No matter what your age, it's never too late to become a powerlifter. If you power lifted back in the day, it's never too late to come back to powerlifting. It's one of the many great things about this sport. There are groups and records for almost any age. I've never seen an age limit placed on a gym, any equipment, a bar or any plate. You're never too old to be in the gym and never too old to step on, or back on, the platform!
I often hear talk about getting younger people into powerlifting and that they are the future of the sport. Well, to some extent, this may be true, but there are some other facts that get overlooked. With my many years in this sport, I've seen many high school students get into this sport only to stop by the time they graduate. Young kids are fickle, and most of the time they don't really know what they want. Many young kids/young men are also broke and don't have the funds for travel or the general cost of powerlifting. When it comes to young men, they have women on their minds most of the time. I can't tell you how many younger guys I've seen with the potential to be good powerlifters, but they are too worried about keeping their six-packs for the girls. Many twenty-somethings are starting careers and families, which limits the time most of them will give to powerlifting. I think it's great to get younger people into the sport and I'm always excited to see that, especially if they're dedicated, but I see too many younger lifters quickly fall out of sight of the platform.
At the last elitefts™ seminar I coached at, we had a lot of older lifters ranging in age from 40 to 60 and it got me thinking. First off, I thought that it was pretty cool to see so many older lifters and then I even started to see logic in it. I realized that there are many benefits for an older lifter in powerlifting, many benefits for the sport of powerlifting and many benefits for coaches when it comes to older lifters. It's an all around good thing and something I never really hear anyone talk about. Older lifters have generally raised their families and have more time to dedicate to training. They are usually a little more financially secure and have more disposable income for training, gear, coaching and so on. They're also pretty stable in their careers or even retired or approaching retirement. If they're retired, they have more time to train and focus on recovery. These are things that you won't find in younger lifters.
Powerlifting can be a great thing for older people and even better for older lifters coming back to the sport. As we get older, we lose muscle mass, which sucks! Powerlifting is a great way for people to maintain that and even still gain some. If you ask me, strength is a huge thing for quality of life. I see older people come into the gym for a better quality of life, but they're too afraid to lift anything heavy. What's the point of that? You're older, not dead! Get in the gym and start competing to put a kick in your training.
For those guys coming back to powerlifting, there is a whole new world out there. There are new methods of training and new equipment, and information and coaching are way more accessible now than they've ever been. There are new advancements in gear, which in the case of old injuries or joint problems can allow some to keep lifting without so much pain. I think some lifters could return to the sport and have a chance of bettering their old PRs. I've seen a few older lifters come back to the sport and improve on what they've done in their younger years.
One of the things I like most about coaching older lifters is that they're more open to being coached and to listening than younger lifters. I think we all were more hard-headed when we were younger, and we thought we knew everything. I know I did, and I wanted to do everything on my own without any help. I didn't start powerlifting until I was about 28 and I was better at that point than in my early twenties. Now, I'm way more willing to be open and think about things. I find this to be very true when I'm coaching people. The older they are, the more they listen and think. I've had some really good younger lifters as well. I just think experiencing more life helps us realize that maybe we don't know it all, which allows us to learn better in some ways. Like I said, in general, there are still some hard-headed older people and there are still younger people who learn because they're open.
There is room for everyone in the sport of powerlifting, and the sport welcomes people from all walks of life. We need more younger lifters and we need more older lifters. We need more men and we need more women. There is plenty of room for the sport to grow and plenty of room for young and old. Each person brings his or her own specialty to the table. Powerlifting is a fantastic sport, and I never hear of anyone leaving his or her first meet disappointed. That lifter may not have hit the numbers that he wanted, but he almost always talks about how much fun he had and how great everyone was. So I think the focus shouldn't just be on bringing in younger lifters but bringing in lifters in general. I think anyone who goes to a gym to lift weights is a potential powerlifter. What level of powerlifter they want to be is up to them.