Should Age Coefficients Be Used?

NASA members are discussing whether separate Master's coefficients should be used to determine best lifter awards or to determine winners at Master's competitions.

The original question:

Do you ever use any other formulas besides the one on your web site when figuring out lifters coefficients? I was wondering about any formulas that take Masters lifters age into consideration when figuring out the best lifter at a meet.

The ensuing discussion:

I am 48 and started noticing a decline in my strength around 42. Dealing with other health issues, moving every 1.5-2 years and getting older I have lost about about 20% off my bench and can't seem to get it back. Plus the body weight keeps going up. The coefficients have been in place for a long time and these are the rules we have lifted under and I do believe it is fair. Even though I may have started losing strength at 42 someone else may have at 40. It is going to vary with person to person but this is just like lifting the head off the bench, moving the feet, the press command, etc. these are all the rules of NASA.

I Think The Way Rich Does It Is Fine, And We Would Be Borrowing Trouble if we did it on an age gradient.

Older lifters understand that somewhere between 40 and 50(usually), strength potential begins to decline. And everyone has Great Respect for a Master Lifter who can Total, let's say, 1400 Lbs. against a younger lifter's 1800 Lbs. Total....

A younger lifter, however, is not likely to understand, and is more likely to be disappointed, if he is beaten by somebody in the same weight class, who he out-Totalled by 200 Lbs...

I suppose it is a little like the lifters who cannot straighten their arms in the benchpress, or who can no longer lock their knees in the squat or deadlift. Some people are of the opinion that their lifts should not count, that is, that your lifting career is simply done at that point. Myself, I think that, within reason, these lifts should still count. However, there must come a point at which some angle(as triangularly measured between the shoulder, elbow, and wrist) is unacceptable...

Rich's system isn't broken, so, I don't think it needs a fix....

I completely understand the younger point of view having once been young myself, so long ago! LOL I guess I'm not so concerned about the Master formulas being used in open meets as I am comparing Master lifters to Master lifters. In NASA Rich has set up 10 year intervals while in other federations there are five year intervals. As I am currently 60 and will be 61 in two months, I'm in the "young" end of the Masters III class and currently have quite an advantage over the 69 year old lifter in my same weight class. However having left the Master II class several months ago, I know what it is like to be on the old end of a Masters Class. Believe me my abilities when I was 50 are a world of difference when I was 59! LOL
I'm not trying to steal any young lifter's thunder but even informally it would be a great thrill knowing myself or some other older athlete is still holding their own when the age differences are leveled out. Just looking for another reinforcer to still stay in the game. It all helps when the muscles are saying no and the back and knees are stiff!

I guess my perspective is different on this. I tried to push the envelope in the subs and I do so now as a master. Ultimately, I try to better myself and not let age factor in my lifting or results.

Our coach, Dale Rhoades, is 59 years strong and is @ # 27 on the top 100 list, his b.w. is 188-190, totals 1500+ at any given meet. He can compete with any "young" person out there, even though his body is torn and damaged and always hurts(as he says). That's what keeps him going in my opinion. I just hope when I'm you ages that I can still rock and roll as you do. I'm only just 36, been going since 2000 and will only be just a beginner for many years. They should let a person lift in the novis division until they are your ages, so that way they (I) will know what a true master of the sport really is.

It Isn't Needed because we have Master's Divisions in 10 year increments.

I'm actually glad that NASA does not factor age into the coefficient. Within the last year and a half, I know of a Master Lifter who went to a USAPL Meet(darn him), and out-totalled another Master Lifter by over 400 Lbs., and lost, even though they were only 10 pounds apart, due to the age factor.

Most Master's coefficients I have seen give entirely too much "weight" to age.

The age factor formulas that I have seen have been based on research of comparing the real life results of the lift records in Olympic and powerlifting in 5 year increments from 40 on up. The formulas were not made up out of the air to "give" the older athletes any type of advantage over younger lifters. The comparison of age group records were also supplemented by exercise labs experiments that were performed under strict science conditions. Those results were remarkable contestant with the lifting record figures. The combined formulas give a very realistic method to compare the results between younger and older lifters with out bias. There are of course some outstanding older athletes who are able to still hold their own against younger athletes. However if their age factors are also taken into consideration, it demonstrates how remarkable their lifts truly are! I am a strong advocate of using such age formulas as they are a great incentive to keep older athletes in the iron game!

The lack of testosterone is a pretty big factor in most drug free Master lifters. You gave the example of someone beating someone by 400lbs, but he was beated by the older guy, I sure would like to see those numbers and how they were added up. Job, you are a youth oriented guy so I guess that's why you would not like the old guys to catch a break, lol.

When you get into your 50,s; 60's and especially 70's - you will feel differently about this I am sure. The USA Masters Olympic Lifting Federation uses Weight and Age Co-efficients in every meet and there doesn't seem to be a problem there. In the instance that you describe where lifter "A" outlifted the lifter "B" by 400 lbs and lost! You failed to mention the age difference? I'm sure that someone 45 or 50, of the same weight, can outlift me by 400 lbs -- but, I'm 70. Give us both the co-efficients and the playing field is leveled. Without Age Co-efficients, older lifters can NEVER win the overall - only younger lifters. Ihave never agreed with Rich's Weight co-efficients but,we discussed them, he explained his position and I accept that these are the rules we lift under. But, in Masters Meets, I will always believe that Age co-efficients should be applied. If we used Age Co-efficients in Masters Meets would we attract more Master Lifters - I don't know. But, I do know this would level the playing field especially competing against sub-masters for the overalls.

It Isn't Needed...but would it be useful for Masters Pure? Here's a thought. Age coefficients within Masters Pure (40 on up without limit, just no juice in one's past). I agree that this might promote some more competition among us geezers.

I've seen some age coefficients and I also agree that strength variation appears to be more predictable with weight than with age--though I should qualify this by saying my opinion is supported by anecdotal evidence. On the other hand, I think there are more weight formulas than age formulas. Anybody know if someone is working on refining age formulas?

The variation of well-trained lifters with weight is reasonably consistent, but the variation with age is much less predictable, making it more difficult to establish a formula. I'm actually lifting more now (at age 54) than I was 20 years ago. I think it has a lot to do with dumb genetic luck--my parents are both living at ages 94 and 86. Some people just age faster than others. Remember the kid who looked like he was 30 at high school graduation? Sometimes, but not always, he's already heading downhill by the time he really is 30. While everyone eventually goes downhill with age (assuming they live long enough!), there's very little consistency in the rate of aging.

There are always genetic variations but the formulas are based on real research both in real life athlete record performance age difference comparisons and in exercise lab research. However I do know what you mean about being stronger now than when your were younger. In some lifts I am better now at age 61 than when I was in my early 40's. But weaker in others!

As I said. "I have heard Rich's exclamations on the weight factors and have no problem lifting under them." I still believe that in Masters Meets age coefficients should be considered - and I agree with what someone else said - it would appear that the age coeffecients should be adjusted. They do however work well with the two olympic lift competitions.

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everyone competing should have the same advantage@ 50 yrs young it would be nice to see where older lifters fair, age weight should all be factored in its going to give the older lifters somethig to strive for and the kicker is the younger lifters will be even more encouraged the formula would work for the lifters to excel and give hope for longevity thus making our sport more prosperous.