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Barbell Barbell over 50: Easier to do more than less

watchnerd

Level 8 Valued Member
Over age 50, I've found a few things that seem to fly in the face of conventional wisdom.

Note, these might be particular to me, but here they are:

  • I do better now with 4 days a week of barbell training than 3 days a week. I need less warm up time, my mobility is better, I'm less stiff, and I get less sore.
  • My ability to recover from intensity isn't what it used to be, but volume isn't as much of a problem. So I respond better with dropping the intensity, but ramping up the volume. [Note: this is the opposite of what Rippetoe has said recently, but he doesn't look so healthy these days]
  • Because my intensity is less, my active recovery days can be more active. More cardio, less foam rolling
  • Lifting more frequently seems to keep my joints more lubed. I have hardly any crunches, pops, or crackles.
  • Neural drive on high skill / CNS demanding movements is better. I feel more 'primed' and able to do more practice before hitting CNS fatigue.
  • Sleep is better. I have a reason to be tired at the end of the day.
In contrast, if I barbell lift 3 days a week, everything is a bit harder and takes more effort.

And if I lift only 2 days, it's a downright chore.
 

Lotto

Level 5 Valued Member
I find the same but not exclusive to BB for me. If I have a relaxing few days away with the family and do not a lot apart from walking, I generally feel worse for it. I feel better and happier if I do at least a little something everyday. Minimum requirement to feel tip top is 3 days on program of choice at the time. Anything less and I just don't feel as good as normal.
 

LukeV

Level 6 Valued Member
I've got arthritis not just age (53) to contend with and my goal is always hypertrophy but I've definitely dropped the intensity and increased the frequency. I hardly ever lift above 10RM and I work out five to seven days weekly. My programming is simple, a handful of exercises working up to a single hard set close to failure. I'm hitting the MED for hypertrophy daily or nearly daily and my joints feel good, certainly better than they feel if I reduce the frequency and up the per workout volume.
 

Boris Bachmann

Level 7 Valued Member
I like your thoughts a lot and agree with them all, though my training probably wouldn't reflect some of them.

I posted this the other day on the subject:
*Make sure to include warm-up and mobility work (you can't get away from doing them anymore)
*Avoid injury (you can't afford to get them anymore)
*Attend your 'issues' (you can't afford to ignore them anymore)
*Take extra care of your recovery (you can't train like an a-hole anymore)
*Pay attention to diet (you can't eat like an a-hole anymore)

 

watchnerd

Level 8 Valued Member
My programming is simple, a handful of exercises working up to a single hard set close to failure.

I don't do that many different exercises, either.

Typically 2-3 ballistics or compounds.

And then a couple of core isolation exercises.

Current off-season program looks like this:

PracticeStrengthPracticeStrength
MonTuesThuFri
SnatchBSQC&JFSQ
Snatch PullPush PressClean PullPush Ups / Dips
Abs,BackChin UpsAbs,BackRows


Abs, Back = 3 different ab exercises, 2 different lower back exercises. Selection based on whatever needs work.

Warm-ups are particular to the workout in question, but I don't program them, per say, as they're not something I progressively overload.
 
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LukeV

Level 6 Valued Member
I don't do that many different exercises, either.

Typically 2-3 ballistics or compounds.

And then a couple of core isolation exercises.

Current off-season program looks like this:

PracticeStrengthPracticeStrength
MonTuesThuFri
SnatchBSQC&JFSQ
Snatch PullPush PressClean PullPush Ups / Dips
Abs,BackChin UpsAbs,BackRows


Abs, Back = 3 different ab exercises, 2 different lower back exercises. Selection based on whatever needs work.

Warm-ups are particular to the workout in question, but I don't program them, per say, as they're not something I progressively overload.
Bad knee arthritis has meant no lower body exercises for nearly 12 months but my 5 to 7 days weekly program is compounds one pushing / one pulling plus isolation one triceps / one biceps. I try not to repeat the same compound exercises so I'm cycling between two or three different exercises weekly (press and row variations). Isolation are usually tricep pull-downs and bicep curls. Even with five to seven workouts weekly overall volume is pretty minimalist but I've built some mass, lost some definition. The high frequency means recovery is the no 1 issue, every time I take up the weight I'm thinking about what I want to do tomorrow. This is good discipline and keeping me safe
 

