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AllanfromWales1 t1_irlya3v wrote

As an older adult, it would be helpful if some limits were set on what counts as 'heavy load exercise'.


ryarger t1_irm2qcz wrote

The paper has this detail. Basically they use a standard weight training program as you’d find on r/fitness or r/strength_training (I also recommend r/fitness30Plus).

It’s built around a few lifting exercises - squatting, leg press and standing toe-rise for the lower half and chest press, shoulder press and seated rowing for the upper half (NOTE: Most programs you’ll find on r/fitness center around squatting, deadlifting, bench pressing and shoulder pressing but this is pretty similar).

You start by determining your maximum weight for each exercise and then you build your program in a series of escalating percentages of that weight in repeated cycles.

As long as you hit the percentages, the next cycle you increase your maximum and go again. If you hit failure, you decrease or stay at that level until you do hit it, then keep going.

The r/fitness wiki has several well-tested programs anyone can just use as-is.

From the article:

> Oslo Cohorts: The total duration of the intervention was 13 weeks for healthy and 15 weeks for the patients with primary osteoporosis because the first two weeks were used to familiarize them with the training protocol starting with lighter training loads. The training loads were gradually increased to ensure that the 13 weeks of training were conducted with optimal loading to improve muscle strength and muscle mass [12]. The training period was performed as traditional heavy-load strength training: three times per week with 1–3 sets involving all major muscle groups as detailed previously [12]. Briefly, the training protocol consisted of three exercises for the leg muscles (squat, leg press, and standing toe rise), and three exercises for the upper body muscles (chest press, seated rowing, and shoulder press). In addition, the participants performed self-selected exercises for the abdominal and lower back muscles at the end of each session. The strength-training regimen was a mix of linear periodization and daily undulating periodization. The participants started with 8–12 repetition maximum (RM) sets, and ended the 13-week protocol with 4–8 RM sets. In two sessions per week, the sets were run until failure (RM-sets); in the third session, performed between the two maximal sessions, sets were run with a load corresponding to 80–90% of the actual RM load. The total duration of training was about 60 min per session, and the participants exercised in groups of three with a personal instructor present


McBleezy8 t1_irodr2y wrote

Great analysis. Most beginners don’t understand rpe and 1rpm I think it’s a good place to start.

I determine my 1 rep max: the amount of weight you can pick up in number of different exercises but particularly focused on compound (multi joint) lifts which include deadlift, bench press, squat and standing overhead shoulder press. With pretty good form not failing on form on a 1rpm is important it might cause you to overestimate what you can realistically do! This can be detrimental in the long term to your goals so make sure you have at least semi decent form and at least a intermediate understanding of the movement itself

With this info I subtract 25% from each lift and work from there as my new working set so for example if you can deadlift 500lbs (226kg) 75% of that is 375.

I would work within this number for 3 weeks. Increasing my sets by 1 every week in intervals of 2,3,4. When I can do 4 sets of 5 reps at this weight I now know I’m able to move up.

The next part is tricky and requires small understanding of your rate of perceived exertion: this will tell you if you are ready to increase by 2.5% or by 5%. Whichever it is it takes another 3 weeks at this weight to master it.

I do this for all my major compound lifts. Upon reaching 85% or sometimes even 87.5% of my 1rpm I redetermine my 1rpm. Almost always if this standard of progressive overload is followed you’re guaranteed an increase in overall strength and the central nervous system is accustomed to a heavier load.

Once I have my new 1rpm I began again at 75% of that and lift until I’m at 85-87.5% of that. At some point you will be lifting your old 1 rep max for sets. This takes time and patience and you might not always make it to where you’d like to be at that exact moment but in time you will.


LowestKey t1_irpm656 wrote

Alternatively, if you have a set you normally do for 10 reps, do as many past 10 as you can with good form and then plug that info into one of the million one rep max calculators that exists on the internet.

Super easy, barely an inconvenience.


PDubsinTF-NEW t1_irmirsv wrote

Oslo cohorts Rx: “The strength-training regimen was a mix of linear periodization and daily undulating periodization. The participants started with 8–12 repetition maximum (RM) sets, and ended the 13-week protocol with 4–8 RM sets. In two sessions per week, the sets were run until failure (RM-sets); in the third session, performed between the two maximal sessions, sets were run with a load cor- responding to 80–90% of the actual RM load. The total duration of training was about 60 min per session, and the participants exercised in groups of three with a per- sonal instructor present.”

