View Full Version : Age vs strength

Brother Phil
02-17-2003, 09:11 AM
This is something that has been bugging me. I've started working out again after about 10 year layoff. I've been at it now for about a year minus three months where I was traveling due to business and couldn't do regular workouts. I was an avid bodybuilder for about 6 years from age 15 - 21, when I ruptured a disc (L4-L5). I never got back into it as intensly as I am now. My question is this. I've been able to match my strength on some exercises, but for the most part, I haven't been able to return to the level of strength I had, even though I've gotten back to the same size. My back is about as strong, but not chest, at least in the bench press, arms are close. I have to go lighter on legs due to the back surgery. I used to be able to get 2 reps with 245 on military press, now I'm lucky to get 165-170 for 2. Is it because of the age thing, or is it hormonal? Or do I just need to give it more time for the strength to return?

02-17-2003, 09:45 AM
A short time back I was given "A" answer to this in a round about way by Dave Draper. The ability to do any exercise at a given weight is based on the weakest muscle used for that exercise. I always had a very un-educated way of looking at exercises "curls are for bicep" then I looked at a chart and all the different muscles and tendons that come into play - wow, what a shock. My curl is limited by the weakest of those muscles.

Answer: More time needed. Also did any of those smaller weaker muscles get worked hard doing another exercise? What a difference that can make and just to complicate this answer "What is the recovery time for that little weak muscle compared to the recovery time of the large muscle? could be a lot different"

Brother Phil
02-17-2003, 10:12 AM
I was hoping, and kind of feeling that more time was the answer. I got pretty strong over a six year period, so how can I expect to get it all back in a year or less. I actually used to do more work per workout years ago, but I know now I was overtraining. But you have a good point about the weakest muscle link to strength. I hope this year to surpass my old strength levels. Wow, the Blond Bomber taught you that! That must be the idol who worked out with you that you spoke of in your challenge thread. I've read some of his articles. So glad to hear he got his life straightened out and is again looking great. Another inspiration to us past 35 bodybuilders!

02-17-2003, 10:33 AM
Originally posted by Brother Phil
That must be the idol who worked out with you that you spoke of in your challenge thread.

Nope :) But I met Dave when he was a youngster and began to shine in the world of Bodybuilding. Then I would sit and watch him on late night TV hosting the Hercules movies. Dave has been there and offered mee encouragement and direction since I decided to return to the world of health. He has been on top and he has been on the bottom and is willing to help anyone that wants to climb back up the hill.

Side note: I was at Daves Gym when my idol came over. I went there wanting to see Dave and hoped to get some pointers, but the day I was there Dave and Laree were not there. I guess thats another reason I was so up about my Idol being there, it was what was meant to be :)

02-17-2003, 01:27 PM
Phil we do lose strength as we age . We peak naturally between 25 to about 33 our strength declines about 8% for every 10 years after that due to hormonal changes . But and it is a big but . This limitation only applies if we have reached our genetic peak . In other words if when you are 25 you had maxed out with the weight you could handle{as it would if you were powerlifting} then you could figure that if you were still training as hard at 35 your strength should drop about 8% .
If you had not maxed out at the age of 25 then it is possible to continue increasing your strength until 50 and beyond provided you had not reached your peak during that period. So give it a while you should exceeed your maxes in time .

02-17-2003, 01:50 PM
Thats a pretty long lay off so it will certainly take some time. You hit on one topic that does come into play though (hormonal) so you might consider using PH's with your other sups. A step further obviously would be AS but that's not for everyone obviously. If you worked out (as you mentioned) for 6 years when you were younger then you already have the frame built and that will make things all the easier. What are your workouts like, etc? Are you training for strenth and power as I do or looking more to BB? A clean diet high in protein, loads of calories, good sups and 45-60 minutes of intense heavy lifting 5 days a week work great for me at 38. Good luck.

02-17-2003, 03:20 PM
Phil we do lose strength as we age . We peak naturally between 25 to about 33 our strength declines about 8% for every 10 years after that due to hormonal changes.

What study is that based upon? I am just wondering if they did that study on a bunch of older couch potato's or older body builder's. Sorry for the cinicism, I mean it to sound optimistic in a sense because for the most part a lot of the time strength and GH and other hormones decline in people as they age because they let them. I'm of the mind that you need to use it or lose it.

