Bodybuilding vs strength training

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    Bodybuilding vs strength training

    Hello everyone, I'm 52 years old and I'm looking to lessen the effects of muscle loss that comes with age. In your opinion, what would be the way to go, the bodybuilding (sarcoplasmic) or strength (myofibrillar) training route. I want to keep it all bodyweight exercise. Any insight would help.
    Thank you for your time.

    #2
    I'd say all bodybuilders do strength training, but not everybody who does strength training is a bodybuilder by default. Bodybuilding is, in essence, using exercise and diet to create a sculpture out of one's own body for aesthetic purposes. Typically they're doing a lot more than bodyweight exercise, too. If that's specifically what you're looking for there's a lot of specialty resources to help you get there.

    But from what I'm hearing, lessening age-related muscle loss - sounds more like you're seeking maintained function more than an idealized form, yeah? So before I go nuts with suggestions, where are you starting from? Ever play sports, have a labor-heavy job, never really interested in fitness until now, etc? Also, what do you like to do, what's fun?

    The good news is that at 52 no matter where you're starting from there's a lot you can do to stay solid for decades. Just give a little more info to point you in the right direction.

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      #3
      Thanks for the response. I'm in good shape. Currently I'm doing bodyweight exercises. Playing with the variables would allow me to go either way. I guess my question is which approach builds more muscle.

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        #4
        If you're already in good shape, the world's your oyster. As far as programs go, Spartan Trials or 30 Days of Strength cover a lot of ground in calisthenics and if you complete either (or both) Military Fit looks to be tougher still.

        Powerbuilt and Power Gainer are full body fairly intense bodyweight workouts that'd keep anybody strong.

        As far as an approach that specifically builds more muscle, in terms of increased mass nothing is ever gonna beat the combo of weights + good nutrition but your first post said to keep it all bodyweight. This is where we gotta split the hair of "builds more muscle" vs. "lessen the effect of muscle loss." I can promise that completing any of the above would prevent anybody from withering away too quick. Most folks with a focus on bodyweight exercises alone tend to get lean, strong, dense, tight. "Shredded." But bodyweight exercises even at the most difficult don't pack on muscle the way, say deadlifting 350 lb. would. Bodyweight exercises WOULD keep a person completely functional for the span of their life, with much less muscle loss than a sedentary peer. Weight training is just as good, but there's cost/availability, increased risk of injury, realities about bone density/joints, etc. to consider.

        Personally, I'd say give some of those workouts/programs a shot for a bit and see how you feel. If you don't think they're getting you where you need to be, you can always change it up then.

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          #5
          Originally posted by SparkyV View Post
          Thanks for the response. I'm in good shape. Currently I'm doing bodyweight exercises. Playing with the variables would allow me to go either way. I guess my question is which approach builds more muscle.
          Building muscle (as in size, not necessarily strength), happens when you work them to failure (in my terms, that means one rep before actual failure...) while eating to gain weight. Diet controls that more than exercise.

          If you want to build strength, well, any exercise can build strength, so long as you keep variety, and keep your body challenged. I've jumped from a level 3 difficulty program to a level 5 one. I'm pushing my body as far as it will go with every workout, sometimes I need to rest a few seconds between exercises as well as between sets. In essence, I'm forcing my body to adapt.

          Eventually, it will become easier...(thus, I would have become stronger) and then I need to find new ways of making it challenging.

          Just don't ever let your workouts become too easy.

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            #6
            If you want to build muscle using bodyweight exercise, perhaps you can try something called "Controlled fatigue". This is Ori Hoffmekler's (Warrior Diet) suggestion.

            It's when you do some high intensity cardio to tire out the muscles first, and then do strength training. You'll be able to work muscles to failure much quicker with strength when they are already tired.

            That just unintentionally (or intentionally?) happened to me. I was pretty fatigued (I'm doing Power Cardio), and then I did a back & biceps workout. With each set the number of reps I could do became less and less.

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              #7
              At this age we have the problem of sarcopenia,I thing they wrote already what you can do with bodyweight workouts .
              At 40+ and 50+ we will not lift heavier but we can do more sets or do little interval between exercises.7.5-12.5 kgs dumbbells wil be ok
              You can consider to do metabolic workouts with compound exercises as deadlift and squat,I use kettlebells and I like them,it is not necessary to lift so heavy as others but to use a 24kg kettlebell for example as the heaviest and to do workouts,you can start with a 12-16kgs kettlebell depending the exercise

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                #8
                I am 64 yrs young. I have been using DAREBEE for 6 months. I have added functional strength & muscle definition. As an example, in May I did IRONBORN Program. I started with 15 lb dumbbells & finished using 20 lb.

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by SparkyV View Post
                  I want to keep it all bodyweight exercise. Any insight would help.
                  Do you have a pull-up station or rings, can you do pistols squats, handstand push-ups ? Whats your level now. I think just work every day.

                  I'm 69 and nowadays I focus a lot on balance, flexibility and mobility, Tai Chi Chuan (+ sword and sabre forms L+R) and Yoga. I'm a big fan of Muscle Tensing and Control. For strength I go to the gym 3 days a week.

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