BSU cohorts: “The groups performed a smaller, leg focused selection of exer- cises, but included 36 training sessions (3 days/week) with three sets of 10 bilateral knee extensions at 70–75% of their 1 RM [9].”

Interestingly, these are also the rep and load ranges that will increase strength and to a slightly lesser extent increase muscle hypertrophy. When coupled with 30-40g of whey protein post workout and 1.2-1.6 g/kg daily protein intake, older adults can preserve muscle mass and even increase it. [Results may vary]


HumanBarbarian t1_irnd9gn wrote

After being very ill for a year and a half, I didn't think I would ever get my strength back. It really pissed me off, because I had worked out hard for 30 years(am 58) After a year, I am actually getting stronger in some areas than before! :)


McBleezy8 t1_iroeu7l wrote

Great age to be fit and human body is incredibly versatile


basmwklz OP t1_irlvyus wrote



A striking effect of old age is the involuntary loss of muscle mass and strength leading to sarcopenia and reduced physiological functions. However, effects of heavy-load exercise in older adults on diseases and functions as predicted by changes in muscle gene expression have been inadequately studied.


Thigh muscle global transcriptional activity (transcriptome) was analyzed in cohorts of older and younger adults before and after 12–13 weeks heavy-load strength exercise using Affymetrix microarrays. Three age groups, similarly trained, were compared: younger adults (age 24 ± 4 years), older adults of average age 70 years (Oslo cohort) and above 80 years (old BSU cohort). To increase statistical strength, one of the older cohorts was used for validation. Ingenuity Pathway analysis (IPA) was used to identify predicted biological effects of a gene set that changed expression after exercise, and Principal Component Analysis (PCA) was used to visualize differences in muscle gene expressen between cohorts and individual participants as well as overall changes upon exercise.


Younger adults, showed few transcriptome changes, but a marked, significant impact was observed in persons of average age 70 years and even more so in persons above 80 years. The 249 transcripts positively or negatively altered in both cohorts of older adults (q-value < 0.1) were submitted to gene set enrichment analysis using IPA. The transcripts predicted increase in several aspects of “vascularization and muscle contractions”, whereas functions associated with negative health effects were reduced, e.g., “Glucose metabolism disorder” and “Disorder of blood pressure”. Several genes that changed expression after intervention were confirmed at the genome level by containing single nucleotide variants associated with handgrip strength and muscle expression levels, e.g., CYP4B1 (p = 9.2E-20), NOTCH4 (p = 9.7E-8), and FZD4 (p = 5.3E-7). PCA of the 249 genes indicated a differential pattern of muscle gene expression in young and elderly. However, after exercise the expression patterns in both young and old BSU cohorts were changed in the same direction for the vast majority of participants.


The positive impact of heavy-load strength training on the transcriptome increased markedly with age. The identified molecular changes translate to improved vascularization and muscular strength, suggesting highly beneficial health effects for older adults.


SemanticTriangle t1_irlw9t4 wrote

>involuntary loss of muscle mass and strength leading to sarcopenia and reduced physiological functions.

If you stop training or never start, your muscle loss is not involuntary.


lavachat t1_irlx4d0 wrote

Involuntarily training stops in 70+ due to fractures and longer healing periods, dizziness, fall risks, joint pain etc are common.


SemanticTriangle t1_irlxfv9 wrote

Have you seen the cross sections of muscle mass for people who kept training, even interrupted by injury, to the people who aged with sedentary lifestyles? It's night and day. Things get more difficult, but in an 80/20 sense the majority of frailty we associate with old age is the result of cessation of activity, rather than the cessation of activity being caused by the frailty of old age.


WebtoonThrowaway99 t1_irm2h0t wrote

>Have you seen the cross sections of muscle mass for people who kept training, even interrupted by injury, to the people who aged with sedentary lifestyles?

No, where can I see it?


antiquemule t1_irma7ni wrote

Just click on the underlined words in the previous post - it's a link to an illustrated scientific paper.


zbbrox t1_irn0llm wrote

I mean, older people get less active for a reason. There's obviously a vicious cycle here.


SemanticTriangle t1_irn5poe wrote

Note that my original comment was not a comment about those that kept training and lost condition, but about those that stopped training or never started. The paper I linked clearly shows a downward trend and we all anecdotally feel the effects of age.

