Lifting weights as you age

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by swervinbob, Oct 26, 2020.

  1. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Silver Supporter

    Nov 21, 2012
    Place that energy and desire into something productive:

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  2. Mike Simpson

    Mike Simpson Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 19, 2006
    Gilbert, AZ (PHX)
    Your muscles can get stronger... unlike the discs in your back... be careful.
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  3. Pualee

    Pualee Tele-Holic

    Feb 5, 2014
    1. Learn how to do the movements properly. Don't just copy what you see another guy in the gym or youtube doing!
    2. Learn what movements are high risk and which ones are low risk.

    Surprisingly bent rows are pretty risky! Check out this search on youtube: "athlean x hernia"

    Edit: I said don't copy guys on youtube, and then posted youtube :rolleyes:
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  4. Drew617

    Drew617 Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    Mar 4, 2014
    North Shore, Mass.
    I'll be 40 within the year, not really old objectively or probably by forum standards. I've broken a bunch of bones and have had some annoying but not debilitating neurological hassles. Technically I'm a disabled veteran though I'm not really disabled. I probably couldn't take a job as a laboror, but I don't have/want to anyway. I've mostly not felt held back by age yet, though I'm aware my energy level feels like 90% of what it used to be.

    I had my first kid in 2019, and will have a second in 2021. There are two older stepkids in the family as well. Not crazy old to start, but older than average. If any one thing about parenthood freaked me out, it's that I have to hold all this crap together - finances, the family, my physical self - for at least another 25 years starting now. Shouldn't be a stretch but feels daunting because I never had to worry about it before, and of course I can't control everything.

    So, simple calisthenics in the home office every morning for me. Free, cheap in terms of my time, and makes a difference in energy level for sure. Feels good and is certainly more productive than nothing.
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2020
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  5. rghill

    rghill Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 16, 2007
    Glendale, AZ
    59 now and I have been wanting to get back into the gym and working out with weights.

    I was into it about 10 years ago, got into some crazy good shape, but had a few unrelated injury issues that sidelined me.

    Now I walk or hike 6 days a week, and now with the temperatures coming down I can get out during the day and evening. This has definitely helped, but I feel like I need some more to get everything else into shape. The plan is to start very slowly, with fairly light weights and 1 set of each exercise, and move up the number of sets over several weeks. Once I get into a normal workout pattern, then I will work on gradually increasing weights.

    Previously, I was following Fit for Life, which seemed like a good method, now I am looing at:

    Good luck to you, go for it, take it easy at first!
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  6. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 25, 2003
    Santa Barbara, California
    I'm 57. The vast majority of doctors don't know crap about physical conditioning, especially as you get older. Advice to just walk? Look at how much muscle wasting and loss of upper body function that happens to people over 60 who only walk or cycle. It's pretty egregious. I see lots of women and men in my neighborhood who walk their dogs a ton and are definitely not overweight, but their upper bodies are wasting away before my eyes as they move into their later 60s and 70s, and they are visibly stiffening and losing range of motion, too. Yes, they are generally healthy, but they become challenged when it comes to doing things like lifting luggage into the overhead bin, moving furniture around the house, carrying heavy grocery bags, etc. This is not a "normal part of the aging process", nor is obesity. This is a classic case of "use it or lose it". It's the result of our sedentary lifestyles.

    I think power weight lifting with proper form and not too much weight is one of the most efficient exercises you can do to change your body and prevent loss of muscle mass or range of movement with aging.....retaining your ability to do stuff you need to do in order to get through life. But I see people in the gym spending so much time on the bike machine, doing thousands of crunches and abs, and doing lots of dumb arm and leg exercises on the machines, etc. It's just a huge waste of time, IMO, with diminishing returns.

    Do back squat, dead lift, bench press, military press, and pullups. That's it for weights, that's all you need. It gets all of your muscles, very quickly. My core, including abs, got so much bigger and stronger doing back squats than they ever did doing a million crunches. As long as I do deadlifts and squats to stay strong I NEVER have any lower back pain, and I used to get it bad back in the day.

