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  1. #1
    Registered User bflare78's Avatar
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    Is it possible to build a good amount of muscle over 40?

    I turned 40 in December and I've been lifting for around 2 years although 5 months of that was cutting due to a failed dirty bulk.

    For an older guy my physique is ok I suppose compared to the rest of the population but my goal is / was to be big. That's my goal in life. It's what I enjoy and what keeps me motivated. I know it's a journey and I am enjoying the journey but I'm starting to think that my expectations maybe more than is achievable given my age.

    I've been lifting consistently, my diet is in check with a moderate surplus.

    I'd like to hear from guys around my age who have built a good amount of muscle and how did you achieve it and how long did it take?
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  2. #2
    Registered User Garage Rat's Avatar
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    Your training age is young meaning you haven't been training for years and years so yes IMO you could build some muscle with proper diet,smart training and plenty of rest.
    If you had started say in your teens i would say no only being able to maintain what you have.

    Strict eating habits consistent training are what you need to do.
    Gaining muscle for a "natural"guy can be a long process that requires patients.
    Pure muscle gain could be like only five pounds in a year and thats a good gain.
    It could take five years to gain ten pounds of quality muscle.
    We're not talking body weight gain but muscle gains.
    Many don't have this patients and want quick results.
    You have to be ready to go over the long haul.
    An accurate way to measure progress would be needed it could be measurements,pictures are the simplest or other methods.
    It would depend on what gains you expect also.
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  3. #3
    Registered User bflare78's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Garage Rat View Post
    Your training age is young meaning you haven't been training for years and years so yes IMO you could build some muscle with proper diet,smart training and plenty of rest.
    If you had started say in your teens i would say no only being able to maintain what you have.

    Strict eating habits consistent training are what you need to do.
    Gaining muscle for a "natural"guy can be a long process that requires patients.
    Pure muscle gain could be like only five pounds in a year and thats a good gain.
    It could take five years to gain ten pounds of quality muscle.
    We're not talking body weight gain but muscle gains.
    Many don't have this patients and want quick results.
    You have to be ready to go over the long haul.
    An accurate way to measure progress would be needed it could be measurements,pictures are the simplest or other methods.
    It would depend on what gains you expect also.
    I think there is a lot of skewed advice out there to be honest with social media etc. People saying you can add 20 to 30lb of muscle per year. I have come to the conclusion that it's more like 5 to 10 & that's the first year or 2. When I first started lifting I thought it might take a year to see major results & I got a lot of bad advise such as eat eat eat. This just led to fat gain & then months to get it back off again & a loss of strength mainly due to the fact that I just wanted to get back to a clean slate.

    My thinking now is 5 years to see some good results which you have just mentioned & that is ok as this is something I enjoy & I will not be quitting. It's like anything in life, you like to see progress & confirmation that you are doing it right.
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  4. #4
    Registered User grubman's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by bflare78 View Post
    I'm starting to think that my expectations maybe more than is achievable given my age.
    What are your expectations? You look pretty good in your avitar, and definately a big improvement over your “before” picture. I think you are on the right track for two years.

    Natural lifting for guys our size is generally about 20-40 pounds of muscle (I put on about 25), most of it obtained in the first 5 years or so, in decreasing amounts every year. But a lot of it is going to depend on your skellital size, muscle attachments, and genetics in general.

    I can only speak from personal experience, but the first 2 years were the most dramatic change for me. But even the next 6, I continue to add thickness and maturity, even if actual “mass” isn’t too impressive.

    I just took a picture this morning, and put it side by side with one I took about 8 years ago (at age 42) after about 6 months in the gym. In all honesty I thought I was looking pretty “big” and muscular at the time of the first picture after putting on about 10 pounds (140 to 150). The first year I was up about 15 pounds total, and then I put on another 10 or so over the next 7 years. It seems like no difference at all in the short term daily grind, but as you can see in the picture, the difference gradually occurs if you stay consistent.

    Now...I know I’m just a normal guy...and maybe your “expectations” are much more grande.

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  5. #5
    Registered User bflare78's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by grubman View Post
    What are your expectations? You look pretty good in your avitar, and definately a big improvement over your “before” picture. I think you are on the right track for two years.

    Natural lifting for guys our size is generally about 20-40 pounds of muscle (I put on about 25), most of it obtained in the first 5 years or so, in decreasing amounts every year. But a lot of it is going to depend on your skellital size, muscle attachments, and genetics in general.

