery from injury
- Don’t worry about specialising one muscle group over the other, train as hard to get as strong and big as you want or can
30-40 years old
No longer in your prime years, you can still get a good response from your body to strength training. However, as you get closer to 40 years old, you will notice how your body lowers the amount of muscle it can gain.
- Decent recovery from joint stress
- Decent recovery from injury, but can be lengthy and might not always be complete
- If you started lifting in the 15-30 years range, it is between the 30 and 40 years old that you will peak physically
- Begin focusing on details of physique and strength development
40-60 years old
You already reached your peak ealier in performance and strength. There is also a big difference within this range – between 40-50 are much more robust gains and muscle maintenance compared to 50-60 years old.
If you start lifting at this age, you will see a lot of differences, though. If you began lifting in the 30-40 years old, you will peak around this time.
- Much longer recovery from joint stress
- Less frequent heavy sessions
- 10-30 reps sessions more frequent
- Potentially complicated recovery from injury – avoid injury to be able to continue training consistently
If you began lifting at 15-30 years old and were serious about it, you will be able to reduce size and strength slowly instead of rapidly with ageing.
60+ years old
As expected, the older you get the harder it gets to maintain muscle or even gain anything new. If you start lifting at this time, you will see very little difference.
- Heavy sessions have to be way less frequent
- Lighter sessions with 10-30 reps are going to be most of your workouts
- Potentially complicated recovery from injury – perhaps train focusing on avoiding injury as the guiding principle
For more information, see the video below.
How Heavy Should You Lift When Training for Muscle Growth?
When training for muscle growth (hypertrophy), the weight you lift, often referred to as the training load or intensity, is an important factor to consider. Here are some guidelines to help determine how heavy you should lift:
Use a weight that challenges you: To promote muscle growth, it’s important to use a weight that challenges your muscles. This means selecting a weight that allows you to complete the desired number of repetitions within the hypertrophy rep range (generally 8 to 12 reps) with proper form, while also feeling challenging towards the end of each set.
Choose a weight that elicits fatigue: The weight you select should cause fatigue in the target muscles by the end of each set. You should feel a sense of muscular burn or fatigue during the final few reps, indicating that the weight is appropriately challenging.
Progressive overload: To continue building muscle, it’s crucial to gradually increase the demands on your muscles over time. This can be achieved through progressive overload, which involves gradually increasing the weight you lift as your muscles adapt and grow stronger. Aim to progressively increase the weight as you become more comfortable with a certain weight range to continue stimulating muscle growth.
Form and technique: While it’s important to challenge yourself with heavier weights, it’s equally important to prioritize proper form and technique. Lifting weights that are too heavy and compromise your form can increase the risk of injury and reduce the effectiveness of the exercise. Focus on maintaining good form throughout each repetition, even when using challenging weights.
Big muscles can be important for a variety of reasons, depending on the context. Here are a few possible reasons why someone might value having big muscles:
- Athletic performance: In certain sports or athletic competitions, having large muscles can give you an advantage. For example, bodybuilders, powerlifters, and weightlifters often prioritize building muscle mass in order to improve their performance in their respective sports.
- Physical strength: Having bigger muscles can generally mean that you are stronger and able to lift heavier weights. This can be important in professions that require physical labour, such as construction or manual labour.
- Aesthetics: For some people, having big muscles is simply a matter of personal preference or aesthetic appeal. They may enjoy the way they look with more muscle mass and feel more confident in their appearance.
- Health and longevity: Building and maintaining muscle mass is important for overall health and longevity. Muscle tissue is metabolically active and can help to improve your metabolism and reduce your risk of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
However, it’s worth noting that having big muscles isn’t necessarily important or desirable for everyone. It’s important to prioritize your own health and fitness goals, rather than feeling pressure to conform to societal expectations or ideals.