Most everyone knows that strength training is important if you want a strong body and a nicely-muscled physique, but it’s also important for many other non-cosmetic reasons.
A study published by a German science journal pointed out the numerous benefits of strength training for aging gracefully and healthily, including: reduction of age related muscle loss, increase in muscle strength and mass (as the trainee in this story, demonstrates in the gym), reduction in the loss of bone density, and improvement in posture and coordination (which helps decrease the likelihood of falls).
Now before you start thinking: “it’s probably too late for me,” or “the gym is for muscle heads,” or “the weight room is intimidating,” I’d like you to introduce Tom, a client of mine for over 6 months, who is  76 years young.

The author with Tom, strength training athlete, Age 76


Tom’s also no weakling; he never retreats from the barbell or heavy dumbbells (I wouldn’t let him anyway). Although we began our training program with higher repetition ranges, simpler exercises, floor routines, and machines and bands (as opposed to free weights), we now lift with significant intensity, using compound movements and free weights.
As the journal article points out, improvements in strength capacity were noted with high intensity weight training (>75% of the individual’s maximal strength capacity, or somewhere around the 8 to 12 repetition range).
Moral of the story?
Relatively heavier weight training (over time) triggers higher increases in strength than training at a medium or low intensity (e.g., 20 repetitions in a given set).
It’s always nice to have the reassurance of German bilingual science journals and all, but it’s even more interesting to see the hard work and results in the flesh. Tom’s exercise journal (a sample of his gains is shown below) demonstrated impressive gains in muscle strength over the course of 6 months. We’re talking strength gains over 100% in a number of lifts. Impressive is an understatement!
Tom strength trained with me 2-3/week, for 30 minutes, using full body workouts to achieve these results. If you’re over 65 or you think you’re “too old” to get in the gym and see results, Tom’s training log will inspire you to get to the gym. It’s never too late to start. You too can get stronger with age!

Leg pressing 160 lbs x 12. Check out the depth of the press!


Leg Pressing 260 lbs x 11 reps
Leg Pressing 260 lbs x 12 reps
Leg Press: Starting weight 45 lbs x 20 reps, ending 160 lbs x 12 reps.
Leg Extension: Starting weight 60 lbs x 20 reps, ending 120 lbs x 12 reps.
Leg Curl: Starting weight 60 lbs x 20 reps, ending 135 lbs x 12 reps.
Bench press: Starting weight 45 lbs x 20 reps, ending 75 lbs x 12 reps.
Incline DB Press: Starting weight 15 lbs x 15 reps, ending 25 lbs x 12 reps.
Seated Cable Row: Starting weight 60 lbs x 13 reps, ending 90 lbs x 12 reps.

Sumi Singh is a Personal Trainer in Austin, TX, an online diet coach, and the author of Stay at Home Strong. She can be contacted for personalized diet coaching at sumi@shailafitness.com.

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5 Comments

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  1. Pat 6 years ago

    It’s great to see someone starting as a beginner in his 70’s and getting awesome results.
    And Rod’s results goes to prove strength training / bodybuilding etc etc is a fantastic life long lifestyle choice.

    • Teknik 6 years ago

      OUTSTANDING!
      It’s NEVER to late to start a healthy lifstyle.

  2. Eldon L Raison 6 years ago

    Hey Will, hope you’re doing well. Once again you hit home for the every day man (or woman). I’m about to turn 57 and have been training snce my early 20’s. Within this past year, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. The radiation was no big deal and I traiined every day right after my treatments. But the post surgery was a different story. It was many weeks before I could lift again. Had two infections and some other minor glitches I had to work through. The first week was really tough and I actually considered quitting my lifting. Some said to go easy and just stay fit. Honestly, it’s not my way. Looking back now, I believe it was prayer, good food and the weight room that got me almost back to normal. I’ll be taking Flowmax for a long time. Had a shot prior to anything to nullify my body’s androgens. My test went from 856ng to 20 in two weeks. As of my latest blood work a week ago, it’s still real low, but, every other enzyme with the exception of my LDL was perfect. I have also added some extra pounds that bother me and was no fault of my own. Normally I do little cardio and never too intense. I too was one of those who was taught to use a moderate heart rate to lose unwanted weight. From what I’ve just shared, where should I be aiming my heart rate and for how long? I appreciate your articles and videos. Any help you can give is greatly appreciated. Thanks Will.

  3. John Rigby 6 years ago

    Hi Will,
    First, thanks for all your interesting/informative downloads. Don’t stop sending them.
    About age sport.
    Last November I entered my first INBA competition, the Queensland State Titles. Then in January, I had my 86th birthday. This October I am going in my first INBA Australian Nationals. Don’t mortgage your house to come and see me compete, I am a skinny ectomorph (yes. they do exist) who looks as if he needs a feed, very soon before he blows away in the next wind change. In 2011, I entered my most recent gymnastics masters comp, Australian Masters Games, in two apparatus, two different types of trampoline. Next comp in that series is in 2015. Coming November I’m entered for athletics in the Australian Masters Games: half marathon, 5 km run, 8 km cross-country and 2 km steeplechase.

  4. Manohar Bhargava 6 years ago

    I am 76.3 years old and in great spirits.I have Blood pressure since 1974,had Gall Bladder removed in 1970,Had fist stent in 1991. Had first spinal Operation for S4-L5 in 2007.Developed foot drop but then underwent another surgeryand there was foot drop improvement but became dependent on walking stick.Used to fall with a bang in 2008-9.Had cardiac arrest in Hospital but regained life after 2.38 minutes.An AICD was fitted which in 2009 but it developed infection and had to undergo open heart surgery.Recoverred after 32 days hospitalisation.Developed Parkinson disease but was cured with stem cell treatment.Now fit but lo I developed prosterate problem. Got cured by ayurvedic treatment 2008. I was suffering from intolerable Sciatica pain and Doctors declared helplessness. Pain clinic at Army Hospital helped me in 2011 by injecting hydrocortisone in my back bone. I stopped using walking stick by treatment from a saint.I had me lenses changed due to eye problem. NOW I HAVE DEVELOPED KNEE PAIN. oRTHO ADVISES ME TO UNDERGO CHANGE OF KNEE JOINT.MY CARDIAC OPPOSES ANY TYPE OF ANASTHESIA BECAUSE OF FLUCTUATION OF MY bp. mY FREINDS AND FAMILY FEEL i AM OK. I seek your help if you can advise any acupressure point which can cure my Knee pain?

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