Tips from Older Lifters


Double-Digit Post Count

I'm very interested in hearing from people age 60+ about their fitness journeys. Do you have things you wished you did or didn't do? Are there certain things you attribute to your lifting longevity? What do you value in a lifting program now that you're a bit older/wiser? What are some lessons you learned that could help younger lifters?

Thank You.

Ryan Toshner

Senior Certified Instructor
I'm not 60+, but I've worked with a number of very active individuals who fit the bill. From observation, I'd suggest always including mobility drills in any routine (specifically hips & shoulders/t-spine). The few guys who I'm thinking of (all in their early 70s) would be capable of doing a lot more (which they want to do) if they weren't so darn stiff. So, younger lifters, make a habit of doing mobility drills now so that you maintain (or improve) your mobility as you age. Otherwise you'll have to deal with your "used-to-couldness" (courtesy: Brett Jones) much sooner in life...

Steve Freides

Forum Administrator
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
I'm 61. I pay attention to all the same things I used to - I think, if you do that well, the rest follows. Typically I take more recovery than many programs specify, e.g., I did a program last Fall that asked for lifting 5 days out of every 7, and I averaged about 4 out of every 7.


Steve Freides

Forum Administrator
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
To pick up on what @Ryan Toshner said, a couple of more points about my training history:

I didn't start lifting until after a back injury in my early 40's.

I quickly realized that being more mobile, especially in my hips and hamstrings, made my back feel better, so I pursued flexibility with the same dedication as I gave to strength. I am able to do a suspended side split and teach in Jon Engum's Flexible Steel program, which I highly recommend to people of all ages, and which has a close connection to StrongFirst in that Jon is a Master SFG and many of Flexible Steel's principles and practices have their origins in Pavel's works Super Joints and Relax Into Stretch.


Gerry K

Double-Digit Post Count
I am 63. After decades of training for and competing in endurance-sports (pool and open-water swimming, then running) and accumulating various overuse injuries, I started lifting weights in my mid-40s, and shifted to KBs a few years later, in my late 40s.

Looking back, I transferred to my new pursuit the "more is better" philosophy of training from my old pursuits.

I've since learned that Pavel is right (per usual) when he says, "More isn't better; it's just more."

I've swung my pendulum the other way, first switching to S&S three years ago, and more recently, cutting back my volume again: swings (with some push-ups and planks) one day, TGUs (with a few pull-ups and one-legged DLs) the next. So far, so good: I am physically and mentally even fresher and always ready for other sports and exercise.

I believe it is Dan John who says, "Train today like you are going for a PR tomorrow." Great advice!

The other thing I learned is that diet accounts for at least 80% of my results. Sleep and managing stress account for most of the remaining 20%. Training is important for health, fitness and wellness, but takes a backseat to the other factors.

Thanks for reading my overlong reply!


Quadruple-Digit Post Count

I'm very interested in hearing from people age 60+ about their fitness journeys. Do you have things you wished you did or didn't do? Are there certain things you attribute to your lifting longevity? What do you value in a lifting program now that you're a bit older/wiser? What are some lessons you learned that could help younger lifters?

Thank You.
I'm not quite 60, but here goes;

Do you have things you wished you did or didn't do? Not really, it doesn't matter what I think now because what I did then was what I thought was the right thing. Things have changed a lot, no pain no gain type training for one. Nutrition, there is a complete paradigm shift on fats.

Are there certain things you attribute to your lifting longevity? I love to train.

What do you value in a lifting program now that you're a bit older/wiser? Yes I'm older, many here would argue the point of being wiser. But what I value in a program now is this, 1. is it simple 2. will it work within my lifestyle 3. results

What are some lessons you learned that could help younger lifters? 1. it's a journey, unless you are training to compete, missing one session won't kill you. 2. take care of yourself, sleep, diet, attitude 3. be thankful for every day 4. keep it simple



More than 5000 posts

I am not 60 and + but, I would suggest a lot of rest and a lot of stretching. I would not necessarily go for "intensive stretch", but at least being very good at basics such as twist holds, back bridges, deep squats, back rolls and a bit of splits.

Kind regards,


North Coast Miller

More than 2500 posts
At 49 I am not anywhere near 60. However, I have been doing resistance training and other since I was 9 years old and fully expect to carry on till I croak.

Things I would have done differently:

- not train full impact MA to the extent I did when I was younger. Yes, I could hit very hard and fast, but the impact goes both ways. Even with perfect form you need to realize there is a price to pay for impacting hard objects or the floor with your skeleton, which is really not designed for that sort of activity. Some will make it to a ripe old age without issue, many more will develop any number of joint ailments.

- if training to a high level of momentary failure, vet your spotter. A good spotter can help make astounding gains, a bad spotter can get you into a lot of trouble. Any old person that can help you pry the weight off is not good enough.

Advice off the top of my head:

- try different exercise modes, and keep the ones you do more often challenging, eg don't just jump rope, jump rope with your eyes closed.

- listen to your body, not just when it tells you to lay off, but when it tells you to hit the afterburner. Get to know how YOUR body responds and tailor your workouts to YOU. This doesn't mean not to try various programs and give them an honest chance, but recognize we are all a little different when it comes to how we respond to stimuli.

