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Genetic Potential and the Effects of Age
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hit4me

Florida, USA

I was on my way home from work today and I was thinking about genetic potential and the effects of age
I am not there yet, so this does not apply to me personally, however I am curious as to what kind of routines do you all switch to or have your clients switch to when they have reached their genetic potential when it comes to muscle size, strength, muscularity and definition.
And any new routine does not add anything due to your body reaching its genetic potential
And what happens when, as you age into your senior years, obviously you are not gonna get any stronger and your muscles will not get any fuller no matter what routine you perform, if you have been training all your life.
Just curious to the experienced lifters, how do you make any progress ....or is just maintenance?
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Brian Johnston

Ontario, CAN

Of course it's eventually maintenance... all factors are finite... strength... muscle... conditioning. How can ANYONE progress forever to age 100 or what have you?
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entsminger

Virginia, USA

==Scott==
I think a key thing to remember is that unless you have trained very consistently and smart through out your years how do you know you have actually reached your true potential? I'm sure there's some on here who have exhausted all avenues of getting stronger and bigger through years of constant vigilance but I'd just guess that many or most on here have not done that.I've been training off and on for 40 years but I suspect I have not come close to my full potential because I didn't train as I should to reach my full potential.How many out there can honestly say they did? I'm almost 65 now and I'm sure I could still break my past best in size and strength if I got serious enough to stick to a smart routine for at least a year or so and baring illness or injury I'd guess I could at 70 as well?
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hit4me

Florida, USA

Brian Johnston wrote:
Of course it's eventually maintenance... all factors are finite... strength... muscle... conditioning. How can ANYONE progress forever to age 100 or what have you?


makes me want to believe that in our senior years we could train full body almost everyday (not failure or heavy) just to keep everthing moving and the joints well oiled...of course you would vary the exercises everyday
your opinion? and how do you train your senior clients (not asking for any of your secrets as you are in the personal training business)
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Brian Johnston

Ontario, CAN

Daily wear on the joints is not ideal when it comes to wearing the joints... osteoarthritis, etc. There needs to be sufficient activity, sure, but I don't think more exercise with lighter weights is the answer.
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entsminger

Virginia, USA

hit4me wrote:
Brian Johnston wrote:
Of course it's eventually maintenance... all factors are finite... strength... muscle... conditioning. How can ANYONE progress forever to age 100 or what have you?

makes me want to believe that in our senior years we could train full body almost everyday (not failure or heavy) just to keep everthing moving and the joints well oiled...of course you would vary the exercises everyday
your opinion? and how do you train your senior clients (not asking for any of your secrets as you are in the personal training business)


==Scott==
I don't know about every day but as I get older the idea of some kind of exercise almost daily to be much more attractive than kick ass twice or three times a week workouts but I guess that also depends on the lifestyle you lead. Some folks are out and about working in the yard or hiking or doing some kinds of sports that as you say keeps the joints lubed and heart pumping but some folks just sit and watch TV. If your one of those who just sit I'd advise some kind of exercise to get the heart and muscles working almost every day.
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Turpin

Just my opinion , BUT the day you stop trying to realise progress ( whatever your age ) is the beginning of the slippery slope to atrophy and diminishing strength.
Once you begin to train to `maintain` THAT maintenance level of performance soon becomes top end and difficult.

T.
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perrymk

hit4me wrote:
how do you make any progress ....or is just maintenance?


At 51 I'm not exactly a senior citizen but certainly not a young man either.

For me it's a combination of maintenance and progress. First, I am foremost about being healthy and fit enough to enjoy life. Things like walking regularly are at least as important as lifting more weight.

I usually focus on developing one strength aspect at a time, trying to maintain or at least not lose too much from the others. Right now it is pullups. This means my focus is not on chest or legs or other body parts. I still do chest and leg work, just chest and legs are more maintenance while I focus my energies on doing more pullups. Incidentally, my legs seem to be maintaining and even improving slightly from my last lay-off.

I also step back my weights and gradually increase after a layoff, even a short layoff. As an example. I didn't work out for about 10 days while on vacation in Scotland a couple of months ago. Plenty of walking but no weights. So when I got back I decided to start back relatively light and build back up slowly. This is my way of cycling my workouts.

Hiking is my sport of choice and I am section hiking the Florida National Scenic Trail. Winter is hiking season here in Florida and I just did my first section of the season last weekend (though its still a bit warm). So this will again cut into my weights workouts.

So there is no misunderstanding. In my heart I still want a Mr. America physique, but my head knows this is not likely and never has been. So I scale my workouts back a bit to avoid injury (had enough of that) but when I'm working out I'm pushing, usually to or close to failure. This is not a training protocol; this is just my nature.

Inside I'm still 18 and expecting I could wake up in army basic training again, but the reality is my body just doesn't handle the excessive training like it once did. And I was never particularly big and strong anyway, though I was and still am fit. Could use to drop a few pounds but my chest is bigger than my stomach so I look OK in a shirt (smile).

If it matters, my endurance was probably best from my teens through early 20s and my weightlifting strength probably peaked in my early to mid 30s.