Dydo

Level 4 Valued Member
In another thread I commented on how older people get different advice - some say to train harder but with less volume, others say that heavier loads stress the joints and it's good to train with moderate weights. Ok, but I'm more inclined to believe the former if I go by my logic. I'm talking about multi-joint base exercises like bench press, squat, etc. If, for example, you do 10x1 with 90% RM /assuming your 1RM is 100 kg./ or 3x10 with 70% RM. In the first case it is heavier, but the ultimate sound power is, for example, only 900 kg, and in the second it will be 2100 kg. Which means that your joints have both borne more of the total load and have folded and unfolded many times more. In one case only 10 times, and in the other 30 times. And more time was under tension in one set when you performed 3x10. That's my logic, I'm not saying it's correct. there are certainly other factors, but I think training harder at lower volume is probably more gentle and easier to recover from. When I train like a bodybuilder with more volume I feel more tired the following days.

I also see that you only listed the exercises without information on how many sets and reps you do, whether you train to failure on certain exercises, etc. Because these things are very important. You can train often, but with only one working set. You can do an ascending pyramid or several sets with the same weight. You may rest more or less.
 

watchnerd

Level 8 Valued Member
I also see that you only listed the exercises without information on how many sets and reps you do, whether you train to failure on certain exercises, etc.

Well, i didn't want to spam the thread with an 8 week periodized program spreadsheet with waving volume and intensity.

Especially since I use velocity-based training (VBT), which isn't possible to implement for people who don't have a bar accelerometer system.


Also, I'm training for a sport (weightlifting), so the programming isn't very applicable, or even understandable, to people who aren't weightlifters.

I didn't want to turn this into a thread about weightlifting-specific programming over 50.

But generally speaking in weightlifting training, training to failure is something that is avoided.

Accessory "fitness" / GPP compound exercises in the program (e.g. chin ups, dips) are done for higher reps to 2 RIR.

The only time I train to failure is with pure bodybuilding isolation exercises (e.g. curls), which are not part of the current program.
 
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John K

Level 7 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
In another thread I commented on how older people get different advice - some say to train harder but with less volume, others say that heavier loads stress the joints and it's good to train with moderate weights. Ok, but I'm more inclined to believe the former if I go by my logic.
Something to consider - different people may well respond to volume and intensity differently. It isn't about believing one or the other as much as it is how someone (or yourself) responds. One person responding to volume doesn't invalidate someone else responding to intensity.

Feel free to take this with a grain of salt. I'm not an old geezer yet, and my "qualifications" are only that I've trained older folks with some modicum of success.
 

watchnerd

Level 8 Valued Member
Something to consider - different people may well respond to volume and intensity differently. It isn't about believing one or the other as much as it is how someone (or yourself) responds. One person responding to volume doesn't invalidate someone else responding to intensity.

Feel free to take this with a grain of salt. I'm not an old geezer yet, and my "qualifications" are only that I've trained older folks with some modicum of success.

That's why I noted in the first post:

these might be particular to me
 

watchnerd

Level 8 Valued Member
every time I take up the weight I'm thinking about what I want to do tomorrow. This is good discipline and keeping me safe

Ditto.

Especially for anything related to shoulders, as I'm doing overhead work 2 days in a row on some days.
 

Dydo

Level 4 Valued Member
That's right, people are different. Personally, no matter how I have trained, I have no problem with any joint and ligament injuries. It's just that recovery is different and the presence of muscle spasms. But this does not mean that in the future one way can cause more harm than the other.

I also like OL, but the gym I attend does not allow this sport to be practiced well. I don't have the ability to drop the bar from above if something goes wrong. It could hurt someone because the place for such a lift is full of people and not a large area.

Otherwise, I understood what you were saying and I agree :)
 

watchnerd

Level 8 Valued Member
I also like OL, but the gym I attend does not allow this sport to be practiced well. I don't have the ability to drop the bar from above if something goes wrong. It could hurt someone because the place for such a lift is full of people and not a large area.

I have a lifting platform and bumper plates in my garage, so I don't have to worry about other people's rules.

Having a home gym has been great over 50.

It's much easier to train frequently if I don't have to drive to the gym.
 

Dydo

Level 4 Valued Member
Unfortunately, I don't have that option, as I live in an apartment. I have two gyms that are about a 3-4 minute walk away. But both gyms are not suitable for such a sport. There was also a very shiny one that I went to for two years, but it was further away and I visited it by car. But I gave her up.
I also kind of miss the urge to workout when he's home. Maybe the presence of other people is some kind of incentive that you are part of something and some kind of community. Even last time I talked to a guy who also lives in a house and has all kinds of exercise equipment. He also said he tried but failed to continue doing it there. It's obviously a matter of preference and feel.