- don't be afraid to take time off if you are burning out physically or mentally or your schedule temporarily makes exercise impossible or inadvisable. Coming back after a layoff can leave you greatly restored in mind and connective tissue. Yes you will have lost some strength or speed but this is easily restored to the previous level, do not stress downtime.

- train safe, any training injury might never heal 100%. Shooting for PB is great, but not at expense of injury. Life will injure you plenty, your training shouldn't do anything worse than muscle soreness, the occasional temporary connective tissue soreness and perhaps the odd stretch mark.

- at some point in your life, preferrably when younger, shoot for a high level of fitness. It is always easier to get back to where you've been, so if injury, illness or circumstance forces you into prolonged downtime you will be able to return to a high level of functioning far, far easier than someone who has never really gotten there.

- be mindful of your posture when exercising, at rest, or doing daily work or recreation. Get to the point where it feels uncomfortable to be using poor posture or leverage. If you do not learn this on your own, it will be taught to you by your own body the hard way as you age.

- keep your training engaging. If it isn't, change it up.

- recognize the importance of nutrition and tailor your diet to your expected energy output.

- develop a bunch of workouts you can do at home, do not be dependent on the gym or the availability of specific equipment or exercise modes. Location, injury etc can all have an impact on training options that you can make use of. Be flexible - it all works.

I attribute a lot of my longevity to training with fairly high intensity much of the time. I routinely train to momentary failure and if doing more aerobic oriented activity I push my heart rate to the highest sustainable pace for what I'm doing. I do not recommend this for everybody, but arrive at it by listening to my body and what it responds to best.

Steve W.

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
I'm 52.
Any "wisdom" I've gained is mostly that I now almost always know that what I'm about to do is stupid BEFORE I do it anyway, instead of only realizing it afterward ;-).

Seriously, I wish I had paid more attention to maintaining mobility. I was always very mobile -- until I wasn't anymore. It sneaks up on you over time. As Ernest Hemingway once wrote in a different context, it happens "Two ways. Gradually and then suddenly." By mobility, I don't just mean stretching and flexibility, but things like rolling, crawling, tumbling, and generally exploring different ways of moving to maintain a rich free-movement "vocabulary."

I actually started doing a lot of Scott Sonnon's mobility stuff (anyone remember Zdorovye?) many years ago, but didn't do it consistently because I didn't think I "needed" it. I didn't -- at the time. But looking back, I DID need to be doing it then, so I could still move that way NOW.

The other big thing I think I've realized with age is the power of the park bench (another Dan John term). Consistent moderate practice, punctuated by occasional more intense pushes, pays off over the long term.
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More than 300 posts
I am 51 years old, and discovered Original Strength a few months back. This system has become a mainstay in not only my morning routines (I read that some folk call this a 'recharge'), but also my afternoons, my evenings...whenever I get a chance I do some form of OS Reset. I also have Pavel's 'Relax into Stretch' and have found the #11 'Overhead Reach' stretch, combined with OS resets completely resolved all my thoracic 'tightness'. Summary- flexibility & mobility are key. Then- and along with, comes the strength training.....never omit the strength training!

Carl in Dover

More than 300 posts
Almost 64..... can't add much to the excellent comments above. Just try and share with those younger folks so they have an easier time when they get our age.

Carl in Dover

Denny Phillips

Triple-Digit Post Count
If there is one thing that I can credit myself in being successful to whatever extent I've been able to do so it's consistency. There was a brief time when my sons were young that my consistency dropped and, fortunately, I regained my senses in time to avert a major setback. While working myself back into some semblance of condition it occurred to me during a training session that "The only thing worse than getting out of shape is getting back in." The problem at the time was clinging to the precepts that I used while powerlifting that were no longer needed in my present reality; sessions that were too long, constantly chasing impressive weights, too much linear progressive resistance, etc. My background as a collegiate basketball and track athlete had taught me a holistic approach that I abandoned due to my fascination with getting big and strong. When I became honest with myself I realized that I wasn't that strong so I quit the charade. I adopted the approach Dan John calls "little and often over the long haul." Enjoying the process and including variety has been paramount. 80+% of the time I end workouts feeling much better than when I started.

Ryan Toshner's comment on mobility resonates with me. After almost three decades as a defensive backs coach I had never had any negative impact from repetitive throwing until two years ago when I realized that my thoracic mobility was compromised. It has been a focus and while I have improved a great deal it remains a priority.


More than 500 posts
A turning point for me a few years ago was realizing that mobility improves strength by helping to generate full power. I only really understood this after starting Muay Thai (for fitness, not competition) at 45. I really wished I had understood this earlier. So often flexibility is defined apart from strength. I can sit in an Asian squat now and this directly carries to getting out of the whole in the deep squat. No knee pain.

Yes, I second the value of flexible steel. I admit to not being as motivated to working on mobility though. How did people commit to their mobility routines? Strength is so much more fun!


Quadruple-Digit Post Count
My tips as a fiftysomething to a younger something is to be strong and move well. My tips for peeps more or less the same age as me is to get strong and move well. My tips for older peeps is to get strong and move well.
The difference here is 'be' and 'get'....Once you are a 'be' and you've got it, the easier it is to get to later as it is easier to grow unwanted nasal hair than it is to grow triceps.
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