Muscles building is not a sport for young men. Men and women can do muscle and strength training at any point in their lives, and it is backed by research!
But why is there such a need?
According to the American Council on Exercise, inactive people between the ages of 30 and 80 may experience a 30% to 40% decrease in physical strength due to a reduction in muscle mass.
Muscle Changes in Men with Aging.
Muscle Mas Loss.
We all have heard of the term sarcopenia. Loss of muscle mass is a common occurrence around age 40. The natural part of aging has similar effects on men and women, making it harder to build or retain muscle mass and slower fat accumulation. Men typically lose 1-5% of their muscular mass by age 40 due to the gradual decrease of muscle cell activity.
As you age, your muscles resist growing bigger and stronger. The amount of protein that was sufficient for maximum muscle-building at age 30 is no longer sufficient. For example, when a young individual has a protein-rich meal, muscle protein synthesis increases by around 50 percent over resting levels. However this value is much less for elderly. In other words, you respond less effectively to anabolic, muscle-building stimuli than you did when you were younger. This diminished muscle response to protein consumption is known as protein or amino acid resistance.
But muscle loss after 40 isn’t always inevitable. Similar to the effect of exercise on osteoporosis, research suggests that physical activity can help prevent sarcopenia.
Research indicates that healthy older adults who exercise weights two to three times per week develop substantial muscle mass.
Researchers from the University of Oklahoma compared the results of the same eight-week training on participants of different ages. Researchers showed that men aged 35 to 50 have the same muscle-building potential as those aged 18 to 22. Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scans revealed that college-aged boys and men gained around two pounds of muscle, whereas middle-aged men gained approximately 2.5 pounds of muscle. This means one can still build muscle if a proper method is followed.
Gender Difference In Strength Training.
Many differences between men and women are rather superficial. But several key differences between us can’t be ignored when it comes to bulking up.
Science demonstrates that men and women express around 3000 genes for skeletal muscle differently.
1. Muscle Mass:
Muscle mass and testosterone levels in men tend to be greater than in women. Differences in this lean body mass between the sexes develop around puberty and persist throughout life. Research shows increased testosterone is linked to muscle development and weight reduction. For the most part, this means that men will have a more slender and powerful build than women. Since males tend to be larger than women, their hearts and lungs also tend to be larger, making them better candidates for cardiovascular activity.
Regarding flexibility, women often outperform males in various categories, including forward folds, pigeon stretches, squat depth, and more, due to their longer, more elastic muscles. A woman’s body may also recover faster from exercise than a man’s.
3. Muscle-building effect
It is found to be similar for both genders. After 12 weeks of biceps curls, there were no significant variations in relative muscle mass between the sexes among 585 individuals (58% female). The same holds for the period following a gym session or any form of physical activity. Both exercise and protein-rich diets similarly boost muscle protein synthesis.
4. Muscle Gain:
Men develop more than twice as much overall muscle mass as women due to intense strength training. However, remember that women are born with less muscle mass than males. Considering this, women acquire as much muscle as men. Muscle mass growth may be partially explained by testosterone.
5. Muscle Fibers:
When men acquire size and muscle strength, their bodies frequently produce more fast-twitch than slow-twitch muscle fibers. When women grow strength and size, their bodies generate about equal amounts of fast- and slow-twitch muscle fibers. Fast-twitch muscles are the ones we stimulate during HIIT, sprints, and other intense activities.
6. Hormonal Difference:
Hormones regulate the size of your muscles, instructing your body to break them down or build them up. The most well-known of them is likely testosterone, the male sex hormone. Testosterone helps control both the production and breakdown of muscle protein. A high testosterone level means more muscle mass, strength, and less body fat.
Women have ten times less testosterone than men. Due to hormonal differences, it is natural to think that it is much easier for males to acquire muscle mass.
Interestingly female hormones have also been found to help in muscle building,
- Estrogen can assist in muscle repair after damaging exercise. (1) There is evidence of this in research where women recover from muscle injuries faster than males. (2)
- Progesterone boosts muscle protein synthesis like testosterone.
7. Age-Related Changes.
Male and female muscular differences begin to emerge as people age. In general, as we age, we lose muscular mass. Men have an edge in this situation, as this process occurs more quickly for women.
However, the basal muscle protein synthesis rates in old women are greater than in males of the same age. In other words, women generate more muscle 24/7 than men do. This is likely because males have been exposed to elevated quantities of testosterone their whole lives. Even though women have a greater basal muscle protein synthesis rate than men, women lose much more muscle mass than men during aging. Multiple causes contribute to this variation.
- A heightened rate of muscle protein degradation.
- Following menopause, gene expressions inhibit muscle development.
- After menopause, both a protein-rich diet and strength-training sessions have a reduced anabolic response.
Many hours after strength training, you create around 50% more muscle than normal.
Is it true that it’s harder for women to bulk up than men? Or is it possible for people of any gender to acquire the same results? Please read it here how women can do muscle training and have desired results.
The effects of strength training on astronaut candidates‘ physical fitness were investigated in a 2019 study. Three sets of weighted resistance training were shown to be more beneficial than one 3session of weighted training for most people.
Best Exercises For Strength Training.
