Discussion in 'Masters (50+ years old)' started by banzaiengr, May 4, 2016.

  1. banzaiengr

    banzaiengr Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    Thoughts on this? For a trainee over 50 (this of course could be even younger, like 40) is hypertrophy training or "armor building" a waste of time? To qualify this, with no supplemental aides other than extra protein.

    Would high volume training be a benefit to ones strength training goals or would it be a possible road to overtraining?

    Would you cycle the higher volume days with the strength training days, say like every third session? Or, cycle by program, i.e. 6 weeks of high volume followed by 6 weeks of a lower volume strength cycle? Noted that this would also depend on a trainee's recovery ability, so some may need every 4 or 5 session as an example.

    Would you use a mass building diet figuring on adding body fat with the intention of then taking that off or temper the diet and try to only add muscle?

  2. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Forum Administrator Senior Certified Instructor

    Some of your questions are general in nature, e.g., this
    It's possible to gain muscle as we age, just a bit more difficult. Offhand, I'd say to try a proven program and adjust as necessary.

  3. banzaiengr

    banzaiengr Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    Yes, understand Steve but to just open up conversation I thought that best.

    To be more specific to the question you quoted. As we age, fat loss seems to be a real battle for some, so would this be a prudent plan?

    Would a hypertrophy program such as high rep (20) squats be a good way to go rotated with say S&S? 2-4 sessions of S&S followed by a session of 1 set 20 rep squats followed by high volume snatches? One could even rotate in higher volume DL with C&P. And pull ups, where's the pull ups?

    So yes, I believe you are right. It's the adjusting as necessary that always trips me up. Was that just one of those days due to X? Or am I beginning to due to much?

    Maybe this is where some of Al and Anna's HR monitor work and HR variability come into play?
  4. Leesburgking

    Leesburgking More than 500 posts

    Hypertrophy training should be considered more necessary as we age. T levels start dropping in your 30's and muscle starts falling off (sarcopenia) which is a precursor to getting more frail.
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  5. jca17

    jca17 More than 300 posts

    Interestingly, Dan John suggests that hypertrophy training becomes MORE important as a person ages. I know somewhere he wrote about this in more detail than the article below, or maybe a video of a seminar or something, or maybe in his wandering weights series.

    Training for Middle Age and Beyond
  6. banzaiengr

    banzaiengr Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    Ya, that's right. I've seen that too. I believe, and I could be wrong, that he was referring to keeping muscle as one ages rather than losing it. At least where I saw it. Haven't gotten to your article yet. But the result would remain the same, more muscle, faster metabolism.
  7. jca17

    jca17 More than 300 posts

    Yeah, I don't think that the point was to actually get bigger, but it was about leaning more toward a hypertrophy style of training, which as you say, will help maintain muscle even if it doesn't have the muscle growing effect it would have on a younger person. Think more sets of 8-10 rather than 3-6.
  8. Michael Perry

    Michael Perry SFG II, SFB Certified Instructor

    I agree. I've done programs that are probably designed for your average (younger) user and they seem to work fine for me as they are. Won't be a surprise to hear that recovery and sleep are important.

    Are you adjusting because you're in mid-program and your body is telling you to, or adjusting the program before you start because you think you should due to age? I think the first reason is a good one and is fairly easy to do; the second requires too much thought and may not be necessary anyway.

    I'd just pick a proven program and try it as written, and if during it you feel you need to listen to your body and adjust, then cross that bridge when you come to it. (I'd give a 30 year old the same advice.) I've never found a need to pre-emptively alter sets/reps or rest just because of age, or chosen programs or a schedule of cycling them because of age, and see no need to.

    I don't know tons about nutrition, but my intuition says don't recommend a "muscle building" diet to a person over 50 with the expectation of adding fat along with the muscle with the fat to be taken off later, as that seems to get harder and harder to do.

    I've not recently followed a diet designed for muscle building per se. I do get a lot of protein, and find that some whey post-training and casein in the evening seem to be beneficial. And, if I'm watching the carbs, I can add muscle without adding fat. In fact just did this with measurements at both ends.

    Of course people are different and these are just my experiences.

    Looking back at the OP before I close -- no, trying to add muscle after 50 without supplements other than protein is definitely NOT a waste of time.

