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

  1. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Forum Administrator Senior Certified Instructor

    I don't think that's fair to bigger people - muscles that are able to exert a lot of force are good, regardless of their size.

    MikeMoran likes this.
  2. LukeV

    LukeV More than 300 posts

    In the main people don't understand how little exercise they have to do to make a big difference. And this goes particularly for older people who get scared off by the notion that the 'minimum' entails hours of effort (read any public health guideline). My wife is 53, she goes to the gym once per week, twice if I really nag her. She claims to have a program but from what I observe wanders randomly amongst the machines doing one set to (almost) failure. Rarely does her workout take longer than 20 minutes. Compared to her (sedentary) friends she looks damn fit and is strong. Once per week - if that's all you've got, that's all it takes. How many lives might be saved if older people got that message
  3. pet'

    pet' More than 5000 posts


    Even one training a week is better than no training at all. I totally agree with you !

    Then, even with one training a week, it depends on how you train and the goal you have:

    Related to hypertrophy / strength, here is a very good muscle explanation in Pavel's book "Hardstyle abs"


    Basically, the left one is full of water and there is not a significant muscle density (myofibrils). Indeed the first one is create thanks to an increase of capillaries number to bring lots of glycogen to the muscle. However, glycogen brings a lot of water. Then, even someone can have "big muscles", those ones are possibly full of water and this persone is not necessarily able to put a lot of tension in his move, so cannot generate a lot of strength. It is a bodybuilder's muscle.

    The right one is create by low rep with heavy weight. There are a lot of myofibrils and few water. This allows to the person to put a lot of tension, so a lot of strength. This kind of muscle has generally a low volume (comparing to a bodybuilder).

    Kind regards,

  4. Bro Mo

    Bro Mo Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    I think it's important to approach strength from both angles. I think it's important to practice engaging the muscle you have as well as adding new muscle (or replacing lost muscle). Alternating weeks with heavy triples and moderate ochos. Also, pumping up a muscle to store more water and glycogen to have better stamina I find important for performing many manual labor tasks.

    North Coast Miller likes this.
  5. North Coast Miller

    North Coast Miller More than 2500 posts

    One thing I realized when training with a lot of bodybuilder types (and training for that myself) is the concept of the mass not generating power not true. In the gym there were also competitive powerlifters, and while they could move more weight per pound of body weight they could not keep up with the bodybuilders in terms of total pounds moved in a given time frame, even among individuals of comparable mass. It is far from being ineffective bulk.

    Also, the hypertropic training strategy tends to improve limb speed by itself compared to many strength programs. True, when one trains specifically for speed you will be faster than someone who only trains for muscle growth, but not to underestimate the isometric nature of a lot of bodybuilding protocol.

    The hardest part of training for hypertrophic response is the amount of time needed. Some people will respond to a short workout, but most will need a longer, more technical regimen than is common for many strength based programs.

    The comment about increased size leading to better stamina rings true as well, esp in situations where pacing is not really an option.
  6. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Forum Administrator Senior Certified Instructor

    Yes, I think that's right, and I think there's some math to explain it - basically a powerlifter might, e.g., do 100 lifts per week with 100 pounds, but a bodybuilder might do 200 lifts per week with 70 lbs. We know that volume is a key determinant of strength - lower the weight, as a bodybuilder will do in comparison to a powerlifter, and you'll move away from the sweet range where limit strength is improved, but as you observe, there will be other benefits from the greater overall load.

    And as Pavel has shown us with routines in Beyond Bodybuilding and elsewhere, this is a continuum, so you can move a little towards hypertrophy and away from limit strength and still accomplish a great deal towards your limit strength while accomplishing more in the way of hypertrophy.

    Everything's a compromise but that's not a bad thing in this case; it's just a matter of understanding what means might best take you towards a particular goal.

  7. Mirek

    Mirek Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    Exactly my understanding. It is a continuous function of three variables, frequency, volume and intensity, that are not independent, e.g. intensity and volume should be inversely proportional. Manipulate with variables to get desired response.
  8. pet'

    pet' More than 5000 posts


    To a certain extent, some sports create both volume and strength : gymnastics, crossfit,

    For e.g, when you consider crossfit: intensity is supposed to be maximum each day (WOD) and there is also the rest of the training session (technique and so on...), frequence is high (daily training), and volume is significant.

    However, I do not know too much about gymnastics training: specific training ? assistance + specific training ?

    Kind regards,

  9. Jan

    Jan More than 500 posts

    I'm sure Rif will be able to answer this one more in depth (he was after all a professional gymnast, I was just an amateur), but here's my view on how we trained when I was doing gymnastics.
    Low volume push ups, sit ups, flags, some light running, and a lot of work on the different apparels: sommersaults, handstands, splits, vaulting, work on the double bars, single bar, rings. In gymnastics you actually do a lot of isometric work (try holding a cross in the rings without tensing the entire body). We did not do any weight lifting, but we were all chiseled.
    pet' likes this.
  10. banzaiengr

    banzaiengr Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    Interesting responses gentlemen. I'll throw a few comments out for critique.

    - To prevent injury, then yes amour building.

    - Supplements are just that supplements. Do we need them if we eat "right", probably not.