While most males seek for more arm, chest, and shoulder size, here are few sample exercises for men to begin with,
Squats: One of the best workouts for building strength and muscle. It exercises your legs, glutes, adductors (muscles that connect your thighs) and lower back. The leg press is an outstanding machine-based solution.
Deadlifts: A hip-dominant exercise that strengthens the whole of the body, but specifically targets the back, glutes, and hamstrings.
Leg Raises: Leg raises strengthen the iliopsoas muscles in your hips that help you walk.
Overhead Press: This excellent workout targets your shoulders and triceps in particular, as well as the remainder of your upper body. The exercise can be performed sitting or standing with a barbell, a pair of dumbbells, or a machine.
Bench Press: Frequently referred to be the king of upper body workouts, and with good reason. The bench press strengthens the chest, the front deltoids, and the triceps. This exercise can also be performed with dumbbells or a chest press machine, either for variation or personal preference.
Latts Pulldwon: Another back workout, this one focuses more on the lats than rows. It also targets the biceps. Studies indicate that lat pulldowns have the same effect on biceps growth as specialized biceps curls.
Barbell Row: These exercises are fantastic for training your back, especially your mid-back. They also work your biceps.
If you practice these exercises 2–3 times per week as part of a full-body workout, you have a good foundation for gaining muscle. You will work the most, if not all, of your muscle groups effectively and efficiently.
How much to do?
At least twice a week, adults should perform muscle training activities that target all major muscle groups, as recommended by the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2015-2020. Muscle gain is a gradual process. It might take around three to four weeks to notice a change.
In just a few months, one may expect to significantly improve the muscle mass while also losing fat. During 16 weeks of strength training, male participants with an average age of 60 acquired 2 kg of lean mass while shedding 2 kg of fat mass in one research.
As we age, our joints and metabolism change, necessitating modifications to our exercise and muscle-building approaches after age 40. Avoiding painful or potentially dangerous exercises when engaging in strength training in the gym would be best. We will address how you should exercise throughout your 40s, 50s, and 60s and how you should eat and supplement your diet.
Tips for Muscle Training for Men.
We all know that as we age, it becomes increasingly difficult to build lean muscle. But these few tips can be of great help if followed properly,
- Pump Muscle More. Aging comes with laziness. You must increase your exercise intensity (20-30 total sets per training day) and perform your last set of each muscle group to failure. Using the same weights and performing the same number of sets and repetitions will never produce consistent muscular gain.
- Slow your reps. When performing repetitions, consider taking 3 seconds for each repetition. Strength training like this will force your muscles to adapt and develop.
- Change the Routine. Muscle confusion is genuine. Muscles will halt developing if one consistently performs the same activities with the same weights. It is suggested to alternate or change your workouts, rep ranges, and weights every 45 to 60 days, and you’ll see more muscle growth and definition.
- Feed Your Need: You need more protein in your diet if you want to gain muscle. Consume high-quality lean proteins and carbs while restricting fat consumption to prevent increased caloric intake from transforming into fat.
- Give Your Muscles Some Time. Recovery is as important as muscle training. Give your body extra time to recover between training days, as growth occurs during recovery. It is preferable to train the same muscle groups only twice a week as you age.
- Less Cardio, More Muscle. So it is true that cardio can lead to muscle loss. If your goal is to keep the muscle bulk steady as you age, then optimize your cardio routine with more strength training sessions.
- Go Light. Lifting heavy weights when you are 60 or above will continuously nag your body with discomfort and pains in your knees, wrists, elbows, and shoulders. Eventually, these small inconveniences will become so severe that they will hinder your training. In one study, high repetitions and light weights (3 sets of 30 to 40 repetitions) promoted the same amount of muscle growth as heavy weights and lower repetitions (3 sets of 10 to 12 reps). So it’s always suggested to go light in terms of lifting.
- Dont Forget. Perform a warm-up before every workout and a cool-down afterward. As it has been found to reduce muscle soreness, prevent injuries, better recovery time, and better exercise results for strength training. Stretching is a fantastic method to cool down, while walking is an amazing way to warm up.
- Sleep & rest. The American Center for Sports Medicine suggests a minimum of eight hours of sleep every night and at least 48 hours of rest between intense exercises. However, this does not indicate that you must refrain from exercise for 48 hours. Simply rest the muscle part that you worked out. You may incorporate foam rolling, yoga, joint mobility exercises, and massage into your rest days.
It’s natural to start feeling your age when it takes longer than normal for your muscles to recover from activity. This depends on various things, such as the kind of workout and your current fitness level. Recovery time can also be affected by factors including sleep quality, stress levels, and food. It’s good for your health in the long run if you cut back on alcohol and cigarettes, but doing so will also help your muscles heal faster.
Contrary to common perception, aging is not a barrier to muscle building. For elders, strength exercise is both beneficial and safe.
Always consult with your physician prior to commencing or altering an exercise regimen. Depending on your goals and health background, an orthopedic expert or physical therapist can design a custom strength training program and instruct you on how to practice the exercises on your own schedule. It is essential to perform these exercises correctly in order to improve your muscles safely and efficiently.
However, it is unlikely that your condition would prevent you from strength training. You may be among those who benefit the most from this type of workout.