The universe doesn't care. If you do not use it, you will lose it. Age will get us all, but remember: what do we say to the god of death?


GlandyThunderbundle t1_irnn5g4 wrote

>Age will get us all, but remember: what do we say to the god of death?

Oooooh! I know this one:

wingardium leviosa


Strazdas1 t1_irr6k6n wrote

>what do we say to the god of death?

How soon?


throwawaytrumper t1_irom529 wrote

It’s often injury. I work a physical job and I’m surrounded by guys with persistent physical injuries to their joints and backs.

At 41 the only reason I’m not among them is because I heal stupidly quickly and thoroughly, I still work out hard and do challenging physical tasks but I sometimes wonder when or if the healing will start to go away.


Strazdas1 t1_irr6osh wrote

Anecdotally, i see a lot of people in construction being forced to retirement due to back injuries in the 40-50 age group.


neomateo t1_irn2uy9 wrote

What would that reason be?


TheDeadGuy t1_irn6st0 wrote

More pain and slower recovery


neomateo t1_irn8rd1 wrote

I disagree, it’s attitude for most.


TheDeadGuy t1_irnafro wrote

You disagree that things are more painful and recovery is slower?


neomateo t1_irngx70 wrote

I disagree with the assertion that reduced recovery and pain is the primary reason people slow down. While that may be an effect, it’s secondary or tertiary to the greater effect of their mental perspective on life.

There’s a huge attitude problem with many people that only gets worse as they age “I hate exercise”, “ I’m done with that period of my life”. People use their age as an excuse to “take it easy” rather than a reason to keep moving.


McBleezy8 t1_irogb4b wrote

Regarding your original point that those that stopped lost interest. There doesn’t seem to be any evidence linking what you’re saying about “attitude.” There is evidence showing lowered mobility in those that never started or those that stopped comparable to those that kept going but there doesn’t seem to be any real studies done on causation whether that be injury or lack of interest in those that stopped.


plentyofsilverfish t1_irpk39v wrote

Consider how ableist that position is.


SemanticTriangle t1_irq97yk wrote

It's reasonable to assume all of the normal caveats and side conditions apply, but it definitely makes the sentence less punchy. I guess all in all, it's easier to accuse me of ableism than to think about the vast majority of people in the OECD who age badly because they just don't make the time for it.

The statement isn't intended to be comprehensive. It's intended to be simple. Most people, especially able bodied people, think of old age as something that happens to them that can't be mitigated. There's a component of that, but for the most part it can be held off by being active. Even people with disabilities benefit from being as active as they can.

See how much longer that was to write?


HypatiaBlue t1_irw6qew wrote

>Stupid question (from someone who's guilty of what you described) - any suggestions on where to begin or is there a point of no-return? After a certain level of "decline", even walking can be painful. I'm genuinely asking because I'm trying really hard, but there are people who are all too willing to write me off.


SemanticTriangle t1_irwb414 wrote

It's complicated, especially if your problem is high body fat percentage. Eating disorders are no joke, but controlling body fat ultimately comes down to controlling energy intake.

If you are just not active, then you start at the beginning. Either /r/fitness or /r/bodyweightfitness have beginner guides and faqs. But there's no easy or short road. You have to consistently put in the work and it's not easy.

If you have medical problems or pain you may need medical advice first, or to fix underlying issues, and those subs will not give medical advice.


codehoser t1_irqfcaf wrote

Is that supposed to convince us that it was a dumb idea for you to write an accurate statement over a sensational one because it took you all of six sentences?


Strazdas1 t1_irr6v3d wrote

Can you explain that stating you loose muscle mass if you choose not to exercise is ableist?


[deleted] t1_irz1zoy wrote



Strazdas1 t1_irzvwc7 wrote

I agree with you, but i wanted to understand where the commenter was coming from.


Bikewer t1_irmydnt wrote

Interesting material. I’m 75, and took up a lifting program after knee replacement about 6 years ago. I worked my way up using a fairly normal exercise set, fairly heavy weights (for me….) But I found I was having a lot of trouble with DOMS and long recovery time.
Then COVID hit….