    I can only speak from personal experience, but the first 2 years were the most dramatic change for me. But even the next 6, I continue to add thickness and maturity, even if actual “mass” isn’t too impressive.

    I just took a picture this morning, and put it side by side with one I took about 8 years ago (at age 42) after about 6 months in the gym. In all honesty I thought I was looking pretty “big” and muscular at the time of the first picture after putting on about 10 pounds (140 to 150). The first year I was up about 15 pounds total, and then I put on another 10 or so over the next 7 years. It seems like no difference at all in the short term daily grind, but as you can see in the picture, the difference gradually occurs if you stay consistent.

    Now...I know I’m just a normal guy...and maybe your “expectations” are much more grande.

    I don't think my expectations are way too high & I would be very happy to have your physique. I was a fatty at one point at around 195lb at just under 5'8". This was me then https://imgur.com/obNUqlr

    I dropped to a stupid 118lb then bulked again to 174lb then cut to 133lb which is in this pic https://imgur.com/yPfRJBV so I reckon I added around 10 to 12lb in my first year & a bit of lifting including a 5 month cut. I would like to get to around 150lb in the next few years.

    Out of interest do you have a pic from the front with your arms down?
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  6. #6
    Registered User grubman's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by bflare78 View Post
    I don't think my expectations are way too high & I would be very happy to have your physique. I was a fatty at one point at around 195lb at just under 5'8". This was me then https://imgur.com/obNUqlr

    I dropped to a stupid 118lb then bulked again to 174lb then cut to 133lb which is in this pic https://imgur.com/yPfRJBV so I reckon I added around 10 to 12lb in my first year & a bit of lifting including a 5 month cut. I would like to get to around 150lb in the next few years.

    Out of interest do you have a pic from the front with your arms down?
    I don’t think you will have any problems.

    I have some in my gallery almost from the front...I don’t have any of me just standing there, they are all kind of flexing.
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  7. #7
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    It's harder than 30 but easier than 50 (I imagine)

    If you're a natural skinny fat small frame then it's highly unlikely you'll be 200lb ripped but you can still make massive improvements

    We have to pretend the really important post 35 stuff doesn't exist, but you can find info on declining hormone output on google.
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  8. #8
    Registered User bflare78's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by grubman View Post
    I don’t think you will have any problems.

    I have some in my gallery almost from the front...I don’t have any of me just standing there, they are all kind of flexing.
    Yeah if I could achieve something like your pic dated September 15 2017 I would be very happy.
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  9. #9
    Registered User bflare78's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Halfway View Post
    It's harder than 30 but easier than 50 (I imagine)

    If you're a natural skinny fat small frame then it's highly unlikely you'll be 200lb ripped but you can still make massive improvements

    We have to pretend the really important post 35 stuff doesn't exist, but you can find info on declining hormone output on google.
    My frame is extremely small. My wrists are tiny so I will never get to over 160lb i don't think. I know my Test will be declining but I try not to think about that. As longs as it works down stairs I will forget about it haha
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  10. #10
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    Originally Posted by bflare78 View Post
    My frame is extremely small. My wrists are tiny so I will never get to over 160lb i don't think. I know my Test will be declining but I try not to think about that. As longs as it works down stairs I will forget about it haha
    Small frame can a blessing for looking bigger than you actually are

    I weigh an entire (very) small female more than you but you couldnt tell from the pics lol

    Get a blood test tho, even if we cant discuss why or the results
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  11. #11
    Registered User bflare78's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Halfway View Post
    Small frame can a blessing for looking bigger than you actually are

    I weigh an entire (very) small female more than you but you couldnt tell from the pics lol

    Get a blood test tho, even if we cant discuss why or the results
    You look big in your Avatar mate. I did get bloods done about a year ago or maybe two & they came back normal although from what I researched my Test was on the lower side. Apparently here in the UK the NHS will not look into it further if you are within what they class as normal.
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  12. #12
    Registered User grubman's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by bflare78 View Post
    Yeah if I could achieve something like your pic dated September 15 2017 I would be very happy.
    Ha ha, I weighed a whopping 156 at 5’7”, probably about 13%ish in that pic...so there you go...your expectations are not only achievable, but surpassable.
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  13. #13
    Registered User bflare78's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by grubman View Post
    Ha ha, I weighed a whopping 156 at 5’7”, probably about 13%ish in that pic...so there you go...your expectations are not only achievable, but surpassable.
    wow just goes to show that you don't have to weigh a lot to look big when your not the tallest.