    Interesting questions and look forward to what others think.
    banzaiengr and Geoff Chafe like this.
  9. Tarzan

    Tarzan More than 500 posts

    I haven't hit 50 yet but I can't see much point in trying add muscle if it isn't lean and dense.

    I've read about protein intake for the last thirty years and the more I read the more it seems like propaganda than fact. It's like we've been instilled with a fear of not getting enough protein and a false belief that more is better and will always build muscle.

    There's plenty of studies that have been done linking high protein diets to early mortality, kidney stones, cancer and osteoporosis etc.

    The older you get the more of a concern all those issues become and the protein becomes less cost effective in conversion rates to muscle growth.

    There's also a million studies that prove how fantastic protein is for everything but most of those studies are funded by people with vested interests and anything negative they find would never see the light of day.

    If you type casein cancer into a search engine you'll get enough hits to read all day, if you google whey cancer or meat cancer you'll have to wade through endless industry funded studies and you'll probably never find the truth.

    I don't see the point in trying to artificially change my body shape by eating protein to excess, I have tried when I was younger but it resulted in fat gain with the muscle and I was bloated all the time. A few weeks of not scoffing extra protein and I always ended up back at square 1 but usually with some extra insulation. Now I try to give my digestive tract and organs as easy a run as possible, if I ever get bloated then that's a sign things aren't working as well as they should.

    I just enjoy a good sized steak most nights and don't concern myself with protein intake at all.
  10. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Forum Administrator Senior Certified Instructor

    Well, this is our opportunity to collect some anecdotal data.

    People over 50, what programs are you following and how have you changed them, e.g., we have lots of folks doing S&S here - has anyone found the program, as written, needs to be modified because of their age?

  11. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Forum Administrator Senior Certified Instructor


  12. offwidth

    offwidth More than 5000 posts

    Way closer to 60 than 50...
    Working S&S by the letter; no issues, no modifications.
    Granted I do other stuff as well.
  13. jrosto

    jrosto Double-Digit Post Count

    I'm 54 and progressing with S&S. I started out lighter than Pavel recommends, and made smaller jumps in weight, not because of age but due to a double lung transplant before I started the program. My medical team really wanted me to be careful with my progress. Now that I am an "Average Strength Gentleman", I will attempt my next progression with swings as written (24 to 32 kg's). I also mix up the goblet squats between prying and standard because I like to do both. Again, not because of age.

    I do S&S 5 days/week. On the other two days I have started doing the basic movements with the larger 'bell to get my body ready to incorporate into S&S (deadlifts, hike passes, power swings)

    Diet wise I've increased my average daily calorie intake while trying to keep my macro %'s, Carbs/Fat/Protein, the same
  14. Al Ciampa

    Al Ciampa Quadruple-Digit Post Count Certified Instructor

    I can see that @Steve Freides splitting this thread soon...

    We are still at the onset of what the training recommendations might be for training into the golden years. I agree with a lot of Dan's article, especially the blood letting, but I am not convinced of the need for specific hypertrophy training. The research reports the results of sedentary populations, not those already involved in resistance training and general exercise. Do not be afraid of sarcopenia if you are loading your chassis... period.

    Protein supps are snake oil, unless you are a burn victim lying in a hospital bed.

    Ill only be 46 soon, so you geezers can discount this child's opinion if you like ;]
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  15. banzaiengr

    banzaiengr Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    Hey, I only use protein for medicinal purposes.

    And yes, I had to google sarcopenia. : p
    Last edited: May 5, 2016
  16. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Forum Administrator Senior Certified Instructor

    IMHO, this contradicts your doctors' advice - feel free to disagree, of course, but I'd ask them. While there is benefit to the shock value of a big jump in weight, there are downsides as well. You aren't everyone; you have a particularly unusual medical history and your first order of business, well, you get the idea. :)

    Regarding hypertrophy, my own preference is to let form follow function. If I can still move the weights I want to be moving, I'm content to let my body age. I know that my competition deadlift dropped 4 lbs. from age 49 to 59, and that's a rate of decline I'm frankly quite content to live with. I'd still like it to my deadlift to go up, but I confess to being less willing to sacrifice anything in the rest of my life to achieve that goal because ...