So I adopted a considerably lighter program, a full-body workout using primarily dumbbells. Still doing this but progress is quite slow.


jsinkwitz t1_irn5bcp wrote

That's still likely to be sufficient in preventing loss of lean tissue when paired with appropriate protein intake. Even bodyweight exercises that would be considered 70% RPE for 10-12 repetitions would qualify. Since you've been active, you're likely beyond it, but for most in an advanced age doing something as simple as bodyweight squats and pushups could satisfy the requirements until the RPE lowers with proficiency, allowing the use of angles to increase RPE rather than focusing solely on external loads.


Strazdas1 t1_irr72ab wrote

Pushups isnt a "Starting point" for a lot of people. You already need to have some muscle mass to even be able to do it. I remmeber a time when i was physically unable to do so.


jsinkwitz t1_irr8wsi wrote

I use it as a generalized example because pushups come with their own built-in variations. The progression for trainers and physical therapy is usually box pushups (hands on box) with setting a ~20% weight supported (i.e. equivalent of a decline press of a low weight). Once repetition targets can be hit on that it'd transfer to a lower box (turn on side) for closer to ~30% of weight. Again on lowest box setting for close to 40% of weight. Then pushups from knees (some will do this before the final box setting). Then regular pushups. Then pushups with feet elevated on the box, progressing back up on box height. Finally mixing in advanced techniques such as hand placements, offset objects like medicine balls, etc.

In my initial example, yes it was too simplified, but to more point out that resistance training need not be always externally load dependent. I'm simply a big fan of people committing to any resistance training program they enjoy enough to stick with for several months at a time.


Strazdas1 t1_irrh183 wrote

Do people really find exercise enjoyable? I do it because its healthy, but its never enjoyable.


CocktailChemist t1_irnb25j wrote

Specifically about DOMS, one thing that might be worth trying is lighter movements that are similar to but not exactly the same as what you did the day before. That gets the muscle moving and increases blood flow without hitting them in quite the same way. So something like squatting with in a different style or pressing from a different angle.


TurboGranny t1_irndug8 wrote

I found I only get DOMs if I try to do too much too fast when starting out. Starting very low weight and reps on any new exercise and then building up over time seems to keep the soreness very limited.


Andrewop t1_irmxwvd wrote

I wonder if this has to do with the accumulation of myonuclei over periods of increased muscle mass during your lifetime. The more muscle mass you had at some point, the more nuclei remain in the depleted tissue and are able to provide the genetic material and transcribe new muscle proteins..?


TurboGranny t1_irne0yt wrote

Maybe. It might be related to that concept we all know as "old man strength".


Junis777 t1_irmapu3 wrote

Extremely interesting, if i understand it properly, to put it mildly.


EndofGods t1_irmf1ho wrote

It's worth it to exercise even as older adults, is a mostly accurate summary.


wtgreen t1_irmsdd3 wrote

Specifically this study found additional benefits to heavy lifting. Any exercise is beneficial but heavy lifting is something most older people don't consider yet it's been shown in a variety of studies to be highly beneficial.


Amerimoto t1_irnbwvl wrote

Make the elderly do the heavy lifting, got it.


GordianNaught t1_iro3um4 wrote

I use resistance bands to exercise with and do on set to failure each. After being able to complete 40 reps I add resistance. I will turn 70 this month and I understand the importance of maintaining lean muscle tissue through resistance training and also how bone density is improved in this way.

I supplement with testosterone because I have low T. Many of my peers gave up on being active or leading a healthy lifestyle because they either say they’re too old or it’s too late. So I am convinced that attitude is key here. I believe I can make a difference in my life span and health span therefore I get off my ass and do something about it.


anonymous_bananas t1_irnyo22 wrote

I very much enjoyed this article, including the diligence used in designing a seemingly robust analysis of the composite data.

Also, I've been reading and reviewing data and information on the relationships b/w activities like HIIT and PRT and the increase in mm. motor units, contractile strength and general manifestations of sarcopenia but I'd not considered what we see in the data from the perspective of gene expression. Given the references and data analyzed, I'm clearly late to the game...

Very fun read, and fascinating stuff!


BigBadMur t1_irovzgb wrote

I'm glad to know this since I am an older adult.


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NthException t1_irsge04 wrote

Hopefully this is ok to post. The other day I watched a video of a 78 year old woman powerlifter. She was squatting 300+ pounds. She moved like she was 30 something. One of the most amazing things I've ever seen. She started lifting in her 60s I think, maybe a bit younger. Obviously a genetic freak and prob not indicative of most people, but still.


mattysoup t1_irygkgc wrote

How did they define heavy load?