Ask the Ageless Lifter: What Power Commonplace Ought to I Goal For?

Q: Are there any helpful or game-changing power requirements for over-40 women and men?

That is such a helpful query that I will sort out it, though my reply could depart a few of my readers dissatisfied. However let’s take a stab at it.

My first thought is that we should always ask ourselves why we’re looking for such requirements within the first place. My take: We love requirements as a result of it provides us one thing to shoot for, and in addition as a result of it is a approach for us to rank ourselves with respect to our friends. If you are able to do one pull-up and your pal cannot do any, effectively, that claims one thing about the place you “stand,” proper?


The issue nevertheless, is that there are lots of traits that have to be thought of after we’re making an attempt to evaluate who our “friends” are. Age and intercourse are two of the obvious, however we additionally want to contemplate top and weight. Digging deeper, there’s orthopedic historical past, coaching background, fiber-type dominance, and common well being, simply to call a couple of of the extra related issues.

All of a sudden, selecting an goal normal out of the combo is a reasonably large problem. So, let’s dig deeper into what can be a philosophical query, however one which I need to handle actually and usefully.

The Huge Draw of Huge Lifts

Let’s take a really generally used normal and consider it for the sake of dialogue.

Many coaches will state that you simply’re “sturdy” should you can deadlift two instances your physique weight. Superficially, I are likely to agree. Should you take the whole human inhabitants, definitely lower than 1 p.c may pull double their physique weight for a single rep (though nearly all of those that can will in all probability be younger males). So from this common standpoint, I like the usual.

Now, should you’re over 40 and might pull double your physique weight, it is much more significant, in fact. Over 50, even higher. Personally, at age 59, I can pull double physique weight for 10 reps, in order that appears tremendous sturdy, I suppose. However my different lifts, such because the bench press, are far much less spectacular. I simply occur to be deadlifter, for no matter purpose.

I believe you possibly can already begin to respect the complexity of this query. Because of this, I have a tendency to consider power requirements in a realistic and private approach, fairly than worrying an excessive amount of about how “legitimate” the usual is or is not. In my case, I generally take a look at the powerlifting lifter classifications simply to see how I stack up relative to uncooked aggressive powerlifters who’re my intercourse and physique weight. In fact, I am a lot older than open-class lifters, so I take this into consideration, however I exploit this as a solution to encourage myself. And if it serves that function, then these requirements have utility for me.


If, then again, you do not have a lot expertise doing the three powerlifts, or should you merely focus your power coaching elsewhere, these requirements wouldn’t be related or helpful for you. The query is, what can be?

If You are Getting Stronger, You are Robust

This is a normal that I believe has essentially the most utility for over-40 lifters: The overwhelming majority of individuals age 40 and up are bodily declining. Because of this should you’re at the moment getting stronger—even when solely very steadily—you are “sturdy.” Actually, even should you’re simply sustaining, you are approach forward of your friends.

I typically comment to my shoppers that regardless of how sturdy you’re, you may all the time discover people who find themselves stronger. For instance, I am proud that I can deadlift 405 kilos for 10 reps, however the different day I watched a video of Larry Wheels pulling an unreal set of 700 for 10. Certain, he’s a lot youthful and greater than me, however nonetheless—700 for 10?!

All of this merely means that you’re greatest served by largely evaluating your self in opposition to your present talents. We’re both enhancing, sustaining, or declining.

If tomorrow you get a brand new lifetime private document on pull-ups, you are stronger than you ever have been. Even when that PR is only one rep! And should you’re over 40, that makes your accomplishment much more significant. For me, that is the one significant normal.

Is Power Actually Your Greatest Weak spot?

I will depart you with one remaining consideration: Sure, it is tremendous invaluable to be sturdy, however inadequate power might not be your Achilles heel by way of total bodily capability. You could be tremendous sturdy, however have poor cardiovascular capability or mobility. A lot of your well being markers could also be unhealthy, even when your PRs are respectable.

If that is so, your well being, longevity, and total high quality of life might be higher served by first addressing no matter your best bodily deficiency occurs to be. That, in flip, won’t solely make it easier to get sturdy, it is going to make it easier to really feel sturdy.

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