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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 10:28 pm 
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Ok, Ok. Everybody can calm down, because it's all my fault! Really.

Eric, Oscar is a well-meaning guy, and I thing you've misread him. It was a jab at me that I understood. The reference to "cult" was originally from me, as I had said Oscar feared that I was being drawn into a cult. He had made some comments that implied that I was jumping into something without due consideration, and I had made a joke about that. I don't even remember where exactly that exchange was.

Oscar, Ashiem isn't a "kiss-up". He and Eric share a lot of basic ideas, philosophies and approaches, and happen to agree a lot. That's why they got together in the first place.

Josh, sorry about the hijack. That's my fault too. Partly. And Oscar's. I'll answer you on-topic in a separate post. Later, cause I need to go save lives and stamp out disease.

Everyone, I'll continue to try to honestly post my own beliefs and ideas, regardless of where I learned them. If I am consciously quoting someone, I'll give credit. If I know an article on the subject, I'll link it. What should it matter if I learn something at GUSS, from Cressey, Robertson, or wherever. You're all big kids, and can decide for yourself if it makes sense. Also, what should it matter if I learn something new that is different than what I believed before? We all should be growing, learning and changing. GUS is a big part of that for me right now.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 8:40 am 
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josh60 wrote:
The thing is, 5X5 should be done at about 80-85% of 1RM, right?

Who says? Really! There's no such rule. You should be training at weight that you find challenging, and that's within a range that you can handle, and progress in. If you're hitting near your 5RM for 5x5, how is that better than hitting near your 1RM for singles? Every set should leave something in the tank! Especially at "our age"!

josh60 wrote:
that's what I make of the "one rep max calculator" in this very site (sorry, I'm not allowed to include links) . There are two issues for me here, the first is wether the table holds for all ages - judging by my own experience I doubt that it does as my 5RM is lower than that, but maybe it's just me, not my age. That's an example of tha data I'm looking for as stated in my first post on this thread, and it's important as I try to avoid trial and error here, because an error might have undesired consequences (plus a long healing time...).

No! You don't need that data. It's all wrong. There is nothing universal about the rep-max calculators or about the "strength standards" tables. A bunch of high school football players, or whomever Mark Rippetoe used to come up with that table (which he has since, as I recall, regretted making) aren't like you in any way. The calculators are a very rough approximation at best, way off at worst. It has to do with age, it has to do with ratio of slow-twitch to fast-twitch muscle fibers, it has to do with your training history, it has to do with your parents, it has to do with the phase of the moon and how you hold your tongue. Calculators are pretty useless, at least for what your trying to use them for. All that counts is your own experience. An error that's very far on the high side might have the consequences you fear, but an error on the low side will only mean that you are building experience, learning a movement, learning good form, and slowly starting to add strength. What's your deadline here? Is there some hurry? I doubt it. For me, the deadline is death. I suspect that that is still a few years away, so I'm not going to hurry much. Don't be in a hurry.

josh60 wrote:
The second issue is that whatever precent of my 1RM they are, the resistance I need for 5 reps, if I want to feel I am really working, are exerting too much strain on my joints (pushing only, there seems to be no such problem with pulling), so I tend to do 10-12 reps with lower weights, even at the price of not getting to the optimal training for strength or hypertrophy.
Again, why do you feel so locked in to 5 reps?

Because you read it somewhere? Did the author know you?

Because some trainer at a gym said do 5x5? How does he know?

Do you have any idea how little training and experience most "personal trainers" have? How much time do they spend reading? How much experience do they actually have? How well have they studied, analyzed, tested you? How much do they know about training older lifters? There is nothing special about 5 reps or about 5x5 training! Nothing. 5x5 may be right for someone, somewhere, at some point in his training, but isn't right for very many people, very much of the time. If what you are doing is hard on your joints it's wrong for you, no matter who said you should do it.