    I lift in order to improve my life, I don't live in order to improve my lifting.

    E.g., I spent a lot of the past year doing very little training, on the order of 2 sets of 5 presses and 2 sets of 3 deadlifts, twice a week. That means, in a week, I did a total of 20 presses and 12 deadlifts. It was a "really, really easy" strength approach wherein I put a weight on the DL bar and just did my two triples until they felt easier, then I added a few pounds and continued on. I got up to a double bodyweight deadlift this way, and if that little training can be all I need to maintain a double bodyweight DL, I'm content with that little training when I'm busy and not prepping for a competition.

    And I felt _great_ - the lifting sessions were not at all tiring, and in addition to the lifting, I walked and stretched, and did my breathing practice.

  17. jrosto

    jrosto Double-Digit Post Count

    Thanks Steve, the Team has approved my plans and goals. They think I'm a little nuts, but are very interested in my progress. I'm not going to start one hand 32 kg swings until after I own the 24 in under 5 mins. That will be a true test of my new lungs.
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  18. Michael Perry

    Michael Perry SFG II, SFB Certified Instructor

    I'm 54. My current program is almost all bodyweight, but I've previously done things like Rite of Passage, the Total Tension Complex, Simple and Sinister, Brett's SFG cert prep program. And others with no names I'm aware of that my coach would give me. I've never found I needed to modify anything because of my age (although I would sometimes wonder if coach remembered how old I was). [Editing to note all this was at 50+.]

    I feel the same way, and I personally don't train to build muscle as a goal (but it happens, and I like it). But I don't think it's at all a waste of time for a 50+ who wants to make it theirs.

    Kind of odd to quote myself, but there's a lot in the thread about protein. There's no question protein is the building block of muscle. So if you're tearing down muscle, your body is going to need protein to repair itself. This can largely be done through protein rich foods. (For the evening snack, yogurt and cottage cheese are both rich in casein.) Nothing to excess. I think nutrient timing can also be important.

    I don't have a big base of knowledge on this, and there's so much conflicting opinion out there. I just do what my sport nutritionist says. Works fine for me.
    Last edited: May 5, 2016
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  19. Tarzan

    Tarzan More than 500 posts

    I was a bit over the top with my earlier comments about protein. We certainly need a good supply of high quality protein when weight training. Maybe a bit more than the RDI. Someone on a really rigorous training schedule may need to add even more.

    Some people, typically those in bodybuilding circles seem to take it to extremes and swallow all the marketing hype & end up eating way too much.

    Something just feels wrong about buying your food in a bucket to me though o_O
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  20. banzaiengr

    banzaiengr Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    Michael, no I would adjust during the program because of what my body is telling me, I hope. Due to my job I can get into periods without regular sleep so I try and balance that. Sometimes due to my job I miss two or three sessions and find that is all I needed. But I've beaten myself up with these programs in the past too, so I'm cautious. The only time I would preemptively change a program in the past was one that said, "3x10 squats with 80% 1RM". Now I would just ignore that program.

    I'd like to say my diet is dialed in, but it's not. It's much better and I'm closer than I used to be. Protein suppz work good for me when I can't get a regular meal. I also like one after a session. But a mass building diet would be a scary proposition for me as I gain fat easily.

    I was just curious if any of our older readers had done something like this and what was their result. I realize we are all different and that may not mean their system would work for me. But I have been playing with the idea of S&S with every third or fourth session being a higher volume more like what a body builder would do. Say, 1 x 20 squat followed by 6 x 10 snatches (3 ea. side). Or possibly a higher volume of DL (15 x 1, 30 sec between sets) followed by C&P's (6 x 10 or a higher volume ladder). Any one see anything wrong with this approach or would you do something different?

    If the next question is, "what is your goal?" I'm just looking for something different for a short time, 6-8 weeks. I would keep my diet pretty much the same it's been over the last 4 months where I lost about 15 lb. (I realize that a diet that has caused weight loss will probably not work for muscle building but I don't want to gain any fat during this experiment) and train every day I can, using S&S with these other sessions thrown in as I feel.
    Last edited: May 6, 2016

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