    - Do big muscles mean strong muscles and vice versa. Hey we've all seen this, but to think body builders are not strong would be a HUGE mistake. Like Platz said about squatting, "it's not about doing more, it's about doing more with more weight".

    I know two 160 lb. guys who are chiseled. One is 5'9" and the other is 5'6". What do you think the difference is?
  11. pet'

    pet' More than 5000 posts



    It is all about myofibrils density. A "real strong" man has a huge density, whereas a bodybuilder has more glycogen (and water).

    Kind regards,

  12. LukeV

    LukeV More than 300 posts

    I've never met a weak guy with big muscles
    BCman and Mirek like this.
  13. KIWI5

    KIWI5 More than 300 posts

    In the book 'Barbell Prescription', authors Andy Baker and Dr. Jonathon Sullivan advise 'masters athletes' (the 40 plus crowd) to avoid sarcoplasmic hypertrophy training and instead, to focus on myofibrillar hypertrophy training- as the high volume of sarcoplasmic hypertrophy training will create unneeded stress on older bodies. They discuss focusing on the big lifts- bench, squat, deadlift (and chins), keeping to 6 reps max in your sets. Both of these fellas have huge experience in the 'gym' environment so would appear to know their stuff- certainly when it comes to programming strength training with barbells. Their conditioning advice is dated, but that fitness component is not their speciality. Given that 2B muscle fibers are what we lose as we grow older (without training)- their advice seems solid. The lower volume applies to barbell, I don't think it applies to Kettlebell.
  14. North Coast Miller

    North Coast Miller More than 2500 posts

    Personally I find the heavier weight to be more taxing on my joints than work in the 8-12 rep range.

    I still periodize for all ranges but the bulk of training time is not at low RM.
  15. Kettlebelephant

    Kettlebelephant Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    And Dan John recommends to spend a lot of time with the typical hypertrophy rep ranges (8-12) as you get older...
    Do what works best for you.
    I'd agree with Dan and @North Coast Miller though. From what I read on forums, most older trainees tolerate higher reps at lower intensities better than low reps at high intensities.
  16. KIWI5

    KIWI5 More than 300 posts

    There really is only one action that counts as we age- and that is doing some sort of strength training. Not to defend the whole Starting Strength movement (Andy Baker is a Starting Strength coach and Mark Rippetoe endorsed the book), but Barbell Prescription draws on observations take from Starting Strength coaches/gyms across the USA, so they do have some insight? I know that in my case and that of a 56 year old I am helping to train, once we changed our barbell lifting to focus on myofibrillar hypertrophy...both our tennis elbow issues have largely disappeared and painful DOMS all but vanished. I program my resistance training following the waved periodization program from the excellent 'Tactical Barbell'. This is an area where Barbell Prescription is flawed- the book advises continuously training at the high end of one's 1RM. If I did that, I would overtrain quickly.
  17. Denny Phillips

    Denny Phillips Triple-Digit Post Count

    My takeaway as well. While I have used the Intermediate Master format to decent effect my experience more closely reflects that of North Coast Miller and the Dan John advice that Kettlebelephant referenced. I do not believe that training so close to the 1RM is sustainable for me.
  18. KIWI5

    KIWI5 More than 300 posts

    When comparing sarcoplasmic and myofibrillar hypertrophy, it's not that the higher reps result in bloated puffy muscles that have less strength- it's a question of mobility. The fantastic 'Tactical Barbell' book and program covers this perfectly. The author proposes a highly regarded and widely used program- primarily for police/military etc. The focus is on reps of 5- waved periodization. They correctly point out that for the 'tactical athlete', unnecessary muscle size affects performance- you need to be mobile, agile and hostile! In my years with the military, I rarely met top tier soldiers who were built like bodybuilders. The boys were always lean and mean. Strong as hell- but with bodies more like that of MMA fighters than bodybuilders. That's why 'Tactical Barbell' is loved by so many folk. The author espouses the whole 'staying fresh' theory, sub-maximal lifting etc. Lots of kettlebell work as well. There is an excellent book called 'The Ageless Athlete' that was written following the 2 strength and condition books of 'Tactical Barbell'- the author takes the teachings of Tactical Barbell and applies them to the older crowd.
    Stuart Elliott likes this.
  19. Stefan Olsson

    Stefan Olsson More than 500 posts

    This is very true!

    I have all three books and they are all a great read! The one thing I really like about the books (and K.B) is that while he is promoting the TB methodology, he still endorse other programs/principles. Its not a "this is what we do" .. its more open. If you really dig barbells, you can crank up the volume. If you dislike running, there are other conditioning "slots". Want to train for a half Marathon? The green protocol will get you there! Adding in kettlebells? The black protocol can be tailored to that as well.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2018
    Aaronlifts99 and KIWI5 like this.
  20. Stuart Elliott

    Stuart Elliott More than 500 posts

    @KIWI5 I'm really enjoying reading your comments, thanks for posting. From my own experience (I'm 42) building sarcoplasmic muscle feels like I'm carrying it around where as building myofibrillar muscle doesnt. I play weekend sports and find myofibrillar style training much more beneficial for mobility and general performance.

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