In this post, you will learn about weight training for men over 60. Is it safe or wise? What are the benefits? What are the risks? And so on.
Let’s face it, by the time you are 60s the effects of aging are pretty clear.
Even if you’ve felt youthful into your older years at 60 the aging process will catch up to you.
For many, the aging process becomes evident even after 30, so if you haven’t suffered from it significantly before, count yourself lucky.
You might have noticed that the pounds pack on easier on the gut and are much harder to lose when you try to get in shape for summer.
You might have also noticed that you lack the strength and vigor of your younger self. Physical tasks wear you down faster and everything aches. Especially the day after exercise.
Lower back pain, joint pain, pulled muscles, and even worse injuries might also be something you are familiar with.
At 60 your way of living in the previous decades will have a significant effect on your physical performance.
It’s almost unavoidable to have some nagging pains and physical decline after 60. But you’d be surprised how fit you can be after 60 with the right kind of training.
Of course, as you age, you can have diseases and injuries that affect your physical ability. But if you are generally healthy, weight training can do wonders for your physical ability, well-being, and general health.
What Is Weight Training
Weight training, also known as resistance training or strength training is a type of exercise that improves muscle strength and builds muscle mass.
Most of you guys will know weight training simply as going to the gym to lift weights. And that is by far the most common way to do weight training.
Strength training can also be done at home or outside with bodyweight training, aka calisthenics.
Sports like powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting, and bodybuilding are all based on strength training and can offer you a more competitive and social environment if that’s what you prefer.
The common thing with all of these forms of strength training is that you are performing muscle work at a relatively high intensity against an external load. I.e. lifting weights or your body.
When the load is high enough it will cause microscopic damage to the muscle which will cause the muscle to grow stronger when recovering.
Strength training consists of lifting weights or other resistance at a high intensity. Increasing the weight and repetitions over time. Doing it regularly and consistently. And allowing recovery between training sessions.
I’m sure you are aware of the basic idea. But what you might not realize is that when you slowly and methodically increase the weight over time, it’s possible to get very strong even after 60.
The progress will be slower than for younger guys but well worth the effort. But it doesn’t have to be painful or hard. It can actually be fun.
Is Weight Training Safe For Men Over 60?
Before we continue it’s important to talk a little bit about the safety of weight training for men over 60.
Weight training is generally very safe if you take your time to learn the correct lifting forms, breathing, and bracing.
Typically injuries occur when you try to lift a lot more weight than your body is capable of handling.
Beginners can typically lift more with incorrect weight than with correct weight.
This can put a lot of load on the spine and the joints and cause injuries. Ranging from pulled muscles to herniated lumbar discs.
Young men are typically very resistant to injuries but they are also often insecure and try to impress others by lifting more they can handle.
Older men on the other hand are less resistant to injury but usually don’t care that much about what other people think. But I know some of you older gentlemen might feel like you should look strong in the gym. But you are a beginner in weight training.
That’s why it’s important that you keep safety in mind. Do not give a second of thought to what other people think of your strength. Focus on the process and improve over time.
Start light, use a full range of motion, and be methodical. This always wins over ego lifting. It’s more enjoyable and effective.
Many men over 60 have health conditions that can affect the safety of strength training. That’s why it’s important to get a full medical exam and get a clearance for training from a medical professional.
While strength training is very beneficial for heart health, it’s also strenuous. So it’s especially important to make sure your heart is healthy and can handle the exercise.
Effectiveness Of Weight Training For Men Over 60
Now that you know about the safety concerns let’s talk about how effective is weight training for men over 60.
If you are generally healthy (i.e. don’t have heart conditions, significant metabolic diseases, or other chronic diseases) your age doesn’t actually affect your ability to build strength that much.
As you age, your hormone levels, especially testosterone tend to decline which can affect your ability to build strength and muscle.
For most men, this effect is relatively subtle. Especially if you are not significantly overweight. To make things even better, weight training can actually improve your testosterone levels. I talked about this in the article How To Increase Testosterone After 60.
The biggest effect aging will have is on the elasticity of your connective tissues and joints as well as your ability to recover from strenuous exercise.
What this essentially means is that you have to start very light, improve flexibility and allow enough time for recovery between workouts.
This makes to adaptation process a bit slower than for people in their 20s but it really isn’t that much slower. I talked more about this in the article Weight training over 60 years old.
Your base conditioning will have a significant effect at this age. If you’ve been sedentary for most of your life, you need to take a lot of time to build a good base before increasing weight.
On the other hand, if you’ve done manual labor most of your life, are an athlete, or are otherwise very active you might be able to advance in weight training rapidly.
Finally, your genes will dictate a lot how well you respond to weight training no matter what your age is. Some people will just respond a lot better than others just like with everything in life.
Benefits Of Weight Training For Men Over 60
The most obvious benefit of weight training for older men is the improvement in physical performance.
This benefit happens relatively fast as you start performing regular weight training. Within weeks and months, you will notice that your physical performance will improve.
Your step will start feeling lighter, carrying the groceries becomes easier and you just have more vigor. Subtle but very important effects especially if you’ve been feeling run down due to aging.
After several months of consistent training, especially when combined with a healthy diet (like the Mediterranean Diet For Seniors) you can expect to notice changes in your physical appearance.
Clothes will fit better, the gut will get smaller and you start to notice new muscle definition. Other people will start to notice your improved physique.
While these physical changes can be very nice for your confidence the changes under the hood will be even more significant.
Strength training has been shown to be effective for improving your metabolic processes, reducing blood pressure, slowing down the aging process, and even improving your cognitive function.
But the most important effect is the prevention of age-related muscle loss known as sarcopenia. Essentially, weight training will help keep your body fit and functional as you age.
Finally, for older men weight training can be a great way to express healthy masculinity. It will remind you what you are physically capable of and improve your self-image in a healthy way.
For inspiration I recommend you check out this video of 69-year old gymnast Stephen Highland on Nile Wilson’s YouTube channel (YouTube video embed, content not created or owned by ElderStrength.com) :
How To Get Started With Weight Training
If you are interested in starting weight training I congratulate you, it’s one of the best decisions of your life!
There are many ways to get started with weight training after 60.
It’s important to take your time in the beginning to understand the basic principles of weight training and to learn all the exercises and programming.
There’s a lot of information to be learned but at its core weight training is very simple. Just lift something relatively heavy for each muscle group a couple of times a week and increase them incrementally over time.
The best way to learn weight training safely is with a coach that has experience with training seniors. Someone who knows the effects and limitations aging causes.
That’s why I recommend you find a gym near you that offers personal training for seniors.
If you have an athletic background and want a more “serious” approach, you might consider seeing if there are powerlifting or CrossFit groups for seniors in your area.
I hope you found this post about weight training for men over 60 useful. You can leave any questions in the comments section below and I’ll be happy the help you out in any way I can.
Weight training is one of the most beneficial activities for older guys. It helps you keep healthy, it’s fun, it makes you feel and look better and it’s a healthy and safe way to express your masculinity.
So i urge you to include weight training in your health and wellness routine. Just get a clearance from your doctor and start light to avoid injuries.
Thanks for reading and see you next time!