I have to say here that an injury can in fact in good circumstances bring you out stronger than you ever where. For example, when broken bones heal, they thicken in response to any cracks or breaks. This makes them stronger. I am sure that it takes a long time for that to happen--in fact with bones over a year for that to happen, and to my mind any other type of injury needs slowly nursing back to full strength.

Inactivity--->less growth hormone which as we know is stimulated a lot by sport and activity--->slower metabolism---> more fat--->slower moving around and more clumsy--->more open to injury--->giving up and sliding into a more aged looking state.

I have to say, on the inside I feel the same as when I was 18 yo, and if it wern't for this flubber and the dicky knee, I'd feel fine. I think I can do it and feel BETTER than I did at 18 yo if I stay determined. :) No medical study is going to hamper my progress...

02-17-2003, 05:04 PM
I have no idea what study it was from i have it in my notes from way back , I have read it many times in various health journals .
It is not meant to say that you will get weaker as you age please reread it . It was in reference to naturally occuring strength . We are our strongest at the age range mentioned it has to do with natural life process . We peak in our late 20's to early 30's .
That is the Big but I mentioned it applies to a person that has maxed his/her strength a highly trained powerlifter that has been maxing out since his early teens will peak in his late 20's provided he has reached the limit of his strength .
It also applies to a person that sits on a couch all day long even though he/she is not exercising the strength will peak at the same age . However even though the natural occuring strength has peaked if that person begins to train with resistance at say the age of 40 he/she could easily be stronger at the age of 50 than they were at 25 because at 25 they were untrained .
There is lots of room for nearly everyone to continually get stronger as only the highly trained power/olympiclifters get even close to the maximum they can achieve . As I mentioned earlier even a bodybuilder can get stronger as he/she ages because we don't usually train for all out strength .
Sorry if the post was confusing and please do Not be discouraged .

02-17-2003, 05:34 PM
We can affect some hormone levels with hard exercise . Growth hormone is released at a greater level after we do a heavy workout that involves big muscle groups like back and legs . Testosterone drops off at a little less than 1% per year after it peaks in the 26-33 range . I don't believe it can be altered by exercise . Testosterone is most responsible for muscle growth and strength . There is some evidence that test production does not drop but it begins to bond with a protein molecule making it unusable by the body and shows in blood tests as lower free amounts .

02-17-2003, 06:04 PM
Talking off topic:

or is it...still here we go:

I have some knowledge of the growth hormone due to one of my kids being pre disposed to making too much if he isn't on the correct dose of med's. So I know as much that when cortisol levels are lowered (i.e. at the start of exercise there is a dip) that this is favorable for Growth Hormone release. He makes it in abundance in those conditions because the extra cholesterol is shunted down the metabolic pathways and instead of being converted to cortisol, it is converted to 17 Hydroxyprogesterone. This means an increase of anabolic steroids thereafter.

I do know that when Testosterone is elevated in him (has had bloods back of 426* nmol/L for the 17 OHP--which meant that all the other sex steroids thereafter were elevated almost causing premature puberty) his growth spurts are extremely rapid and his fat stores deplete and he looks very athletic. We can tell basically when he is outgrowing a cortisol dose. His face becomes less chubby.

Anyway I am interested in knowing more about why it bonds with protein molecules because to my mind there has to be some difference about the testosterone in the blood serum of a 21 yo and that of a 50 yo if this is the case would you think?

=426nmol/L is the same level of an adult male where 17 Hydroxyprogesterone is concerned. His behaviour was very very changed and he was quite aggressive. When I said to the Doctor's that this had occured, they said that fully gorwn men have levels that high and they don't misbehave. The problem was however, that in addition to having the testosterone levels of an adult male, he had the lowest cortisol levels you could imagine and the two caused him to be hypoglycaemic. Hence his moods and emotions changing. I guess if a guy had testosterone levels ten times higher than he should have and his cortisol levels stayed the same or dropped lower--he would be feeling pretty crappy too? ;)

Also, I know as much that what can happen for him can cause infertility basically because when the testosterone levels are TOO high, they cause the testicles to shut down sperm production ironically. It can also cause adrenal rest tissue to form in and around the other organs and glands such as the gonads. I mean we used to just raise his cortisol doses but now I know a great deal more I insist on more frequent blood tests to determine where he is at. I would hate for him to have infertility be a problems later on. Actually found out a lot about it by using sites like this because BB's tend to take supplements and are in a sense the guinea pig's I used to look around and see what symptoms they were having from anabolics.