I hope that helps answer your question, and at least gives you one perspective.

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msgtcsar

I think moderation is the key. Doing a lot of weighted and one arm chins at 50 created elbow problems. Sawing wood at 60 to see how long I could go before giving out created a problem where the triceps connects to elbow. Using a pick ax 5 days a week at 61 built hand and arm strength like never before but it created slight wrist problems.I find doing nothing makes everything worse. It is very hard to scale back.I hope to take my own advice.Also see people my ago who have done very little physically that can't pick a pencil up off the floor.
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backtrack

I think it only stands to reason that as we get older the body and the mind literally slow down. But it's also the case that as soon as we stop we go downhill much much quicker. The older I get the more I believe muscles like the mind must be coaxed and not forced.
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Crotalus

Turpin wrote:
Just my opinion , BUT the day you stop trying to realise progress ( whatever your age ) is the beginning of the slippery slope to atrophy and diminishing strength.
Once you begin to train to `maintain` THAT maintenance level of performance soon becomes top end and difficult.

T.


Absolutely agree with your views on this .... more great advice !
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Average Al

I agree with Scott: unless you trained consistently and effectively (what ever that means) for a long time, starting in your teens, you aren?t likely to have ever achieved your true genetic potential. Of course, starting at any age, there will be an upper limit to what you can achieve from that starting point, and over time that upper limit will decline.

I suppose most who post here would also agree that, just because your current routine has stopped producing gains, that doesn?t mean you?ve hit your genetic potential. It could also mean that you just need to introduce some kind of variation in the overload you are providing, via changes intensity, volume, or recovery.

Turpin is correct that as soon as you start settling for maintenance instead of progress, you will likely not bring the same intensity to the game; over time, that maintenance level will become harder to maintain. However, that doesn?t mean that if you just continue to go at it hard, that you can maintain forever. I suspect that for most people who are really giving it their all regularly, injuries will be the events that trigger the inevitable decline: you tweak a muscle or injure a joint, or you get sick, or can?t train for any number of other reasons. Then, after a layoff, you find that you just can?t quite get back to where you were before.

From what I read in the literature on aging and physical performance, you have the following factors to contend with:

1) You start to lose type 2 muscle fiber.

2) Your ability to produce explosive force declines.

3) Connective tissue gets less elastic, more brittle, more prone to injury.

4) Depending on individual circumstances and genetics, joints begin to deteriorate.

5) Your ability to recover from physical stresses declines (you can?t do as much hard work)

6) Your ability to utilize oxygen (VO2 max) declines.

With regard to points 1 and 2, something neurological seems to happen. For some reason, your nervous system can?t recruit and fire the big FT muscle fiber quite as efficiently. Once these large units aren?t being fired, they tend to convert to ST fiber, and there is a noticeable loss of ability to produce power, more so than would be explained by loss of muscle mass. Some people have theorized that explosive movements might help to forestall this process. But explosive movements become riskier due to items 3 and 4. And it hasn't been proved to work. Master's levels olympic lifters experience large drops in explosive strength as they get older, even with regular training.

Exercise can, to some extent, slow many of these declines. But nothing can stop it. Just look at the declines in performance that are seen in Master?s sporting events.

As to specific advice:

1) Recognize that volume will need to be scaled back as you get older, and more recovery will be needed.

2) Try to keep the intensity of effort and load as high as you can, while scaling back volume. But be cautious about overdoing load because of the potential for injuries. The specifics will probably depend on the kind of equipment you have and the kinds of exercises you prefer.

3) Protect your joints.

4) Be realistic, and understand that decline is inevitable. Don?t bust yourself up trying to prove otherwise.
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Nwlifter

Just 2 things...

Older people dont' lose type 2 fibers, older people usually exercise less and their fibers atrophy, but they don't
go a way'.

T2 fibers never convert to type 1 fibers. they are genetically different. A type 2 fiber can become slower or fast (type IIa,IIb,IIc,), but I and 2's are different and cannot become one or the other.



Average Al wrote:
I agree with Scott: unless you trained consistently and effectively (what ever that means) for a long time, starting in your teens, you aren?t likely to have ever achieved your true genetic potential. Of course, starting at any age, there will be an upper limit to what you can achieve from that starting point, and over time that upper limit will decline.

I suppose most who post here would also agree that, just because your current routine has stopped producing gains, that doesn?t mean you?ve hit your genetic potential. It could also mean that you just need to introduce some kind of variation in the overload you are providing, via changes intensity, volume, or recovery.

Turpin is correct that as soon as you start settling for maintenance instead of progress, you will likely not bring the same intensity to the game; over time, that maintenance level will become harder to maintain. However, that doesn?t mean that if you just continue to go at it hard, that you can maintain forever. I suspect that for most people who are really giving it their all regularly, injuries will be the events that trigger the inevitable decline: you tweak a muscle or injure a joint, or you get sick, or can?t train for any number of other reasons. Then, after a layoff, you find that you just can?t quite get back to where you were before.