Volume will kill your joints much faster than intensity will. If doing 5 reps at a weight that you consider "really working" makes your joints worse, then don't do it. It's not complicated. If this exercise is making you worse instead of better, don't let some snot-nose kid at your gym control your life (or whoever says you should do it). You know your body. Now you need to get to know your body exercising. If 5x5 at this weight is hurting your joints, then try 3x3. Don't worry if the weight is too low to be "optimal for strength or hypertrophy". That's not what you need right now, you don't need to gain strength or hypertrophy as fast as anybody else, or even at all at first. You need to be comfortable lifting the weight, or doing whatever exercise you are doing. So what if you're not stronger by next week, or next month, or even next year? You will start gaining strength at the right time for you. Again, what's the deadline? If you don't get good at just doing the exercises, you'll never get stronger without injury. I know a real smart guy, whom I won't name here lest it set off a flurry of posts, who advises beginners, or even experienced lifters who are starting a new lift, to do something that he calls the "honeymoon period" when they lift weights for a few sets of 3 at light weights. They can add a little weight to see how it feels. If it gets too heavy, they learn to feel it. They can go back down on the weights as needed. No pressure, almost no risk of injury. Then, when they get comfortable, and they have an idea how much they can lift, they settle on a reasonable number of reps and sets, and not in the 5-10 range usually. 3x3 or 3x4 is not bad. You can increase that as you go along until you learn what's good for you.

People who advocate using a 5x5 routine as a beginner (in any of it's expressions) usually advocate only varying one factor, the intensity, or loading. So you do 5x5, (for some that means 2 warm-up sets of 5 and then 3 work sets of 5, some 5 sets of 5 work reps). If you complete all the prescribed reps, next workout you add a prescribed amount of weight to the bar (5# or upper body, 10# for lower is common), and do 5x5. If you can't complete those reps, then you have a certain number of workouts in which to make them. If you can, you again increase the weight and try 5x5 again. If you can't make the reps within a prescribed number of workouts, you "reset" the weight to something lower (20% is commonly used) and then repeat the process. Usually you'll get back up to the neighborhood you were in last plateau, maybe a little higher, then plateau again. So you repeat until you make some criteria that they set for changing to their periodized program. The real reason for the plateaus was not, as they probably told you, that you are now an intermediate lifter, and you can't stimulate adaptation enough in one workout without outstripping your ability to recover. The reason is that you've been trying to add workload faster than you can possibly increase your strength. Adding 5 pounds to 25 reps is a huge increase in work. Once you are near your threshold, you can't possibly keep doing it. And since these programs only tell you one way to progress, you're stuck. Plateaued again.

So my bottom-line advice, is take it way easier than you have been taking it. Find a moderate rep-set scheme and weight that you can handle, then increase things by small steps. Add a little weight sometimes, add a rep or two sometimes. If you're having a bad day and your joints hurt, don't be afraid to back off a little. It's not the end of the world if this workout doesn't look as good on paper as your last one. It can still me just what your body needed this time.

josh60 wrote:
Having said that, I think I will stick to the advice I got some days ago, which will also make Nike happy, meaning stop blabbering and and just do it. Pull ups, here I come.
That takes us back to where you really are right now. You commented that your loading on the barbell is so low that you are ashamed to say what it is. That makes my rant steam start building pressure again, and it's too late at night for that. Who are you lifting for? The kids at the gym? The guys here on the forum? Hopefully not. Hopefully you are lifting for you, and you alone. What does it matter to anyone how much you can bench, press, squat or deadlift? If you can't do any of those things with a little weight on the bar, then you aren't ready for them yet. Pull ups are a great exercise! If you can't do any, or only one or 2, then use the assisted pullup machine or stretch bands so you can get a bit of volume. Do pushups. Study pushups and learn to do them well. Don't try to go for max per set. Do several sets with appropriate rest in between.

Squat. Yes, I said squat. Right from the beginning, but not with added weight. Do body weight squats until you can do them really well, good and deep, back in good position, knees not TOO far over your toes, knees aligned with toes. All body weight only. (I mean your body without added weight, not a barbell on your back that weighs as much as you do.) Google "Dan John Squat" and find the video of him teaching squat to a group. It's terrible quality video. It's not on YouTube, but on one of the other video sharing services. Do his "potato sack" squats. When you're really good at all the variations, then get a 5 pound dumbbell and clutch it to your chest, and start doing goblet squats. Once you are doing them with dumbbells that are hard to handle, start thinking about barbell squats.