    Have you concentrated on strength mainly? Any idea when your lifts were in that pic?
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  14. #14
    Registered User grubman's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by bflare78 View Post
    wow just goes to show that you don't have to weigh a lot to look big when your not the tallest.

    Have you concentrated on strength mainly? Any idea when your lifts were in that pic?
    I’ve never focused on “strength”, I’ve always been a 8-15 rep hypertrophy guy. I haven’t tried a 1 rep max since high school, ha ha, so I don’t have a clue. That’s not to say I’m not “strong” in the rep ranges I work in (you have to become stronger to get bigger) just that I’m all about making the excercises harder and feeling the muscles work.

    You might find this thread I did a couple years ago (before the big “cut”) interesting. More year by year pics for perspective.

    https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showt...3360231&page=1
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  15. #15
    Registered User bflare78's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by grubman View Post
    I’ve never focused on “strength”, I’ve always been a 8-15 rep hypertrophy guy. I haven’t tried a 1 rep max since high school, ha ha, so I don’t have a clue. That’s not to say I’m not “strong” in the rep ranges I work in (you have to become stronger to get bigger) just that I’m all about making the excercises harder and feeling the muscles work.

    You might find this thread I did a couple years ago (before the big “cut”) interesting. More year by year pics for perspective.

    https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showt...3360231&page=1
    Thanks for that it was a good read and fantastic photo comparison.

    I'm currently doing an upper lower split but concentrating on increasing my compounds. However, I do one heavy and one light day and the light day I work in the 10 to 12 range. I've only just started concentrating on really feeling the muscle work. For instance I'll do 5x10 incline bench but I'll control the descent and feel the chest work. Not sure if it's making much difference but it feels like it is.
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  16. #16
    Registered User tblodg15's Avatar
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    Is it possible to build a good amount of muscle over 40?

    Yes!

    I started at 49 after not lifting since high school. I am still working to build a good amount of muscle but I am happy with my progress. I am 5’7 and 164 in my avatar pic. But I was overweight for years and have a naturally stocky build so I was carrying a decent amount of LBM when I started.
    Last edited by tblodg15; 04-22-2019 at 06:15 AM.
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    Originally Posted by tblodg15 View Post
    Is it possible to build a good amount of muscle over 40?

    Yes!
    I hope so! LOL
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    Originally Posted by tblodg15 View Post
    Is it possible to build a good amount of muscle over 40?

    Yes!

    I started at 49 after not lifting since high school. I am still working to build a good amount of muscle but I am happy with my progress. I am 5’7 and 164 in my avatar pic. But I was overweight for years and have a naturally stocky build so I was carrying a decent amount of LBM when I started.
    Drop the link to the video!
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  19. #19
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    Originally Posted by bflare78 View Post
    Thanks for that it was a good read and fantastic photo comparison.

    I'm currently doing an upper lower split but concentrating on increasing my compounds. However, I do one heavy and one light day and the light day I work in the 10 to 12 range.
    I think working to progress on the compound lifts in the 5 rep range or so is a great approach to try and put on muscle mass. That is exactly what I have been doing for the last 6 months since I came out of the long term calorie deficit.

    I also think have a heavy day and a lighter day with a little higher rep range is a great approach for those of us in our 40’s and beyond to provide volume and recovery at the same time. I am doing sets of 5 on my heavy day and sets of 8 with a paused bench press and paused squat on my medium day. On the accessories or isolation exercises I work in the 12-18 rep range.
    Bodybuilding is much more than an hour in the gym a few days a week---it's a lifestyle that changes all your perceptions about how to live, eat, and rest. It feeds the mind as much (and sometimes more so) than the body.
    ~Originally posted by ironwill2008
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  20. #20
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    Originally Posted by grubman View Post
    Drop the link to the video!
    Yes sir!
    https://youtu.be/shFevG6T5_4
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  21. #21
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    Originally Posted by tblodg15 View Post
    I think working to progress on the compound lifts in the 5 rep range or so is a great approach to try and put on muscle mass. That is exactly what I have been doing for the last 6 months since I came out of the long term calorie deficit.

