Starting Olympic Weightlifting at 65+
The first thing to do when you want to start lifting weights is to determine your age. There are many ways of doing it but the most common one is by taking a simple body fat test. A good way is to use a scale with a calibrated reading (like the one shown in figure 1). You will need some sort of measuring tape or string so that you don’t lose any measurement while performing the test.
Figure 1: Body Fat Test Scales
If you have no health problems, you can start lifting weights at 20 years old. If you are overweight or obese then it’s better to wait until you reach the age of 25 before starting.
There are several reasons why you might not be able to start lifting weights right away. One reason could be because you have health issues like asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease. Another reason could be that you just aren’t physically fit enough yet. Still another reason may be that you simply haven’t had much opportunity to exercise since your parents didn’t let you play sports as a kid.
These are all valid reasons for not being able to start lifting weights immediately after puberty. But, if you are a grown adult, then you should be able to start lifting weights as soon as you feel ready and have a place to work out.
There is no minimum or maximum age for weightlifting. From the moment you start puberty until the day you die, you will always be able to lift weights. However, as we have already discussed, there are certain health conditions that may prevent you from starting before the age of 25. The good news is that nobody knows when or how they will die so you might outlive that age limit.
As far as we know, the oldest Olympic weightlifter in history is a 90 year old man from Greece who still competes in the Master’s division (he has since set several world records).
If you’ve never worked out or haven’t done any serious weight training before then it’s best to start light. Start with a couple of repetitions with a low weight and try to perfect your form before moving on to heavier weights. This is very important in Olympic Weightlifting because if your form isn’t perfect then you could get hurt.
The best way to prevent getting hurt is by learning how to perform the exercises properly. In addition to proper form, you also need to be warmed up properly before you start lifting weights. Proper exercise progression is very important so make sure that you are not lifting more weight than you are ready for. If you have any doubt about your abilities then it’s best to ask a trainer at your gym for help.
Olympic weightlifters train in the snatch and clean and jerk. Many people think that these exercises are only for athletes but anyone can reap the benefits of these weightlifting powerhouses. The best part about these exercises is that they work nearly every muscle in your body. They are a combination of a squat, a push and a pull.
In addition to that, they also require a great deal of balance and coordination.
Olympic Lifting Shoes:
Before you can start doing any heavy lifting you are going to need heavy weightlifting shoes. Unlike regular athletic sneakers, these have a solid flat sole that helps give you extra leverage for lifting. They also have a thicker and more rigid heel. This helps maintain your balance when doing the Olympic Lifts.
You can see an example of a pair of weightlifting shoes here:
How much does this equipment cost?
The first item on our list is the cheapest one and probably the most affordable for most people and that’s the weightlifting belt. The average cost of a good quality weightlifting belt is about $30. Most of the other equipment such as barbells, dumbbells and weightlifting shoes are going to be fairly expensive. Barbells and weights can easily go for $1000 or more depending on the amount of weights and types you get.
Free/Cheap Ways to Train:
Luckily there are some gyms that offer free memberships for low income individuals. Try reaching out to these types of facilities near you to see if you qualify. If not, read the section above to find out how to purchase the bare minimum amount of weights for cheap.
Creating a Home Gym on the Cheap: (Estimated $200)
For about $200 you can get the bare minimum amount of weightlifting equipment to work out with at home.
Barbell and Weights: ($100-$400)
The cheapest way to purchase weights is to get a set that you can add weight plates on. You can sometimes find these at garage sales or you can buy brand new ones for about $100. You can also get barbell sets that come with the bar and some weights already on it. For about $200-$400 you can get a bar with enough weight on it to work out with.
Weight Bench: ($80-$300)
You’re going to need something to lay down on when working out so you will need a weight bench of some sort. You can find these used pretty easily or if you have a little bit more cash you can buy a brand new one. Expect to pay anywhere from $80-$300.
Weightlifting Shoe: ($60)
As with any exercise, you’re going to need some good shoes in order to lift weights properly. You can certainly use footwear that you already may have but if you want something that is designed for weightlifting then you’re going to have to buy a pair. Fortunately, a decent pair doesn’t cost very much money at all. You can get a basic pair for about $60.
Finding Free Weights:
If you aren’t in the financial position to buy the minimum required amount of weights, don’t despair. You can find many things around your house that you can use in place of traditional weights. You can also go out and find things in nature that you can use as free weights as well.
Find Things Around the House to Use as Weights:
Large Seasonal Garbage (Eg. Christmas Trees)
Bags of Laundry
Find Things in Nature to Use as Weights:
Tires (Link to how to increase chest without equipment)
Granite Slabs (Link to how to increase chest without equipment)
Logs/Buckets of Water
Natural Rocks (Some are extremely heavy!)
Find an Underwater Source to Do Calisthenics In: (Free)
If you find a good underwater source that’s deep enough you can dive down and do calisthenics.
Sources & references used in this article:
Altered Start Position Reduces Horizontal Displacement during the Snatch and Clean. by WJ Kraemer, LP Koziris – Physiology and nutrition for competitive sport, 1994
Ultimate Olympic Weightlifting: A Complete Guide to Barbell Lifts—from Beginner to Gold Medal by J Petrizzo, FJ DiMenna, R Page, G Smith… – Journal of Exercise …, 2016 – asep.org
Using Video Modeling and Video Feedback to Improve Olympic Weightlifting Technique by D Randolph – 2015 – books.google.com