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Default Age & Pressing/Pulling Strength
by BendtheBar 06-12-2014, 07:58 AM

On Monday, I shared an email I had
received from Bernie Rothman, a 75-
year old Dino who's been hitting the
iron for 60 years.

Bernie mentioned that his pulling
strength is still there, but his
pressing strength is much less
than it used to be.

That prompted an email from another
older Dino who noted pretty much
the same thing:

"Brooks,

I agree with Mr. Rotthman's points,
but one point in particular I find
not only true, but extraordinary.
It is his obervation that while
pressing strength diminishes with
age, pulling strength does not.

I have experienced the exact same
phenomenon. My pressing strength is
much less than what it was at my peak.
While part of that may be because I
am carrying less bodyweight now,
I believe that even after adjusting
for that factor, my pressing strength
has declined.

On the other hand, my pulling strength
is probably greater now than it has
ever been in my life (and I was a
junior high school and high school
pull-ups champion and a gymnast).
I've come to this conclusion even
after adjusting for bodyweight
differences.

Right now, I am at a loss to explain
why age effects pushing strength but
doesn't effect pulling strength.
I intend to think about this and,
if I arrive at a theory that
explains this phenomenon, I will
let you know and perhaps we can
test it.

Ira Reid"

And here's a related point. For
younger weightlifters doing the
clean and jerk, the clean is
usually harder than the jerk.

In other words, if you're a younger
lifter and you can CLEAN a given
weight, you should be able to JERK
it (unless you're technique is off
or you're too tired from the clean).

But for many older lifters, this is
reversed.

In Master's weightlifting (age 35 and
up), the jerk tends to be the hardest
part of the lift -- and you see a
higher percentage of misses in the
jerk.

I know that's true in my case. I used
to be able to PRESS anything I could
clean and PUSH PRESS 50 pounds more
than I could clean. (That was at age
39 - 41 or so.)

Now -- at age 57 -- my top clean and
my push press are just about equal.

And whereas it sued to be easy to jerk
anything I could clean, now my clean
and my jerk are both the same -- if
the clean is heavy, so is the jerk.

I believe the same is generally true
among older powerlifters. The deadlift
stays strong even after the bench press
goes down.

Which leads me to ask -- if you're an
older Dino, how does your pulling
strength compare to your pushing
strength?

Is your pushing strength staying even
or falling behind?

Send in an email and let me know --
and I'll report on the results!

As always, thanks for reading and
have a great day. If you train
today, make it a good one!

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. With Father's Day right around the
corner, I should remind you of some great
books for older Dinos:

a. Gray Hair and Black Iron

http://www.brookskubik.com/grayhair_blackiron.html
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Old 06-12-2014, 09:16 AM   #2
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Well, this sure explains why bench is my "worst" lift, in relation to squats and deads. My technique has gotten better and better. My upper body is big. I eat tons. I have coaching, etc. Age is the only thing it could be really.
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Old 06-12-2014, 09:52 AM   #3
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great read and makes a lot of sense. im in the same boat as squatter makes me angry but it is what it is!

thanks brotha for posting
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Old 06-12-2014, 11:16 AM   #4
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I am choosing to ignore the truth and continue to press on (pun intended). Bench is my weakest lift, however BHNP proportionally is one of my stronger lifts. Go figure. I am just going to keep on working to get better.
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Old 06-12-2014, 12:10 PM   #5
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Say it ain't so....please. hahaha. If it is, that explains why I seem to be loosing strength on the bench every year. I struggle on days to press 275 and then some days I could get 10-12. A few years ago, I maxed out at 365 for 4 reps. Now in my mid 40's, I'm really careful about injury and going up that much is not as important to me as to correct form. Nonetheless, good article.
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Old 06-12-2014, 01:28 PM   #6
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Sign me up for this....my bench sucks also....
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Old 06-12-2014, 01:49 PM   #7
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I'm going to buck the trend. My overhead press and bench press have declined nowhere as near as much as other lifts - my squat for example.

But frequency may play a part. I think as I get older I need to train a lift much more often than I used to in order to maintain or make any progress. And guess what? I train overhead press all the time.
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Old 06-12-2014, 08:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tannhauser View Post
I'm going to buck the trend. My overhead press and bench press have declined nowhere as near as much as other lifts - my squat for example.

But frequency may play a part. I think as I get older I need to train a lift much more often than I used to in order to maintain or make any progress. And guess what? I train overhead press all the time.
would you call your shoulders "healthy"?
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Old 06-13-2014, 03:01 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdmalm123 View Post
would you call your shoulders "healthy"?
Yeah, they seem fine. My elbow is fucked, but at the moment that only creates a problem on triceps exercises.
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Last edited by Tannhauser; 06-13-2014 at 02:33 PM.
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Old 06-13-2014, 06:55 AM   #10
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My bench was around 430 in 1997, and I was overhead pressing 120 pound dumbbells for 5 reps. Now, despite 6 years of consistent training, I am down about 30% from these levels at an equal bodyweight.
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