I apologize if I have provoked thoughtless reasoning on the initial idea of the topic.
 

LukeV

Level 6 Valued Member
Unfortunately, I don't have that option, as I live in an apartment. I have two gyms that are about a 3-4 minute walk away. But both gyms are not suitable for such a sport. There was also a very shiny one that I went to for two years, but it was further away and I visited it by car. But I gave her up.
I also kind of miss the urge to workout when he's home. Maybe the presence of other people is some kind of incentive that you are part of something and some kind of community. Even last time I talked to a guy who also lives in a house and has all kinds of exercise equipment. He also said he tried but failed to continue doing it there. It's obviously a matter of preference and feel.

I apologize if I have provoked thoughtless reasoning on the initial idea of the topic.
I thought your comments were good mate
 

watchnerd

Level 8 Valued Member
Unfortunately, I don't have that option, as I live in an apartment. I have two gyms that are about a 3-4 minute walk away. But both gyms are not suitable for such a sport. There was also a very shiny one that I went to for two years, but it was further away and I visited it by car. But I gave her up.
I also kind of miss the urge to workout when he's home. Maybe the presence of other people is some kind of incentive that you are part of something and some kind of community. Even last time I talked to a guy who also lives in a house and has all kinds of exercise equipment. He also said he tried but failed to continue doing it there. It's obviously a matter of preference and feel.

I apologize if I have provoked thoughtless reasoning on the initial idea of the topic.

I like going to the local YMCA gym, and the community, on active recovery days for swimming and yoga classes.

And in the summer I go to the boathouse for rowing.

But when I'm trying to focus on practicing the competition lifts, I prefer to be alone and quiet.
 

Dydo

Level 4 Valued Member
About a little over a year ago, I became interested in the physical aspect of yoga asanas. But without a teacher it might be risky as there were times when I felt slight pains here and there. But that wasn't the problem. What did I notice? I don't know for what reason, but somehow yoga made me weaker on the barbells. At first I thought I was delusional and even though I did yoga for about 20 min at most and even with a day off after that when I go to the gym my strength is lower. I tried several times to make sure I wasn't fooling myself and it was always the same. Yoga is somehow clearly draining my strength for lifting. But as you said at the beginning of your topic, this happens to me. It may be different for you :)
 

watchnerd

Level 8 Valued Member
About a little over a year ago, I became interested in the physical aspect of yoga asanas. But without a teacher it might be risky as there were times when I felt slight pains here and there. But that wasn't the problem. What did I notice? I don't know for what reason, but somehow yoga made me weaker on the barbells. At first I thought I was delusional and even though I did yoga for about 20 min at most and even with a day off after that when I go to the gym my strength is lower. I tried several times to make sure I wasn't fooling myself and it was always the same. Yoga is somehow clearly draining my strength for lifting. But as you said at the beginning of your topic, this happens to me. It may be different for you :)

There is a physical adaptation process in yoga, and it's quite long.

What you said was true for me when I first started yoga.

But after about 1 year of regular yoga, and I got stronger in the yoga positions, it had the opposite effect -- my barbell lifts got stronger because some of my end ROM strength was better, underutilized stabilizing muscles were stronger, and my core was much much stronger.

My ability to use breathing as vastly improved. I've heard @Anna C mention breathing and yoga before, too.

The same was true for me with Pilates, as well -- it took a while.
 

Dydo

Level 4 Valued Member
There was a point where I wondered if I should make the decision to stop going to the gym and just continue my home workouts with CB and yoga. And when the weather is good, I do chin-ups and dips on the sports ground. In fact, what do you think about these two exercises when you are about 50 years old and overweight. I am heavy / personal weight 110 kg. I'm currently 178 cm tall/ and I don't know if it's good to do chins. I sometimes have a little tension in the tendons the next day, but it's not fatal. I have no problems after dips. In any case, I need to lose weight to at least 90 kg. I don't feel like it for now.
Ho, I was going to forget. Not yesterday, but the previous time when I visited the gym, I tried to squat with an empty barbell overhead. Naturally I failed and my movement ended somewhere 1/3 of the way from it. Previously, while in my office, I tried squatting with my arms straight and overhead, and it worked out easily. But when I picked up the bar in the evening it was a total disaster :) I know this exercise is learned gradually but I just wanted to check where my mobility is at.
 
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