02-17-2003, 06:33 PM
Hey Brother Phil, glad to see you're back at it again. As a 61 yr old powerlifter I am amazed at what I can do now compared to my youthful days. I tinkered with weights many times in my twenties, thirties and forties. I really didn't start to understand what it was all about until I was pushing fifty. Now with smarter and more disciplined training, nutrition and hugely improved supplements and pro-hormones I am having a ball setting new PR's whenever I plan and prepare for them.

Is it possible your legs are lagging for good reason and your back and arms are pretty close to your early days because you use them in your job as a carpenter/finisher. Meanwhile, your chest simply hasn't had the time and specific training (5 X 5's, HIT etc) to come back up to speed and or surpass your old PRs. Believe me there is no biological timeclock ticking against your quest. Once you develop a plan for how to get back to those PRs and beyond and see progress towards them, the question of limits will just disappear. Once you move up that weight your confidence WILL return. Trust me I and many others have been there.

Just so you don't think I am some old BS merchant I am enclosing a simple copy of my current business card pic but it will give you some idea of where I'm coming from. I have NEVER posted any pic before, anywhere. I've always been too inhibited by the great BB physiques around here. But you will understand that even in one's sixties you can become powerful,...at least I hope it will help you. Good Luck!


02-17-2003, 07:36 PM
Belle that is interesting stuff , I too hope He doesn't suffer any side effects from the hormone managment .
The Dutchman is a perfect example . The guy just keeps on getting stronger . AWESOME

Brother Phil
02-17-2003, 08:32 PM
Good comments by all. Dutchman, you look pretty powerful to me. I've said it before, but I love to see you "cronilogically older" guys working out and making gains. It is truely an inspiration. I took time off once. But I'll never do it again. It's good to see that I can look forward to many years of training. I call myself a bodybuilder because the main objective of my workouts is to have a balanced physique, and not necessarily strength per se. Although, I normally work out with heavier weights, at least on compound exercises, as this seems to produce the best growth. I'll increase the reps on isolation movements, to the point where I feel the greatest pump in the muscle. I guess I'm allways comparing my current stats to my past, as it's my goal to look better this time around. I started using pro hormones this year, and the results have been excellent. I wanted to be educated as much as I could before starting. I'm wondering how often some of you cycle, as I will be coming off of a cycle this week, and I'm planning my next one in May to aid in the retention of lean mass when I will be cutting. I know that's plenty of time off, but the results I had were so good, I was wondering if I could go on a 4 week cycle before then. I thought I should at least wait 6 weeks before starting again.

Stupid question: What does PR stand for? I get the meaning, but can't get the words.

02-18-2003, 03:01 AM
Thanks Brother Phil for the compliment. I just had my full physical yesterday and my Doc says I am in great shape and he recommends I continue on with my efforts to grow and get better. What was neat about it is that I not only have no prostate problems but the equipment seems to be improving. I 've written here before about my so called "sex cocktail" of saw palmetto, pygeum, tomato juice, selenium and pumpkin seed which brought me down from a PSA of 10 to a below 3 normal. Well the point of retelling this story is that last year I did 4 cycles of 1AD. The first three were 4 weeks long and the last was 6 weeks. Each time I took off twice as long on my off cycle. If you're trying 1AD or 1Test I wouldn't go less than 1.5X in the off time but it appears that at least my body is handling it well. The minimal hair loss and some zits were the only negative side effects. Four cycles a year is plenty methinks

Oh yeah, I wish you lots of PRs.....Personal Records.....go for it!

02-18-2003, 03:42 AM
That is something I get concerned about for Ashley in his disposition. His father had male pattern baldness and lost most of his hair at aged 19 yrs. So it bothers me that if they don't control his hormones more appropriately, that that could happen. I've heard some good stuff about saw palmetto and that it actually works to block the conversion of androgens to DHT which causes hair loss. I was wondering (since I am a Hairdresser and studied hair follicles) since high levels of DHT can cause hair loss, if the situation is reversed (and DHT is blocked by the saw palmetto) and you take saw palmetto if this would cause the redundant follicles to start sprouting hairs again. Since the hair follicle is sensitive to the DHT only and once that problem is removed, surely this would stimulate regrowth? I did read an article to confirm that it can but I was a little skeptical and just wondered if it did? How long have you taken saw palmetto for Dutchman?

