How much stronger can you get at age 47?

I’ve been working out since last April or so and while I am generally pleased with the results, I feel I have reached (or am close to reaching) my physical limits with respect to increasing the amount weight I can handle. I have also noticed that my strength does not appear to be increasing substantially over the last few months and appears to have plateaued.

If I was younger I would do what I did in my youth and simply push myself to the outer limits of pain and exhaustion to get additional incremental results, but I’m really wondering if this a good idea if you are 47 re your joints etc. Beyond this how difficult is it going to be to pack on muscle at 47? Assuming I’m on the downward slope of my genetic time span will my body still respond with additional muscle & strength gains if I push it to the maximum?

More than likely you just need to change your routine. If you plateau it’s because your body is too used the same thing. Switcht things around, vary the reps, and you generally will see an improvement. Over time your progress will just slow down. It’s unavoidable. One of the bigger guys at my gym is in his 50’s. He’s very smart and after 30 some years, has learned quite alot about his limits.

Hitting plateaus is normal for weight training at any age, but there are hormonal differences between lifters in their twenties and lifters in their forties. Mainly, you are producing less testosterone and less growth hormone. As long as you don’t have any prostate issues, you can generally overcome this problem with supplements like Tribulus and Betatropin. You can also supplement with glucosamine for joint support. It all pretty much depends on how much you want to spend and how important it is to you. I don’t believe there are any cookie-cutter solutions. You have to experiement with your body and see what works for you.

I suggest you search at t-nation for articles by Ian King. He has good information about how your style of training can affect the amount of growth hormone your body produces. Ultimately, if you want to get stronger, you need to add muscle.

Any of the bodybuilding sites like and can provide lots of information on supplements. Needless to say, diet and nutrition are an extremely important part of the puzzle. In my experience, protein intake makes a huge difference and any “normal” diet isn’t going to support serious muscle growth. I take in about 200 grams of protein a day and the only way I can do that and stay in my calorie budget is with supplements.

FWIW I am 54 and train very hard and managed to add about 6 lbs of lean body mass in the last year while maintaining a body fat percentage of about 12%. My single lift maximums went up about 20% in the same time frame. I am sure I could do better if maintaining a low body fat percentage wasn’t an issue. There is a reason the guys in the World’s Strongest Man competitions aren’t ripped :slight_smile:

It’s important to understand your workout routine:

Allowing enough time for recovery?

#Set#reps per body part?


There are a variety of factors. Age is only one.

There was a study about 80 year olds in nursing homes taking on weight training. Those who did lived substantially longer than a control group (presumably with good statistical regressions that included other relevant factors to screen for the tendency of those better able to participate to choose to participate, but I was not on the research team so it’s only an assumption).

I’m 47 myself and I just put another 90 pounds on the leg-lift thingie. I have stubborn abdominal fat that seems to have entrenched itself for the long haul, but aside from faster fatigue and shortness of breath I’m in better shape than I was in my mid-20s. (When, to be precise, I was absolutely not an athlete). I don’t know if I’ll ever equal the 5:08 minute mile I did when I was 17 but I bet I can run better than most 30 year olds. And with a 40 pound pack on my back I can still walk up a 40,000 foot peak and leave most folks with their hands on their knees panting for breath.

I dare say that you would leave most folks dead.

I know you’re just trying to make a point but you may have overstated it. There is no 40,000 foot peak on Earth. But have you climbed Mount Everest?

He was talking about Olympus Mons on Mars

You did know that Ahunter3 is the SDMB’s one and only NASA astronaut, didn’t you? Too bad he made it only 8 miles up the 16-mile peak. :wally

Perhaps we can charitably assume he’s talking about a 40k-foot total distance walked during ascent of some smaller peak, at least until he gets back to clarify whether he was talking about Olympus Mons or not?

Ermm, I must have smaller feet than yours?

:o :smack:

Sorry, the brain, apparently, doesn’t get stronger at 47. Make that 14000 feet, not 40000.

Thanks for the info. That’s an amazing amount of protein! What’s your typical daily diet look like? What’s the best place to get these protein supplements?

I like the Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey and I buy it locally at a place called Vitamin Discounters. The 5lb size is between $25 and $30, similar to what you can find on the web but without shipping charges. Each scoop is 25 grams of protein and I put two scoops in two cups of nonfat milk for a morning and post-workout shake. Combined with the milk, that’s 132 grams of protein per day right there.

I eat six times a day and a typical day for me would be something like protein shake for breakfast with 1/2 cup oatmeal. 2 cups nonfat sugar-free yogurt for morning snack (I make it myself for pennies a day). An apple and skinless chicken breast for lunch, another chicken breast or a couple of thighs for afternoon snack. Dinner is veggies and beef or lean pork with another protein shake for post-workout. I also usually eat four or five prunes a day as snacks to help boost carbs and fiber. One day a week is a cheat day and I up the carbs and lower the protein.