Do inverted rows, or machine rows, some sort of horizontal pulling movement. Start easy. Take the row on a honeymoon, and get to know her (it?) for a life-time relationship. You don't have to get the most out of it right away!

Learn about swings and pull-throughs and step-ups. Same approach on them. Have a nice long honeymoon with them before you start deadlifting.

Do "core" work. Pallof "press". If I just got you doing these, this rant would be worth the effort. Try them. And planks, side planks, bird-dogs, etc. No crunches or situps. At our age we've already used up most of our allowed lumbar flexion-extension cycles, and can't afford to waste any on such silly exercises.

Ok, I'm out of rant. Done. Good luck.

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Last edited by Jungledoc on Sat Jan 07, 2012 9:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 8:55 am 
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Sheesh. Now that that's posted, it's really long. Sorry.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 9:29 am 
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That video of Dan John teaching the squat (that I referred to in my rant above) has been remastered, cleaned up a little, and put up on YouTube, here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ym18x-Nl6Q

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 4:03 pm 
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Ironman wrote:
EricTroy wrote:
Don't worry, I will not post here anymore so you do not have to feel threatened.

Now, now, no need to be like that. Not everyone agrees.

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and I trust the admin would not expect me to let that slide without at least one comment

Quite so, indeed I would not.

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I would have tried to help in this thread but I see there is no point. Good luck, on your training, everyone.

That's no way to end a rant.


Okay, to sort of illuminate why I responded so passionately against what I saw as a comment equating GUS to a cult and me, obviously, to a cult leader, I'm going to post something that I wrote in a newsletter that is but ONE example of my absolute hatred for such "cult followings". Hopefully, this will be taken as evidence as to why I would react so strongly. The following is but one example of many of how I feel and I didn't want to post a link to it. Given the discussion in this thread, it may just be relevant, anyway:

Gurus, Cults, Programs and Books


"Something you need to know about most of the strength, bodybuilding, nutrition and fitness experts out there. They want your money.

Big surprise, right? But let me qualify that. We don't think there is anything wrong with developing a very good product or service and selling that product or service at a reasonable price, do we? Problem is though, if you believe that most of your favorite gurus are about selling products or services you have misunderstood. The products or services are just the vehicles. The physical link between you, the consumer, and they themselves, the PRODUCT.

That's right. They are selling themselves. You see, the biggest successes in this industry are built on nothing more than image. When an image is properly built and shored up by adoring fans, success can hold even while that image is being shown to outstrip qualification.

Once the "rep" is in place the products sell themselves. Add to that the ability to quickly produce an "e-book" with almost NO overhead and you've got a handy little money machine. You drop coals and fans go around gathering them up like they are diamonds.

Here's something else you may not know. At least those of you who don't have your own websites. One of the main ingredients that most website or blog owners want is a massive troupe of ravenous followers that hang on their every word. Even when those words are full of diatribe. Or repetitive messages. Or just plain crap.

If you've been subjected to flaming or insults by forum members or blog commenters because you dared to disagree with their authority figure then you've seen this in action. One statement can garner twenty pages of outright hatred from these followers who in many cases can be compared to a cult. Exactly. A "cult-like" following is what it is all about.

But ask yourself something. Would a true professional actually sit still while a bunch of mindless followers verbally attacked anyone who disagreed with him? Would he not find this embarrassing? What's more would he not feel that it was in his interest to curtail such behaviour in his "congregation" lest the behaviour reflect on him as a professional? C'mon. A person who would encourage this behavior is what is known as a "blowhard". When you come across this you've seen everything you need to about that person.

Let me tell you one of the worst things that could happen to a person with potential. It is to have people praise everything they say every time they open their mouth. It is, essentially, to have people constantly kissing their butt. The second worse is for that person to like it.

The reason the fitness, bodybuilding, fat loss, and strength training fields are so ripe for the picking is that so many people who come to these experts are insecure. They may have low self esteem, body issues, you name it. They are easily intimidated, impressed, bullied, etc. They are easy to bring into the fold. In fact, becoming part of a "select group" simply soothes their insecurity.

