Urban Dictionary has several definitions for the phenomenon known as “old man strength,” including “The crazy insane strength you gain when you become an old man” and “The uncanny ability of older men to lift copious amounts of lumber, heavy furniture, and beat their sons in arm wrestling.”
Who knows exactly what it is and where it comes from. But there’s definitely something to it. Haven’t you ever seen your father-in-law do yard work for hours on end, inexplicably never getting tired?
Here’s an interesting take from a fitness podcaster who attributes old man strength to something outside of pure muscle mass.
Some also argue that old man strength comes from stress hormones which cause the body to release adrenaline (some studies have shown that older men produce more of these hormones). A strength and conditioning coach explained to Men’s Journal that these hormonal increases also come “with increases in testosterone, cortisol, insulin, and growth hormone that contribute to increases in strength and recovery.”
Hormones aside, other studies show that “Muscle mass decreases approximately 3–8% per decade after the age of 30 and this rate of decline is even higher after the age of 60.”
Whether it’s accepted in scientific communities or not, we’ve gathered up some great examples of old man strength from around the web.
Joe Rogan’s jaw drops while watching an old man wearing a sweater beat the life out of a young dude with a ponytail.
Odd Haugen, 73, has what some consider to be the strongest grip in the world, and he holds several records to prove it. The 6’4″ Norwegian-born strongman has also competed in bodybuilding, weightlifting and powerlifting.
Others argue that 57-year-old Mark Felix has the strongest hands in the world.
Watch this 77-year-old Welsh man square up with his would-be mugger.
Watch this 70-year-old defeat a man half his age (and maybe twice his size) in arm wrestling.
We’re not sure how old this guy is. But he’s an absolute beast.
It’s way too easy for this dad.
England, 2009: a 23-year-old named Gregory McCalium broke into the home of 72-year-old Frank Corti with a knife. When Corti spotted McCalium in his hallway, he “delivered two right hooks” and made him look like this. The young man didn’t realize he was entering the home of a retired boxer.