We can prevent muscle loss into advanced age; staying strong in late life has massive benefits, and most seniors can do it.
Countless studies with men and women, even into their hundreds, show that resistance or weight training increases strength at any age. A sedentary person who trains with progressive resistance always gets stronger, regardless of age. A person who exercises regularly will still gain strength by increasing the resistance progressively, as long as sufficient time is allowed for complete recovery, healing and regrowth. This time for complete healing is a major unappreciated factor in the outcome of weight training.
When an older person shows up at a gym and hires a trainer, they are typically put on a 3 times/week routine guaranteed to prevent significant muscle growth and over-stress their systemic recovery process. Not enough time is allowed for repair and growth. In my seventies, I have used up to 28 days between working the same muscle sets, with the result that today I have greater leg strength than at any time in my life.
A month before my 74th birthday, I was able to put nine 45 lb plates on each side of our inclined leg press (810 lb) and bang out three reps, for the very first time.
I use a three-day split routine: Pushing on day 1, Pulling on day 2 and Legs on day 3. I work out 2 days per week, usually on Mondays and Thursdays. I alternate between a heavy, low-rep day using my maximum loads in each of these workouts, and a high-rep day using loads that yield about 30 reps to failure. this low-load, high-rep day gets my heart rate and breathing to max, much like doing sprint intervals. So the spacing between heavy, max load workouts is 21 days. This is critical for allowing the body to respond to the increasing stress, and fully recover, repair and grow stronger. My new record is after a series of heavy leg days, working every other leg day (3 weeks apart) using 8 plates per side. Over several months I was able to advance from a prior best of 6 reps up to 10 reps, after which it made some sense (for crazy people like me) to jump to 9 plates.
Understand that this regimen also includes eating pro-anabolic foods, taking daily protein and other bodybuilding supplements (Creatine Nitrate for one), and taking an array of botanicals that boost free testosterone production. I don’t take any performance enhancing drugs or hormones at this point except for 50 mg of DHEA/day, a substrate for building testosterone internally and naturally.
If you are reading this from our email, there are some interesting articles on muscle growth that follow; if not, see http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-02/csp-bum020413.php and http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-07/gdp-etl073113.php
Good Living – Frank