Why Lift Heavy As You Age?

aging muscle physiology strength Jun 08, 2022

Let’s break down what makes up a muscle fiber

Muscles are made up of a combination of type 1, 2a, and 2x fibers spread all throughout the muscle.  Wondering when your body uses each type of fiber?

  • Knitting a sweater? Type 1 
  • Water aerobics? Type 1 + a little 2a
  • Heavy deadlifts? Type 1 + 2a + 2x



If you do regular load-bearing activities, you tend to keep up a nice even distribution of muscle fiber types and all is well. If you never touch a heavy weight, type 2x fibers will become denervated (lose the nerve to muscle connection). Nerves that go to type 1 fibers will sprout over and add on some of the 2x fibers to their motor unit.

This process is called axonal sprouting, and it results in decreased force production and lower dexterity and fine motor control. These are aspects that you don’t want to lose.


image source



Bottom Line

Don’t be afraid to load muscles (progressively and safely) into old age!

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