I've heard than muscle builds at a different speed in people over forty and that it's necessary to use weights in a different way - specifically, with less weight and in shorter sets - for that reason.

But I haven't been able to find advice to this effect online. Any truth to it?


Testosterone production peaks in your 30s and steadily declines thereafter. Since testosterone is the most important hormone for muscle growth, you will need to put more effort into your workout to see the same gains. I have not heard anything about the actual muscle tissue fundamentally change as you age.

testosterone vs age

Your digestion efficiency also declines as you age. You will be absorbing less nutrients per gram of food as you age. You will need to eat slightly more carbs and protein than a younger person to fuel your muscles.


Hydrochloric acid deficiency is common in older people and prevents the proper breakdown and digestion of proteins, which are critical to health. Your production of digestive enzymes also declines with age affective digestion of all three macro nutrients (proteins, fats, and carbohydrates)


Not for me. I'm 41 and returned to the gym about 8 months ago. Workout the same way I've always have before. And people have noticed that I'm getting bigger. So all good.

  • Mind over matter. I also think that results are tied to the mind and how you perceive your age.
    – jmort253
    May 1 '11 at 22:14
  • Mind you everyone thinks I'm 34, so I may actually be a tad younger. The only difference is that it initially takes a lot longer to recouperate. But after a couple of months...
    – Salsero69
    May 1 '11 at 22:49
  • While the effect isn't as drastic as the OP might make it sound, I do believe there is an actual again effect, which will hamper your ability to improve (above a certain point). However, I also believe it can be very gradual and can depend highly on how active you are and/or have been in the past.
    – Ivo Flipse
    May 3 '11 at 13:11

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