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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 8:29 am 
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Hello. I am a soon to be 50 year old woman, who has been lurking on this site for well over a year. I have noticed that there seems to be a lot of sensible, considerate advise from those of you here.
So... I will be 50 in March. I am about 5'3-5'4 and 112 lbs, with an extremely small frame. A couple years ago I joined a gym and used the machines, but found that since they moved as one unit, one side of my body did more of the work that the other. Since then I have collected DBs in several weight increments, a BB, bands a bench and a few gimmick apparatus that has me wondering what form of insanity took me over when I decided to purchase them. I have made up my own routines as well as trying to follow the P90X program (which I found to be very time consuming). For the past 9 months or so, my workouts have pretty much fallen by the wayside. I have found that I do best if I do "something" every day at the same time of day. However my job has an erratic schedule, in which I rarely work the same hours on any given day.
I have a few questions... Since I'm hoping to find a routine that takes no more than 45 mins to complete, is a split body routine the better way to go? Is a split body really split? It feels to me like you still use the other parts of your body in a lot of exercises. Looking at the templates on this site, it looks like there are many parts of each muscle, with different moves hitting each of them. Should each of the variations be used? For example incline, decline and flat fly's? I know that if all of them were done each time, I would be doing a workout all day long :). I do have a few weak (sore) parts of my body. Wrist, elbow and knee; all on the right side.
Thank you for any advise you could give me.
kab


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 9:35 am 
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@kab3261:

First of all, welcome aboard. I don't have as much time as I'd like ot have to reply to you now, but a couple of things come to mind:

1 - As a light-framed woman near 50, osteoporosis is something that you should be concerned about, especially as menopause approaches.

2 - The gradual loss of muscle tissue as people age not only causes a decrease in strength, but losses in coordination and balance as well.

Add the two together, and you could one day become one of the senior citizens who breaks his/her hip in a fall.

Your program should make heavy use of exercises like the squat and deadlift. These exercises not only provide the stress to the skeletal system needed to keep the bones strong but also require some balance and coordination to execute correctly. Exercises that are done with machines or sitting on a bench might have some bone-strengthening benefit, but they do nothing to develop balance or coordination.

You don't have to load up the bar with huge amount s of weight, but the exercises should be done at a level that you find challenging.

Other members will join the thread later. Just keep those two things in mind as you plan your routine. Keeping your bones strong and your body in motion should be the primary goals of your exercise routine.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:35 am 
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Yes, to everything Stephen said. Just to expand a little bit on some statements you made. You made a comment on hitting all parts of varying muscles. Start out with the basics, and don't be concerned about muscles, per se. focus on movements, and include upper body push, upper body pull, squat, and deadlifting movements. Some of the others will suggest Starting strength, which is not a bad choice, but I think, that as a 50 year young woman, training mainly for fitness and retaining bone strength, and recognizing your equipment limitations, you might be better suited with a full body routine utilizing the basics with DB's and using the Barbell for the squats and deads. We have some good basic routines in the sticky about a small collection of routines. Look in the beginner's section for a more fitness oriented plan. There should be a full body routine, and an upper lower split listed. Either are good. As a Quick example, you might want to try this:
1. Squat (BB)
2. DB Bench Press
3. DB row
4. Stiff leg DL (BB or DB)
5 . DB overhead Pr
6. Either pull/chinups or some DB biceps work (I realize you probably don't have a lat pull available)

Just a simple thing like this done for 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps each, either in straight sets or done as a circuit will cover all bases, take less than 30 mins to get through, and will provide a starting point.
Tim (61 years young)


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 1:23 pm 
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I don't have much to add, but it took you A YEAR to make your first post!?

I can't get over that and wonder how many other people are just lurking here and not asking questions. Well, now that your here, welcome.

