According to the science, strength peaks at the age of 25, plateaus through to around your mid-thirties and then begins its steady decline. You can expect to see a reduction of 25 percent of your peak strength by the time you’re 65.
With this in mind, at what age should I stop lifting heavy weights? Well, the good news is, that science, in this case, isn’t all it’s cracked to be. And the answer might not be what you were expecting.
At What Age Should I Stop Lifting Heavy Weights?
So, that initial snippet of science works around the basis that your metabolism slows down as you get older. This doesn’t just mean that it gets harder to burn fat. Think of your metabolism as all the chemical reactions that help keep your body alive.
Secondly, there’s something called Sarcopenia. If you don’t already know, sarcopenia is basically age-related muscle-loss. The average adult loses three to eight percent of muscle every decade after 30.
The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism, and the higher your metabolism the easier it is to build lean muscle. So when these decrease together, we have a problem.
I know what you’re thinking. I’m not exactly the bearer of good news right now. But what if I told you that the number 1 contributing factor to sarcopenia was inactivity. What if I told you that you can choose to interject at any point you wish.
The answer to the question ‘at what age should I stop lifting weights?’ is never.
How Muscle Building Works
The science on how the body loses muscle as you get older it just that. So let’s look at the science of the body builds muscle.
When you lift heavy weights you damage the muscle fibers through a process called hypertrophy. Once you’re finished working out, the body repairs the tears in muscle fibers by fusing them together. This is what makes you get bigger and stronger.
So, in order to continue growing you have to continue putting your muscles under stress. As they get bigger, they need to be met with either an increasing load or volume to continue growing.
Other Factors for Consideration
Its almost that simple, but there are a few other factors at play.
One is your hormones. Testosterone is chiefly responsible for the amount of muscle you build. This is why women find it more difficult to gain muscle mass than men.
As you get older your testosterone levels will not be what they were when you were 25, so it will be harder to build more muscle mass.
Harder is not the same as impossible though.
Any experienced weight-lifter will tell you just how important nutrition is. In order to fuel resistance-based workouts in such a way that you have the necessary energy to lift more weight than you did last time, you need to be eating well.
In order for your body to facilitate the repair of the muscles in such a way that they grow stronger, you need to be eating well.
If you’re lifting heavy weights then your body needs a diet that will be sure to fuel it
If you’re lifting heavy weights and not getting enough protein, you’ll soon be plagued by aches and pains, and eventually injury.
No one walked into a gym and attempted a heavy squat and got injured just because they were over 50.
Following a lifting program is a must for anyone who is serious about lifting heavy weights. It will ensure that you gain strength and muscle at a steady rate by following guidelines as to how often you exercise and how you increase the intensity of your workouts.
If you can bench press 40kg right now, and you try and bench 100kg tomorrow, the chances are you’re going to get injured.
Finding a way of mapping out goals and monitoring your progress is a must when considering weight training
Using a fitness app can certainly help you track your progress in the gym and ensure you’re following a training regimen that is tailored to you.
A Word on Form
The biggest cause of injury when it comes to lifting heavy weights is incorrect form. Training progressively allows your body to get used to the mechanics of each movement whilst under lighter loads that get progressively heavier.
If you’re new to lifting weights, be sure to utilize the expertise of a personal trainer or an experienced lifter to ensure you are using the correct form.
Incorrect form might not necessarily cause you noticeable problems in the beginning, but if you are planning on progressive weight training then form becomes increasingly important as the loads get heavier.
Is Weight Training Right for Me?
So, now you know what to do. Let’s get on with the motivational part. Why should you do it?
Increase in Strength & Endurance
Most mobility issues experienced later in life are caused by a reduction in strength and endurance. Lifting weights means your muscle tissue has to develop to match the demands placed on it in the gym, but the benefits don’t end there.
Maintaining and building strength will help maintain independence as you get older. Not only that but if you are building muscle then you can’t be losing it! Strength training is the number one combatant against sarcopenia.
Increase Brain Health
Being active is a well-known remedy for poor mental health, but there is something extra-special about weight training. The over-coming resistance aspect of weight training helps boost confidence.
Heavy weight training also helps the body produce testosterone, which can play a big part in wellbeing, as well as sexual health and immune system function.
Time to Hit the Gym
Use it or lose it, is the take-home message here.
If you’ve been asking yourself ‘At what age should I stop lifting heavy weights?’ then your answer is never.
Be safe, check your form. Increase intensity at a steady rate to avoid injury. Give yourself enough rest time between sessions to make sure you recover and ensure you get your nutritional needs met.
For more tips on how to stay strong and benefit from strength training take a look at the rest of our site. Choose the StrongPath.