Heavy weightlifting programs using old-school techniques like deadlifts, curls, chest presses, squats, and pull-ups are springing up in gyms everywhere. It has been a successful technique for building muscle and strength and with minimal equipment needed, it can be used easily as a long-term fitness option.
As with any other fitness program, the benefits also come with some risks, which can increase as we age.
To see if heavy weightlifting is a good choice for those over the age of 50, we sought an expert’s opinion.
I’m 58-years of age, and I quit lifting substantial loads 12 years back. I was 46 at that point, and I quit in light of the fact that I was simply getting drained.
My heart just wasn’t it anymore. Lifting heavy weights to bulk up is great for younger people. They focus on improving their bodies, and some choose weightlifting thinking it will attract the ladies. Others do it to intimidate others.
I started weightlifting at 11, but I didn’t have any clue what I was doing until I was in my late 20s. I just lifted weights because I was a smaller person and wanted to compensate for that. When I was 34, I became a volunteer fireman, and because I wanted to be able to rescue people of all sizes, including people bigger than me, I began to lift heavier weights to be up to that challenge. After doing that for 12 years, I quit being a fireman, and I lost interest in lifting weights.
I was burned out going to the gym all the time, stacking plates on to the bars and stressing myself out as I worked to finish my reps and sets. I spent so much time preparing my meals ahead of time to ensure I was getting enough protein, and I was burned out on all the horseshit that accompanies that. I was just tired of being obsessed with my own body and feeling driven to endless self-improvement.
So, I quit. I quit doing all of it. I started lifting weights some at home, but my routine has shifted to include other forms of exercise including yoga. I do some weight lifting still, and I spend a lot of my energy doing trail riding on my bicycle.
I lost 20 pounds and stopped wearing tight fitting clothes. I looked better and felt better, too. I’m more flexible now than when I was in my 20s. If I could go back and do things again, I would have stayed away from heavy lifting. It can become an obsession, and it can also have negative impacts on the body.
This is one man’s experience of lifting over 50. Generally speaking, lifting weights at an older age might not be the best exercise when considering the risks. But if you are older and still lift without any adverse effects, then keep it up and do what works for you.