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Wednesday, May 10. 2017
It's "settled science" that we can do cardio, calisthenics, and isolated muscle high-rep weights (eg curls, body-weight exercises, calf-lifts, pull-downs, heavy hands, sports) daily with no recovery problem, especially under age 65 or 70.
For power lifts with serious weight, it's a matter of some dispute. Every gal and guy wants to build strength as a component of his/her fitness aspirations, and everybody has an opinion about it of course, but there is no dispute that only weights build bone, ligament, and muscle strength. Everybody likes strength training - it is terribly challenging to mind, soul, and body but IT IS BRIEF.
Having read all I can, and discussing the topic with my docs (who are committed exercisers) and my genius trainer, I think doing powerlifts twice weekly (half one day, the other half of them the other) is just barely enough for the over-45 year-old group. Three days/wk of weight training might be optimal for strength, but then where would you find morning time for your cardio and calis? We need a balanced routine to build or maintain General Fitness for Life. We are talking strength here, not Body-Building which I feel is a dumb but harmless sport.
Younger people can handle more lifting than older, but younger people often work longer hours than the middle-aged so have a harder time finding time. They have kids to feed and to take to school in the morning.
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They have looked at the skeletal remains of men from the 18th and 19th century. They found deformations and joint problems from their extremely heavy work lives. Heavy weights and tough workouts will work and make you strong and look strong. If that is your goal I say go for it but be aware of the costs. My theory is varied workouts, lighter weights, aerobic exercise and avoid the temptation to over do it is the better choice over a long lifetime. Every major insult/injury to your body will come back to haunt you in your golden years.
I almost bought a two year old SUV with 100K miles on it. It looked good and the price seemed good but in the end I couldn't get past the idea that it was already half used up. Don't so the same thing with your body. Moderation in all things.
Great points Bob....and prudent!
BD check the web for the NSCA. National Strength and Conditining Assc. and look for study guides for their CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist) examination. At a minimum the searching will give u great resources regarding the topic in general. They have a CPT. (Certified Personal Trainer) examination as well. They cover traditional power lifting and also Olympic lifting which is different.
I will post later if I can as I seem to start typing and the system flags me as a spammer.
Do yourself a favor by purchasing:
The Barbell Prescription: Strength Training for Life After 40
This book makes the argument for strength training as being the centerpiece of one's fitness program better than I can, given the limitations of blog commenting.
If, after reading the book you're convinced that there is a better way to address physical fitness, carry on down that path.
In the end, do what makes you happy and keeps you on the right side of the grass, living your life as you want. After all, we're still free to choose...
I really enjoy your fitness posts and am using your ideas to help set up my own plan.
And I must say, you're getting better looking in every picture. ;)
You have to remember that those guys at work, PAID ABSOLUTELY NO ATTENTION to correct form or to rest between their work-related lifting, both of which are key to sound lifting practices! So your comparison is false and misleading!
Its like saying old school doctors' sanitary practices argue against what we now know are essential sanitation practices to prevent sepsis.
NSCA is too politicized.
CSCS is a bullshit merit badge that can be "earned" even if one has no clue how or what to coach.
If you want to use their study guide to get some ideas, that's one thing. Just don't assume that someone with a CSCS has a clue regarding how to train people. It doesn't mean they do and doesn't mean they don't.
There are plenty of notable coaches who DON'T have their CSCS: Jim Wendler, Dan John and John Romaniello come to mind. Dave Tate, Mark Rippetoe and Mike Boyle once held their CSCS, but may no longer be affiliated with that certification.
It's as much settled as the science on salt.
If your over X (or even under and don't have the genetics and/or PEDs), you can't get away with "high" volume on cardio, met-con, high rep isolated body parts, etc. on a daily basis.
One of the reasons "seniors" - beyond the rank novice stage - have trouble progressing is that they lack the ability to recover from the frequency of workouts needed for OPTIMAL progress. Their early progress is a combination improvements in technique, better neurological firing and changes in the muscle itself. Unlike younger trainees, once the first two plateau, the muscular changes in seniors is not as robust - primarily because they can't tolerate the volume and/or frequency of training.