    I also think have a heavy day and a lighter day with a little higher rep range is a great approach for those of us in our 40’s and beyond to provide volume and recovery at the same time. I am doing sets of 5 on my heavy day and sets of 8 with a paused bench press and paused squat on my medium day. On the accessories or isolation exercises I work in the 12-18 rep range.
    Yeah I'm following 5/3/1 BBB for my compounds so one heavy day bench with light 5x10 OHP then heavy OHP with light 5x10 bench. Same for squats and deads then a few isolation in the 10 to 12 range. I tried two heavy days but I couldn't recover and it messed my joints up.

    Fantastic process by the way and great video!
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    Registered User bflare78's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Spankuh View Post
    I hope so! LOL
    looking good in your avatar mate!

    I'm sure it's possible. I'm just having one of those periods when you think you're not progressing much and every one in the gym look big.
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    Yes, it is possible. I started at 40. Prior to that I did lots of cardio with some 'fitness lifting'. A little over 5 yrs later, I am now bigger and stronger. I was 180 lbs, and am now 206 lbs with the same size waist. I will agree with Grubman that most of my gains came within the first 2-3 years, but I am still adding strength and size 5 yrs later. It is just MUUUUUCH slower now.
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    I put on much of my muscle after 40 and I'm a woman, so yes, you can definitely do it. Doesn't mean you'll get super huge, but you can definitely make a dramatic change in your appearance.
    Follow my 2018 competition prep here:
    https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=175566421&p=1547462721#post1547462721
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    Been stronger every year since I turned 40 so yes, just the injuries and wear on the body starts to add up train smart!
    My journal, not detailed, but heck I never keep track of much anyhow. http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=121196291&p=863931421#post863931421

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    Originally Posted by drkelly74 View Post
    Yes, it is possible. I started at 40. Prior to that I did lots of cardio with some 'fitness lifting'. A little over 5 yrs later, I am now bigger and stronger. I was 180 lbs, and am now 206 lbs with the same size waist. I will agree with Grubman that most of my gains came within the first 2-3 years, but I am still adding strength and size 5 yrs later. It is just MUUUUUCH slower now.
    Good work! Just on a separate note. Is maintaining the same waist size a good indication of adding muscle rather than fat? I have added around 8lb in weight since November 2018 at a rate of around 0.5lb per week & my waist size is still the same. I don't measure my waist I go by the fitment of my work trousers & belt notches. I know this sounds like a crude way of gauging but it seems to give me a good indication.
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    Originally Posted by sy2502 View Post
    I put on much of my muscle after 40 and I'm a woman, so yes, you can definitely do it. Doesn't mean you'll get super huge, but you can definitely make a dramatic change in your appearance.
    Well done I am just going to keep on going.
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    Originally Posted by polishedball View Post
    Been stronger every year since I turned 40 so yes, just the injuries and wear on the body starts to add up train smart!
    I am stronger & look drastically better than I did when I was in my 20's but yeah I have noticed I have to be mindful of my form more to prevent injuries.
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    Originally Posted by bflare78 View Post
    Good work! Just on a separate note. Is maintaining the same waist size a good indication of adding muscle rather than fat? I have added around 8lb in weight since November 2018 at a rate of around 0.5lb per week & my waist size is still the same. I don't measure my waist I go by the fitment of my work trousers & belt notches. I know this sounds like a crude way of gauging but it seems to give me a good indication.
    It seems to be for me too. I am wearing the same pants with my belt in the same notch as I was 5 yrs ago.
    Whenever I attempt a very mild bulk, my belt will begin to get tight or I may even have to let it out one notch. I then back off the food just a little and my waist comes back in to where it was. Generally I let the mirror be my first guide, and my belt/pants be my second.

    8 lbs since Nov of last year is some solid progress!
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    Originally Posted by drkelly74 View Post
    It seems to be for me too. I am wearing the same pants with my belt in the same notch as I was 5 yrs ago.
    Whenever I attempt a very mild bulk, my belt will begin to get tight or I may even have to let it out one notch. I then back off the food just a little and my waist comes back in to where it was. Generally I let the mirror be my first guide, and my belt/pants be my second.

    8 lbs since Nov of last year is some solid progress!
    My belt today seems just a bit on the tight side so like you I will ease off a bit. Normally it's when I have had a lot of carbs which I tend to do on a Saturday.

    Thanks man. Yeah I am happy with the 8lbs. I think I lost a bit of muscle when I did my last 5 month cut & lost 40lb so I have got back what I lost & my lifts have only just reached where they were before although I am 40lb lighter so I am pretty happy with that. I will NEVER dirty bulk again haha
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