I'm going on the big 50 soon - my typical workout week is 3 days of strength training (squat Sunday, Bench Tue and Deads on Thu) and 1-2 days of aerobic training (Tabata and heavy bag). I've been reading a lot about changes to workouts based on age - specifically around weight training and recovery. Right now I focus on one body area a day (but typically make it a full body workout, but keeping the focus with more routines).

I haven't had any issues with recovery, but want to know if there are good practices to follow to ensure that recovery doesn't start becoming an issue OR reduction in ability to lift what I currently do with on-going progression.

  • IMO, just continue to pay attention. There will be a slow-down, at some point. You don't mention anything regarding diet, but it matters even more as the body tends towards losing muscle mass, testosterone production decreases, all that fun stuff. Jun 15 '12 at 13:41

I realize it is anecdotal evidence, but when you have power lifters in there 70s and 80s still pulling heavy (like a John Bourgoin from Canada's powerlifting federation), you don't have to let age deter you. I know of one 63 year old power lifter in New Zealand who still feels as if he's making good gains.

Recovery will become more of an issue the older you get. The big difference between a young guy in their 20s and 30s and an older guy is how soon they need to change to slower progression. If you were to employ some of Wendler's philosophy where you have four lifts a week (squat, bench, deadlift, overhead press), make increases and have a deload week once a month, you can leverage that approach for quite some time. Essentially, on Wendler's 5-3-1 plan, you keep making increases until you start stalling. Once you start stalling, take 90% of your current max and work your way back up.

I also know of an ex-military lifter in his 50s who when he was told he should consider taking disability due to his acute back pain, made some positive changes and is seriously quite an impressive guy. He now favors high volume training such as the Sheiko programs. His basic philosophy is that he's done chasing max effort numbers, and is simply seeing how many times he can hit his current maxes.

Some of the guys I referred to can be found at the IronStrong.org forums, but the bottom line is that you can continue to make increases for quite some time. All the tools to manage recovery are all there. You won't be able to do linear progression as well, but you sound like you are past that stage anyway.


I'm going to be 50 next year and have been looking into this. I found this interesting article


There is a basic strength program on the last page

An interesting quote from the article: "Men, who are 70 years of age who have resistance-trained since 50 years of age, had muscle cross-sectional area and strength comparable to a group of 28-year-old sedentary subjects. "

As far as recovery goes, I agree with Dave Newtons comment, basically see how it goes. Individuals can be so different in this regard that it is difficult to give a good answer.

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