Should I build muscle mass to prepare for aging?

watchnerd

Level 6 Valued Member
As others have said, muscle mass is important as you age but as Steve said, strength focused exercise should be enough. I have had good results with the Power to the People barbell program without trying to add mass.

If you don't have access to a barbell easily, the most effective move for mass I have found that does not require huge weights and does not have a big learning curve compared to barbell work is the double kettlebell front squat. Double KB work in general is good. You can even use uneven weights.
I'm 50, so not too far into the sarcopenia journey, but I certainly don't recovery as quickly as I used to.

But I want elaborate on the importance of doing something heavy and hard, from time to time, as we get older, regardless of the implement.

The hormonal response of the body to full body movements that are in the low rep, high weight range is very different from the "burn and pump" that classical bodybuilder style medium rep, medium weight range usually advocated for hypertrophy.

As we get older, the extra shot of HGH and testosterone that comes from going heavy every once in a while may be even more important than when we were younger and with stronger hormonal systems.

I know I will go through an anabolic spurt after such sessions, where I can tell my metabolism is cranked up for 1-2 days after because I'll get much hungier, more quickly.

I suspect this might be a good thing for anti-aging.

I don't get the same effect just by doing a lot of reps in the hypertrophy range.
 

guardian7

Level 6 Valued Member
I'm 50, so not too far into the sarcopenia journey, but I certainly don't recovery as quickly as I used to.

But I want elaborate on the importance of doing something heavy and hard, from time to time, as we get older, regardless of the implement.

The hormonal response of the body to full body movements that are in the low rep, high weight range is very different from the "burn and pump" that classical bodybuilder style medium rep, medium weight range usually advocated for hypertrophy.

As we get older, the extra shot of HGH and testosterone that comes from going heavy every once in a while may be even more important than when we were younger and with stronger hormonal systems.

I know I will go through an anabolic spurt after such sessions, where I can tell my metabolism is cranked up for 1-2 days after because I'll get much hungier, more quickly.

I suspect this might be a good thing for anti-aging.

I don't get the same effect just by doing a lot of reps in the hypertrophy range.
Definitely agree. I have also read many times that power compared to strength declines relatively faster in the aging process. KB work is important but standing long jump is something to seriously consider as box jumps are too risky.
 

Stuart Elliott

Level 6 Valued Member
Definitely agree. I have also read many times that power compared to strength declines relatively faster in the aging process. KB work is important but standing long jump is something to seriously consider as box jumps are too risky.
This is one of many reasons why I'll keep A+A snatching in to my old age.
 

Bret S.

Level 6 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
Definitely agree. I have also read many times that power compared to strength declines relatively faster in the aging process. KB work is important but standing long jump is something to seriously consider as box jumps are too risky.
I like these in the 044 format
It's important I think, even over 60, that we keep some explosive activity going. I can't jump like I used to.. but I can still jump a little.
 

Adachi

Level 5 Valued Member
I'm not interested in mass for mass sake -- just wondering if my borderline underweight frame will cause me trouble as I age. And if so, I assume it would be better to gain muscle mass sooner than later.
From what i've been reading - It would seem that Physiological and Functional Reserve is a very important component of life as we age.
For your consideration: Ageing and activity: their effects on the functional reserve capacities of the heart and vascular smooth and skeletal muscles. - PubMed - NCBI
 

guardian7

Level 6 Valued Member
I’m a 47 year old man that has always been skinny. I don’t really have to watch my diet to avoid gaining fat, even when I’m sedentary for a decade.

About six months ago, I stepped on a scale, and was disturbed to see my how little I weigh. I’m 5’8” and my weight had gradually trended down from the low to mid 140s in my twenties to 125.

I decided that it was time for me to get in shape I bought some kettlebells and after experimenting with various things, I’ve landed on Simple and Sinister for the present time.

I’m enjoying S&S for now, I feel great, and I’m pleased to see significant gains in strength. But I’m wondering what goals would be best for my long term health. In order to be healthy, active, and not frail in my sixties/seventies, should I work to get my weight up toward 140 or more? Or is it sufficient to work on strength and conditioning, even if it is not accompanied with significant weight gain?

I'm not interested in mass for mass sake -- just wondering if my borderline underweight frame will cause me trouble as I age. And if so, I assume it would be better to gain muscle mass sooner than later.
It may not be exactly your case, but another way to look at this is to have an amount of muscle mass that you can sustain with a normal diet with a bit more protein within the amount of time that you want to devote to training. If you look at the diet of some master's bodybuilders it is not healthy or sustainable. In addition, when not competing, they can deflate in their old age, just as we can lose PRs without training. These are not concerns for us, but extreme cases can help us think through principles.
 

RichJ

Level 6 Valued Member
It's been referenced 1,000x at least in various chats, but The Barbell Prescription by Sullivan and Baker has well laid out thoughts on the value of muscle mass for people > 40yrs. And I believe someone posted a Peter Attia podcast - or at least a quote from it - where he essentially said if you hate doing anything and will only do one thing, that thing should be a heavy d/l or squat. IMO both those guys (Sullivan and Attia) are worth paying attention to. Pavel also talks about type II fiber atrophy - think he mentioned on the Rogan podcast.
 

Steve A

Level 6 Valued Member
It's been referenced 1,000x at least in various chats, but The Barbell Prescription by Sullivan and Baker has well laid out thoughts on the value of muscle mass for people > 40yrs. And I believe someone posted a Peter Attia podcast - or at least a quote from it - where he essentially said if you hate doing anything and will only do one thing, that thing should be a heavy d/l or squat. IMO both those guys (Sullivan and Attia) are worth paying attention to. Pavel also talks about type II fiber atrophy - think he mentioned on the Rogan podcast.
There are so many research papers showing how muscle mass and strength correlate with reduced mortality and related benefits.
 
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