From what I read in the literature on aging and physical performance, you have the following factors to contend with:

1) You start to lose type 2 muscle fiber.

2) Your ability to produce explosive force declines.

3) Connective tissue gets less elastic, more brittle, more prone to injury.

4) Depending on individual circumstances and genetics, joints begin to deteriorate.

5) Your ability to recover from physical stresses declines (you can?t do as much hard work)

6) Your ability to utilize oxygen (VO2 max) declines.

With regard to points 1 and 2, something neurological seems to happen. For some reason, your nervous system can?t recruit and fire the big FT muscle fiber quite as efficiently. Once these large units aren?t being fired, they tend to convert to ST fiber, and there is a noticeable loss of ability to produce power, more so than would be explained by loss of muscle mass. Some people have theorized that explosive movements might help to forestall this process. But explosive movements become riskier due to items 3 and 4. And it hasn't been proved to work. Master's levels olympic lifters experience large drops in explosive strength as they get older, even with regular training.

Exercise can, to some extent, slow many of these declines. But nothing can stop it. Just look at the declines in performance that are seen in Master?s sporting events.

As to specific advice:

1) Recognize that volume will need to be scaled back as you get older, and more recovery will be needed.

2) Try to keep the intensity of effort and load as high as you can, while scaling back volume. But be cautious about overdoing load because of the potential for injuries. The specifics will probably depend on the kind of equipment you have and the kinds of exercises you prefer.

3) Protect your joints.

4) Be realistic, and understand that decline is inevitable. Don?t bust yourself up trying to prove otherwise.


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Average Al

For those who are interested in the neural aspects of declining strength:

http://www.bio.unipd.it/...4-3/Carlson.pdf

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Frank Scott

In this south west corner of England, mobility in the ageing is what needs attention, too many using disability carriages.Work on mobility and flexibility, and keep the weight down- your waist measurement matters more than your upper arm (if it ever was important).
There are no aged obese people, they are dead
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entsminger

Virginia, USA

==Scott==
If everyone on here including myself trained over the long run with the purpose and never ceasing determination and consistency that Turpin has there wouldn't be any need to come on here seeking advice. They would be about the best they could be.
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Crotalus

entsminger wrote:
==Scott==
If everyone on here including myself trained over the long run with the purpose and never ceasing determination and consistency that Turpin has there wouldn't be any need to come on here seeking advice. They would be about the best they could be.


Have to disagree with you here, Scott. If you're really into something and even very accomplished at it , you will always be looking to learn more and improve.

When you cease to learn and grow you it's the beginning of the end.
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entsminger

Virginia, USA

Crotalus wrote:
entsminger wrote:
==Scott==
If everyone on here including myself trained over the long run with the purpose and never ceasing determination and consistency that Turpin has there wouldn't be any need to come on here seeking advice. They would be about the best they could be.

Have to disagree with you here, Scott. If you're really into something and even very accomplished at it , you will always be looking to learn more and improve.

When you cease to learn and grow you it's the beginning of the end.


==Scott==
I have nothing against learning as I work for a school system but it's my belief that rather than a lack of exercise knowledge most on here don't put forth the real effort and consistency to get the results they want.They'd rather talk sets and reps and look for some easy route than actually doing it.Turpin has found what works for him through trial and error and blood and guts not by arguing to no end one set vrs 3 sets or whatever. If you're really out there trying different methods and sticking to what works for you all these same lame discussions on here wouldn't keep cropping up.Do what Brian suggests, vary your applications, try different stuff and it shouldn't take long for you to see what actually works best for you.
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hit4me

Florida, USA

Turpin wrote:
Just my opinion , BUT the day you stop trying to realise progress ( whatever your age ) is the beginning of the slippery slope to atrophy and diminishing strength.
Once you begin to train to `maintain` THAT maintenance level of performance soon becomes top end and difficult.

T.


I love that opinion, gives me more incentive to try to progress
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Bill Sekerak

California, USA

I'm definitely up there in age and I'm pretty sure I've " peaked " several times since the 60s when I first started lifting.
Even now I still strive to move as much resistance as I can in good form for as many reps as I can within certain parameters as per perceived and known muscle fiber type and recovery ability, with one set per about 10-12 exercises.
I'm other words I'm still doing double progressive exercise with a program based on Arthur Jones final conclusions.
No warm up other than the relatively slow first few reps of the set taken to failure.
Over time the amount of resistance has gone down very gradually so far.
For instance when I was in my mid 40s I was doing single leg , leg extensions negative only with 275 on a Nautilus leg extension for around 10 good reps.
The stack only went to 250 so I pinned a 25 lb plate on the stack.
Now I am doing Negative Accentuated. with 280 on the MedX leg extension for about 14 total reps.
Let me point out that I'm certain that the 280 on the MedX leg extension is not equivalent to 280 on the Nautilus leg extension.
The 280 is probably closer to 230 on the Nautilus machine ( early 80s model. ).
So I know I'm not as strong as I used to be but I still train almost exactly like I did when I first started just less resistance and I can't rush from station to station like I used to.
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