Hopefully, you understand the economic term "tradeoffs" and recognize that stress is cumulative, i.e. the stress form your job, from your powerlifting, from your cardio, from poster cussing you one the forum, etc. are not isolated from each other. We all want be strong, be fast, and have great endurance, but you cannot simultaneously optimize trading for all at one time.
When you first started posting about training, one of my comments was that you have to determine and prioritize YOUR goals. Here's a clue: If you're over 40 and haven't been drafted, you're goal shouldn't be to play in the NFL or NBA.
Determining your goal isn't easy. Like I said, we all want strength, speed and endurance. But why? Which will make you happiest 5, 10 or 20 years from now? How strong do you need/want (they are different) to be? How much endurance do you need to have? Also, these qualities should be activity specific. Heck, I could increase YOUR squat by 10-20% in 10 weeks by cutting out your cardio and other "crap", but huffing and puffing to make it up the stairs when you're 80 might not be optimal for your happiness.
Carefully consider the Stress-Adaptation-Recovery model. We all think we can handle more stress than we can and recover faster than we can...or at least we hope we can. But we're not ten feet tall and bulletproof anymore...we never really were. Hopefully, with our age has come wisdom and we can use it to overcome some of the advantages of your...or to quote PJ O'Rourke "Age and Guile Beat Youth, Innocence, and a Bad Haircut."
This reader thinks there is not enough attention paid working out the heart. People generally think of "cardio" as the heart work out, but I disagree. I think strength + cardio = heart.
So, at least twice per week I do the following. Figure on 3 miles on the cardio machine of your choice. I like elliptical machines because it is easier on the joints (I'm big guy anyway ... not fat, just big without the large joints to support me.)
Place a barbell nearby for squats, a squat rack is preferred. Starting out, place very little weight on the barbell.
The routine consists of 1/4 mile cardio followed by squats, followed by another 1/4 mile of cardio followed by squats for 3.5 miles ... last half mile is just cardio and recovery.
So, here are the knobs that I "twiddle" as I make progress: 1) cardio resistance, 2) squat weight, and 3) squat reps. Of course, as you start out, you might also not be able to achieve the full 3 miles so just do what you can and work up to 3 miles. Currently, I am at resistance 12 on elliptical machine, 100 lbs (weights and bar), and squat 10 reps each quarter mile. I have been working on this for over a year, so if you are just starting out, you might squat an empty barbell and work up from their.
At first, this routine, even with very little weight, will cause massive leg pain two days after the work out. Just take it easy and let the lactic acid do what it does. But keep coming back to this routine until the leg muscles adapt. What you are trying to achieve is a that point where you are breathing so hard at the 1/4 mile that the squats are too much for the lungs (not the legs). Again, if it is too much, then back off until you can still maintain positive breathing, but not so much that squatting seems easy.
This is a great balanced workout. I've had gym friends who are power lifters (guys who squat 500 lbs) do it and it is too much ... because their strength+cardio=heart is not ready for it.
Also, stretching is critical. I stretch fanatically ... immediately prior to getting in bed at night and immediately upon getting out of bed for up to 15 minutes. In the morning, post-stretch plank for 1 minute and 20 pushups to iron out the kinks. :-)
While I'm sure it is not for everybody, I would love for someone else to try out this routine. It has done wonders for my other strength workout. I'm close to 50 and feel absolutely great doing it this way.
I understand your desire to defend what you believe in. I am not opposed to weight lifting but the phrase "push and pull heavy weights" has a specific meaning. I have played that game trying to beat my self and push the envelope. How much more could I press today than yesterday; how much could I squat, etc. This is actually foolish and for 99% of us does not benefit us. That is for Arnold Schwarzenegger or Dwayne Johnson the cost is worth it in fame and income. For the rest of us we will merely enjoy more pain in old age and higher doctor bills for injuries incurred during excessive exercise.
BUT, cheer up. We live in a free country and you are free to believe that "correct form or to rest between their work-related lifting" will prevent any and all problems. And you are free to discover the truths of life when you are in your 70's. When we are young we all think we will be healthy and strong forever. I wish you luck.
What's next is your standard strength workout with cardio. Pick the muscle group of your choice and do the heavy lifting ... all while you run quarter miles on the treadmill or elliptical to keep your heart rate up.
Never stop imagining yourself on the run!