Thread: Bench Press
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Old 08-28-2008, 01:57 PM   #73
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Originally Posted by dcottrill View Post
Actually, I just pulled the 98th percentile figure out of the air. But, from personal observation at the gym, at the tennis courts, and on the street, I'd be willing to bet that only a very small percentage of men over the age of 60 can bench press their own body weight. There are exceptions, of course, but I suspect that they are few and far between. Anyway, your question prompted me to do some research.

So, if an 89% of body weight one max rep bench press gets a 60+ year old into the 90th percentile, I bet your 106% (180 bench divided by 170 body weight) for reps would get you close to the 98th percentile.

As I said before, pretty impressive.
Thanks for that site! I've bookmarked it. I suspect two MAIN reasons for such substantial dropoffs with age:

1. Functional decline, such as less lifting, and less activity. I see this all the time and can agree with you that most guys over 60 have trouble taking out the garbage! It's just too sad. There is no need to get so fat and out of shape. It ISN'T inevitable that you have to lose so much in your 50's and 60's. You will lose a small amount even if you train hard, but Bill Phillips is still pushing some heavy iron after all these years.

2. Lowered testosterone due to 1 above, poor diet, and age.

Something comparable is running. Before my back injury I was taking my youngest brother out on training runs. I would be jogging along at an easy 10 mpm pace and he would be red faced, huffing and puffing and having a near death experience. He's almost 10 years younger than me and only weighs about 175. I see this sort of thing on the tennis court all the time, which is why so few older guys play singles. At triathlons it's a very similar situation. The average sprint triathlon might get 5 guys over the age of 65 out for the race, whereas the 30-35 age group has 30-50 guys.

Anyway, coming back to benching, the guys who've been doing it for a long time, have stayed healthy and fit, are going to bench a lot more than your average guy. Frankly I don't think I know any other 60 year old tennis players who could bench over 150. At least not at my courts. Heck, I can't get but a couple of them to go to the gym with me. I took one guy and he wouldn't go back. "Too hard." LOL. And I started him on almost nothing. Just too sad. It's like they've had a sex change by that age.

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