If you decide to do squats and other compound movements, remember that they require proper form, full range of motion, and involves some skill, all worth it of course.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 2:31 pm 
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aside from the menopause comment, how would the responses differ if this were a small 50 yr old male?

and welcome.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 2:41 pm 
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No difference. I'm a firm believer that as far as basic motions go, men and women don't differ, so why train differently? This would work for a 50 year young male as well. Principles are the same, basic compound movements, start with fewer sets, keep it challenging with weight, and strive to progress over time. If basic strength is your focus, go with something like Starting strength or Wendler's 5-3-1, if just being physically fit, I prefer a bit more variety, more exercises. I'd also go with the same recommendations for a beginner of any age.
Tim


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 4:08 pm 
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Welcome! We don't have many women in the forum, and new members of the over-50 club are always welcome. Even soon-to-be members.

I think that there is a difference in emphasis for a woman, because of the greater risk of osteoporosis. Women in general have a lower calcium reserve, and a much higher incidence of osteoporosis and of osteoporotic fracture.

There is a thread (fairly recent) about training a 60 year-old mother, and a lot of what has been said there is relevant to you.

The word that I'd emphasize is "progression". Whatever you are doing, however much weight you are using, make it part of your thinking that it will increase. There is something really sad (and futile) about the women coming to most commercial gyms week in and week out, doing the same curls and shoulder presses with the same little 5-pound dumbbells. If a 5-pound dumbbell is challenging for you now great--curl and press away. But you should expect that it won't be very long you will be using a 7.5 or a 10-pound DB for the same lifts.

One suggestion, if you have the financial resources to do it. Find a strength coach or a really good trainer and hire them for a few sessions to help you with technique. That would be a good way to learn squat and DL. You can learn them from books and from on-line sources, but it's better in person. Same for "Olympic" moves like cleans.

Starting Strength and similar programs are great, but might need some modification for your situation. I hope that Peter (pdellorto) will see this and chime in. He has experience training older trainees.

You might want to include some jumping in your workouts, as this is more effective for increasing bone density, especially at the hip. Squats and other axially-loaded lifts have a greater effect on the bone density of the spine. There is good support in the medical literature for "high impact" exercise for this purpose.

Jungledoc
(aka Andy, 57 years young on some mornings, 57 years old this morning) :lol:


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:33 pm 
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Thank you so much for all the responses. And yes, a year is a long time to lurk. I had posted in a couple exercise forums and the replies felt a bit aggressive, so I guess I shied away from posting anywhere.
Although I am aware of the upcoming possibility of osteoporosis, I haven't really given it much thought in regards to it being one of the benefits of exercising. I have all the risk factors, as well as family members who have had it. So I really appreciate the reminder :).
I definitely do not want to stay static in regards to the amount I lift. I know that to make progress the weights need to increase. Some of the women's fitness magazines with women holding 3 or 5 lb DB just look silly to me. My 5 pounders are almost never used. As far as the weights I'm at. Bench Press: 30-40, Squat: 40-50, Deadlift: 50-60, Row:20-25. And I did rig up a Lat pull using rope and a pulley hooked to my chin up bar with an S hook. I am the queen of contriving! With the bench press and squat, I am hesitant ot add too much more as I don't have the equipment that would prevent me from getting hurt if the weight got to be too much. I ussualy do a workout after my husband has headed to work, so I don't have anyone to spot me either.
One term I'm not sure of is "axially-loaded lifts." What does this mean? Also would jumping be something that would be included in a resistance workout or done on a different day? I know that resistance shouldn't be done on consecutive days, so would stretching or yoga be something that could be done on the off days... just to maintain a routine?
Thank you again for the advise!
Kab


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 4:14 am 
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I see this being a popular thread/person.

Not to be inapproporate but as a 42 yr old male, it's quite a ..hmmm.. well exciting to hear how interested and dedicated you are to really increasing your strength, and not just settle for a leisurely stroll. If my wife had that, whooo... well, I'd post less on forums, I'll say that much.

I will guess that "axially loaded" are lifts that put pressure on an axis, aka the spine, which I think leads to an increase in bone densisty. Just a guess, I'll go google.


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