02-18-2003, 05:04 AM
My best lifts have been this year at age 44 and I continue to get stronger so I guess it depends on the person. It takes years though so be more patient.

Brother Phil
02-18-2003, 06:10 AM
Thanks for the reply, I think I'll wait until May for the next cycle. Glad to hear the doc says you're healthy. I've heard about some having those side effects but I haven't noticed any. I started to lose my hair when I was about 25, and I think it had something to do with going on a vegatarian diet. It seems that the two coincided, even though I was a lacto-ovo vegetarian. I don't recommend that type of diet, at least longterm. The hair loss slowed down when I started eating meat again, and if I keep it short, doesn't seem to get any worse. I take saw palmetto also. My dad got prostate cancer, and I'm trying to keep mine healthy, so I've been taking it for about a year or so. I hope Belle is right about the regrowth, cause that's the only thing on my body I can't change, well, without surgery or a hairpiece anyway.

02-18-2003, 11:22 AM
Belle, I don't know if it is a fact or just well propagated and advertised fiction that saw palmetto can reverse hair loss. It did seem to slow down my loss a bit but for me it is more.... too little, too late! It does however shut down the DHT very well and is often included in "Hair Raising" solutions around the world.

Brother Phil, add a six ounce glass of tomato juice to your morning feeding. I wash my supplements down with it. The Lycopene in it is a fantastic fighter for your prostate health.and couples well with the saw palmetto in making the use of 1-test based pro-hormones non-threatening to young and old seniors alike.

Brother Phil
02-18-2003, 11:47 AM
Sounds good Dutch, I love tomato juice. Do you have any opinions on 6-OXO? I was thinking on using it to get my body's testosterone production back to normal. Just wondering if you had any experience with it. I know it's a relatively new product.

02-18-2003, 12:09 PM
Sorry Phil, no experience with the 6OXO but there is plenty of it here elsewhere on the board. I just use a homebrewed version of ZMA and some Tribestan (Tribulis Terrestris) to come back after cycling. That and the Dutchess has her own way of getting my attention real quick...chuckle, chuckle!

02-18-2003, 03:26 PM
Originally posted by back2it
Belle that is interesting stuff , I too hope He doesn't suffer any side effects from the hormone managment .
The Dutchman is a perfect example . The guy just keeps on getting stronger . AWESOME

DUTCHMAN I looked at this and it doesn't read the way I meant it to . I should have separated the 2 sentences . The comment to you was in refernce to building strength as we age and reaching our genetic limit as hormone levels peak vs continuing to build strength as those levels fall . Not in reference to hormone managment .

02-19-2003, 04:43 PM
Hey Phil, if it's any consolation, I have the same problem. I'm 55 and missed working out for almost a year. Over the last ten years I have stopped working out for 6mo. or more for one reason or another(I know, no excuses right?). Anyway, each time I go back to it, within 4-6 mo. I actually get bigger than I was before and yet I have trouble getting back to what I was lifting before. I'm curling and doing tri's heavier than I've ever done but can't seem to get my bench back to what it was. I've tried working tri's seperate days from bench and tried both on same day but have'nt been able to get it back to where it was. My bench seems to be the only area where I'm lagging. Go figure.

Brother Phil
02-20-2003, 04:45 PM
I know, Thetaz, bench is the biggest bugger for me too. I think we bodybuilders need to get out of the mentality that you ain't squat if you can't bench. I see so many guys in the gym using their chest as a springboard and arching six inches off the bench to try to get a few reps out at a heavier weight. I keep my feet up, and perform bench slowly, and I'm working up to 250 and feeling like a wimp. But then I'll move on to fly's or dumbell presses and these guys can't match me at all. I now only do flat bench about every other week or even third week because I've found that I get a better pump, and am major sore for a couple days when I do heavy dumbell work (presses and fly's), plus I'm pushing some pretty heavy weight so it helps the ego, which I hesitantly admit, is still a factor with me in the gym. I like to work heavy, but never at the sacrifice of good form.