When Does Strength Peak?

Create: 02/26/2007 - 07:34
An eighteen year old at Bodybuilding.com wants to know if he's close to the peak of his strength gains, asking:

I know that a mans sexual peak is 18 he is in the prime of his life so to speak, so my question is: Is it the same with weight lifting? Do you reach your strength peak around 18? ... So what do you guys think? Whens do you reach your prime. I would hope its somewhere in your 20's although I feel strong now...

Replies:

late 30's early 40's... I've seen these numbers at several places but can't currently site the source No matter, the VAST majority of people never actually reach the full potential of what their body is capable. So you can continue to get stronger beyond your peak as your able to use a greater percentage of your capabilities

dude you can always get stronger. just your potential to make easy "natural" gains goes down. your hormone levels are peaking maybe 20-22 peaked. after that its harder to build muscle mass as easy becuase test=muscle. test goes down you need to increase it(ie legal and or illegal methods) and you must work harder to get the same gains.

if ur strength starts to peak u need more mucle mass. u can only be so strong with certain size muscle mass.

How many record breaking 18 year olds are there in powerlifting or WSM? None? That would lead me to believe the strength peak is later than that. Most likely somewhere between 25-35 for most people.

i know quit a few people getting stronger in their 40's

Your physical peak is around 35-45 but, and this goes with the genetics thing, that is just an excuse for people older than 45 to not train as hard. You can train and will get stronger at any age, the limits of human potential are farther away than most will ever know and even more will think so just train away and give it your all. If you want it enough it'll happen just give it time.(strength I mean)

"I remember reading somewhere that a man's athletic peak is 26" If markers such as flexibility, natural hormone profile, etc. are taken into account, then that's probably a good estimate. However, since PL disproportionately favors some markers, the estimate could be way off. Averaged over all sports it may be accurate. But you have extremes both ways. I see very few 20+ top gymnasts*, yet there are quite a lot of amazingly strong master PLers. And remember: there is probably a reason why people in their early-mid thirties are considered to be in the prime of their life. (the Dutch expression is literally: in the strength of his life)

Litreture has shown that athletes peak around 28, although the last few years have proven that some athletes are now peaking in there early and even mid thirties. Explosive power seems to drop off after 30 (assuming you have not been training for many years), although limit strength seems to last alot longer into mid forties or even early 50's.

That's a good point. It looks to be about 30 or below is when you're speed, agility, and flexibility are able to peak. But limit strength can grow after those other qualities start to decline.

I personally hit my strength peak seven years ago when I was 33 at which time I could bench 365 lb for 3 reps (When I started training at 19 I could barely bench 75 lb). I'd been benching 315 for four sets of six to eight reps for five years before that. By age 35 I was benching 315 for 3 reps only. At almost age 40 I am now benching 225 lb for 8 - 10 reps. In my case though I don't think it is old age that is slowing me down but the fact that for the last six years I have only been getting to the gym on average once every one and a half to two weeks (due to the pressures of working and studying). I was working out twice a week when I was doing the high benches (split routine, bench once a week). I've almost finished my post grad degree now and expect to make major strength gains once I start working out regularly again. I already do make the gains now when I train once a week but then I keep having a series of once a fortnight only workouts and loose it all again. (Was benching 225 for 10 reps easily a fortnight ago, though I only trained a fortnight before that too. In last nights workout I could only manage 6 reps, though I was able to do those six reps for eight sets). Bottom line is in my opinion if you keep training regularly and don't slack off like I have and if you don't suffer any major injuries you probably won't hit your strength peak until some time in your thirties. Like many people you may still even be gaining in your forties. I can remember looking at various power-lifting web sites for bench press records a while back and coming to the conclusion that peak bench press strength seemed to be around 600-700 lb for 30s, 500-600 lb for 40s, 400-500 lb for 50s, 300-400 lb for 60s, 200-300 lb for 70s, 100-200 lb for 80s. (They are only very rough figures but you get the idea). In other words you peak in your 30s and lose about 100 lb a decade it seems. Thing is though that the above figures are peaks which very few people achieve. I personally have never been able to bench heavier than 385 lb (calculated max based on 3 reps with 365) though I think that's pretty good yet their are guys in their 60s (a few) who are stronger than that, and certainly guys in the 50s substantial stronger than me at my peak. So what that tells me is that while max strength levels for age may mean that in my 40s I'll never break through 600 on the bench and in my 50s I'll never do more than 500 lb, so what? That is still way heavier than I have done yet! It means there is hope I may yet beat may best ever bench by 100 lb even ten years from now if I train and eat right.

Comments

Submitted by Eric Stone on
Strength peaks alot later than other measures of athleticism. Most lifters do their best lifts in their 30-40s. Some do it even in their 50s. Ernie Frantz did his best squat when he was 63. Partly it depends on when you started training. Rickey Crain estimated you have 20-25 years of training before you reach your peak. It certainly depends on a number of factors though. Certainly I don't believe ANY 18 year old has reached their peak of strength. And as one of the posts commented, most people never reach their full potienal of strength. Usually injuires break lifters down to the point where they simply can't get back to where they were before.

Submitted by Adam Hires (not verified) on
Everyone is different. There are many examples of guys peaking in their early 20's and some in their 40's. There are a lot of unknown factors. Train hard and smart and see what happens.

Submitted by FjolnirG (not verified) on
You have to take injuries into account. A lot of guys get sidelined way before they peak, in some cases leaving the weaker guys to set Master records. It's also irrational to assume that everyone who gets started in powerlifting keeps on trucking indefinitely until a true peak is reached. Most of the time life gets in their way. I believe you can keep getting better indefinitely in powerlifting if you can keep injuries at bay and maintain the drive to keep getting better.

Submitted by Michael A Taylor on
Putting the "Old" in old school powerlifting AGE: 24 AGES: 19 - 29 have seen all of its 3x raw benchers. It's really case by case though; you be the judge.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
I find it hard to believe that a powerlifter would peak at age 18. I have friends that have hit PR's in their 30's,40's and even 50's! A pr is the confirmation of peaking in powerlifting. I feel like on average powerlifter's may peak in their mid to late 40's if they chnage their training to compensate for the declining testosterone levels. Train smarter not harder so to speak.

Submitted by Michael A Taylor on
[quote=Anonymous]I find it hard to believe that a powerlifter would peak at age 18. I have friends that have hit PR's in their 30's,40's and even 50's! A pr is the confirmation of peaking in powerlifting. I feel like on average powerlifter's may peak in their mid to late 40's if they chnage their training to compensate for the declining testosterone levels. Train smarter not harder so to speak. [/quote] I know becuase I'm 18 and I don't think after just 4 years of training that I am at my best! Damn, I am still learning LOL!

Submitted by Michael A Taylor on
Putting the "Old" in old school powerlifting Well, Jesse Kellum is a fine example when it comes to being the best in the mid to late forties; not to mention Tony Conyers! He is 49 and totals 9x raw!