Powerlifting is a sport which is not restricted to the young, it is a sport that is growing in popularity for ladies and men over 40, not that I consider 40 to be old. Powerlifting has several age division devoted to older lifters beginning with Master, a division for those who are aged 40 -49 before progressing to Masters II for those aged 50-59 and so on through to Masters V for those who are 80+
Benefits of Powerlifting for over 40s
One of the biggest problems as we age is decreased bone density but it has been shown in a wide array of studies that strength training builds stronger bones. If we ignore the outcomes of theses studies the loss of bone density can result in osteoporosis, a condition characterised by fragile bones, falls and fractures. Lifting heavy weights, as in the sport of powerlifting you place controlled stress on your bones strengthening and increasing density.
Decrease Pain from Osteoarthritis
There is a number of studies demonstrating that strength training like that done by competitive powerlifters, is effective in the treatment for osteoarthritis, reducing pain and improving joint function.
Strength and Power
While improvements in strength will be harder and slower to achieve ,continuing to build strength or just simply maintaining strength is extremely important. The longer you maintain and build strength the less likely you will need assistance because you have fallen and cannot get up.
Powerlifting training for the elderly
Training for older powerlifters is much the same as for younger athletes with the following differences. Older bodies take longer to recover, as an older powerlifter you are likely to be training less often to allow for full recovery between sessions. Less intensity within each training session is also important. For those looking to start powerlifting for the first time as an aged athlete your training will be slow and steady with a high emphasis on technique ensuring the lifts can be done in a safe and efficient way.
What can a Masters Lifter Achieve
Looking at the current Australian records for Masters level lifters and beyond, the male record for Master in the 93 kg weight class we can see that the Squat record is 265 kg, Bench Press is 195 kg and the Deadlift record is 294 kg. If we then look at the same weight class in the Masters V (over 80) division the records sit at 160 kg for Squat, 90 kg for Bench Press and 200 kg for Deadlift. Not to forget the Ladies Masters, The current Ladies Masters IV (70+) records in the the 57 kg weight division is 50 kg Squat, 45 kg Bench Press and 90 kg Deadlift.