    For cardio, combine HIIT (high intensity interval training) in small doses, with lots of fun, longer duration cardio outdoors-- hiking, walking, cycling, cross country skiing, rowing, swimming, whatever. But just a few minutes of HIIT a few times a week will do more for you than hours and hours of just spinning away on a bike machine, walking, or grinding away on an elliptical trainer. Cyclists and runners can be very structured about it, or just do "fartlekking"-- sprint for a few city limits signs, go hard on a few climbs, etc., to get into the "red zone" a bit.

    Fartlek, a Swedish term that means "speed play," is a form of interval or speed training that can be effective in improving your running speed and endurance. Fartlek running involves varying your pace throughout your run, alternating between fast segments and slow jogs.

    I hate the gym. I like being outside. I can get my gym lifting work done, including warm up and cool down, in about 45 minutes. Just two times a week to maintain strength, three times a week to get stronger. Only lifting in the gym. Everything else is outside. Stretching? Sure-- doesn't need to take forever--- a few correct exercises done well and regularly are all you need. You can do it laying on the floor in the living room while watching TV.

    Right now I'm not going to any gym because of the pandemic, and what I really miss is a proper rack where I can do back squats, and bench press. I'm getting by with dumb bells, calisthenics, and a couple of kettle bells at home but it just isn't the same in terms of results achieved per unit of time and effort invested as I get from pushing bigger weight.

    As far as your joints go-- doing this with proper form doesn't degrade them-- it makes them healthier and stronger. Use it or lose it, as they say. But it's all about functional movement. Do these things with bad biomechanics and yes, you can hurt yourself. If you have tight hamstrings, tight shoulders, or other issues then you can't even do these lifting exercises properly until you work up to them, working with a trainer, to get adequate functional movement restored.

    My concessions to aging are I don't try to push huge weight or look for maxes, and I make sure to warm up. I weigh 170 and am content limit back squatting to around 160 to 200, benching to around 155 to 175, and deadlift to around 255. I want light enough weight to be able to do at least 3 sets of 5 reps, and do more reps up to 10 and/or more sets up to 5 before looking to add weight. I look forward to going back into the gym once it's safe.

    I'm also a student of functional movement, go to physical therapy when I need it, and am religious about doing all the exercises and stretches my PT gives me to keep everything balanced and working well. I know I need work in shoulder/thoracic mobility because there is no way I could do overhead squats or snatch with any decent amount of weight at all at the moment.. Plenty of mobility in my hips, but not enough in the shoulders, so even a broomstick overhead wants to swing forward as I squat. I had rotator cuff surgery on my right shoulder a few years ago (too much surfing!?), and I got it back to 100% functionality and original range of motion, but both shoulders really need a bit more mobility for me to have optimum functional movement for an overhead squat or snatch. It's this kind of analysis and work-- with targeted stretching and strengthening-- that will keep you functional for many more years. Just doing lots of walking ain't gonna get it done.

    With the ageing of the USA population, and the desire of folks to stay healthier for longer, occupations like physical therapy and occupational therapy are certainly promising career opportunities!

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  7. tubelectron

    tubelectron Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 25, 2010
    Lifting weight ? I use a customized trolley... :D


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  8. swervinbob

    swervinbob Friend of Leo's

    Jul 10, 2018
    Yep, when I do squats and deadlifts my knees and back have LESS pain. If your knees hurt when you squat, you’re not using proper form.
  9. Ray G

    Ray G Tele-Holic

    Mar 17, 2003
    New Jersey
    Good thread and good on everyone trying some way or another to keep in, or get in, some kind of shape.

    I am 55 and just getting back to the gym after a year or so layoff, lifting weights exclusively. Would have gone back sooner but could not for obvious reasons. As I’ve gotten older let’s say past 45 I am using strictly machines and no more free weights because I feel it lessens the chance of injury and almost forces proper form. Once in a while if a particular machine is tied up I may do the exercise with free weights but that’s the only exception.

    Glad my gym opened up. I have to book a slot in advance (always the 5:00am to 6:30am time slot,) I wear gloves, wear a mask, and wipe down the equipment before and after every use.

    It feels good to be working out but now having said all this... if for some reason I could only do one form of exercise it would be “walking” for distances of 5 to 10 miles a day maybe four or five days a week.
  10. esseff

    esseff Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 25, 2014
    East Midlands, UK
    Everything is lifting weights for me these days. :(
    chris m. likes this.
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