Are Weights Worthwhile?

weightsThere is a school of thought that says, after the age of 60, you canNOT make yourself any stronger by lifting weights. So I asked good friend Dr. Michael Fenster for his thoughts on this subject…

I am occasionally asked if it is possible to build muscle mass and strength after the age of 60. It is a difficult, but not impossible, task to build up muscle mass in the senior years because the production of anabolic steroids (androgens acting like testosterone) is diminished with age.

That does not mean that it is impossible to maintain muscle strength. Muscle strength depends on two factors – muscle mass and muscle tone. Although muscle mass is lost with each passing decade, muscle tone can be maintained and even increased with appropriate exercise.

Types of Exercise

There are two basic types of exercise – aerobic exercise and resistance exercise. Aerobic exercise is the exercise used for running, tennis, etc.; while resistance exercise is the exercise used in lifting weights, doing push ups, etc.

We need to do both these exercise throughout our lifetime, but the exercise should be compatible with any physical limitations, injuries, or health issues we may have.

Although exercise of either type may not increase muscle mass, it can delay the progressive loss of additional muscle mass and maintain the muscle strength we have. In addition, exercise of both types decreases, but does not eliminate, the risk for osteoporosis, cardiac problems and cancer.

In summary, exercise of both types is essential, but should not be overdone as that can lead to injury. No matter how much exercise is done, a 60 year old cannot expect to have the strength of a similarly fit 30 year old.


For me, I still try to workout with my 10 and 15 pound sets of dumbbells (no, not my dumbbell friends) three times a week. Maybe it is psychological, but it makes me FEEL stronger.

Your thoughts?

Tournament Reminder

Reminder to all that the Colonial deadline is Jan. 2 @ 5 PM; hopefully guys don’t lose track of the calendar with regards to the holidays and forget to sign up…….

Mark Taylor
USTA Florida
Florida Cup Commissioner

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5 thoughts on “Are Weights Worthwhile?

  1. I believe that “intelligent” weight training, along with aerobic exercise, is beneficial at any age. It has been proven that even people who have been at nursing homes in wheelchairs or bedridden can often resume moderate activity and be on their feet again after implementing a light weight training program. Weight training for older athletes, whether playing tennis, golf, Pickelball or whatever will improve performance and, maybe more importantly, make a person feel more fit, have better posture, and just look better. Start light and add more weight over time. We’re not going to look and feel like we did when we were 30 but we can still improve.

    Jim, my philosophy, exactly! thanks, george

  2. When opponent is serving and first serve goes long then strikes rear post and flows back onto court. Should server receive another first serve or clear ball and call second serve? I know has nothing to do with weight lifting.

    Ralph, that just happened this morning in my dubs match… second serve. george

  3. I am 62 and had 3 rotator cuff muscles repaired July 15th. I have been insanely focused on getting back to where I was before I started having problems a couple of years ago. I feel good but my strength is not close. I used to curl 35 lbs. I am currently having trouble with 20 lb curls. ( I take this as an indication the rest of my strength is not up to par) I am currently hitting quality forehands and very easy backhands and serves. The Dr doesn’t want me going full strength until March. Will I be able to get my strength back to where it was?

    Randy, i will wait for someone more qualified than me to answer; but since my detached biceps tendon in May, i am now 90% back to strength. george

  4. In my 20’s and 30’s I used to workout heavy….heavy bench presses.. squats, curls etc

    I continued through my 50’s but had to cut back due to shoulder injury

    I go to gym once or twice a week to maintain some of the muscle…I use limited motions.. for bench presses I may use 200 pounds for reps but I use the safety bar and only move the weight down 4 or 5 inches

    at least I feel good still moving that weight…..

    Sal, i used to lift as a teenager… very impressive! george


  5. First of all, I would change the term from weight training to strength training. Without some type of resistance training, a person will definitely lose strength. In addition, endurance type sports, which could include single tennis, does not build muscle but actually decreases muscle mass. Strength training should be specific to the sport – i.e. tennis should include both upper and lower body exercises. As we age, it is not necessary to use high resistance and in many cases body weight is all we need. The program must hit on all muscle groups concentrating on the buttocks, hip flexors, and core. Finally, any strength training must be supplemented with proper warm-up (foam roller) and post-stretching. Upper body should center on scapular stabilizers and rotator cuff. Finally, I believe strength training only needs to be done 1 day a week, especially if you are competing in matches/tournaments.

    Larry, I wish I fully bought into the “one time per week” philosophy! Thanks, george

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