Another misunderstanding has to do with arguments or debates. Even some of the "good guys" don't get this. Winning an argument or debate does not mean you are right! Just means you are the better arguer. A skilled bs'r can do just as well as a PhD in the right circumstances. The internet has created a unique vehicle for skilled arguers to transition that skill into the image of an expert. There are people selling books right now who got there by basically winning arguments against 18 year-olds on fitness related forums! Better believe it.

It doesn't matter in the end if they get there by being "smarter" or just by being louder. The effect is exactly the same. Do NOT become a blind follower of ANYBODY. Nobody is a bible. Always apply critical thought to anything anybody says.

You know what? I've won a lot of arguments in the past about things I turned out to be dead wrong about. I wasn't embarrassed. I wasn't chagrined. None of that. Because I won those arguments based on my best knowledge of the evidence AT THE TIME. Knowledge changes and evidence changes. If the other guy had connected the dots better maybe he would have won. But when that knowledge undergoes it's inevitable revolution and I stay firmly implanted in the mud like one of those geoduck clams it's then I should be embarrassed and ashamed of myself. But like the geoducks it's those stuck in the mud types that seem to live the longest in this industry.

Probably that's because of the power of belief. Not only do we hold on to our cherished beliefs we actually tend to view others with such sure and unwavering beliefs as more authoritative than those who continually change and evolve. When in fact the opposite is true. Many people actually count it as a failing to refuse to adopt one side of an issue. You may have heard derogatory statements about such people: "That guy doesn't believe in anything."

Well, neither do I. I either know or I don't know. Belief is the practice of accepting things in the absence of evidence. I'd rather not know the answer to someone's strength training problem than to make an error based on belief:

"Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong." - Thomas Jefferson"


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 3:42 am 
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That's a good article. You've got some rationalism, skepticism and general critical thinking mixed in there. Those philosophies are generally how I look at things as well.

By the way, you will find that you are able to post links now.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 2:46 pm 
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EricTroy wrote:
Okay, to sort of illuminate why I responded so passionately against what I saw as a comment equating GUS to a cult and me, obviously, to a cult leader


Dude, you are just wound too tight. That's why you reacted like that.
My mom died of cancer, I can still laugh at cancer jokes. Ok, maybe some people never thin cancer jokes are funny; but I digress.

Anyway, cheers to your return. Great article.

Quote:
The internet has created a unique vehicle for skilled arguers to transition that skill into the image of an expert. There are people selling books right now who got there by basically winning arguments against 18 year-olds on fitness related forums! Better believe it.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 4:21 am 
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Jungledoc wrote:
Done. Good luck.


Thanks. I do appreciate your time.

Just for the record, my take on 5X5 was a response to ironman's recommendation, and my comment about the not-heavy-weights was just to put things in the correct perspective, but these are minor points.

To summarize this thread: I got some good advice and a lot of points to think about, but still almost no reference to data (preferably peer reviewed) about age related issues. I'm sure it is out there, somewhere.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 10:02 pm 
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josh60 wrote:
Jungledoc wrote:
...but still almost no reference to data (preferably peer reviewed) about age related issues. I'm sure it is out there, somewhere.

Sorry, I skimmed over that point in your OP. I've looked in the past, and found very little.

Here's something that I find interesting, but may only contain references that are tangentially relevant. It a site of a clinic in Sydney that treats many chronic medical conditions with resistance exercise. Most of their references are about exercise in specific disease states, but there may be something of more interest in there somewhere.

http://www.sswahs.nsw.gov.au/balmain/strong/research.htm

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2012 4:29 am 
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I found something right here on the ExRx site: in the "special populations/masters" from "beginner's page" on the main menu:
www exrx net/WeightTraining/Weightlifting/Masters.html (replace spaces with dots).

There is also a book list pointed to at that page. I wonder if any of them is really good as they are rather expensive.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:38 am 
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That page has some interesting stuff, and much of it may be true, but that's not "data". It's certainly not peer reviewed (except I'm sure that it's reviewed by Rip, and he is probably Kilgore's peer). That is just Lon Kilgore's understanding of things. There's not a citation in sight! Not one.

In particular, the paragraph on glucosamine and costochondroitin is inaccurate and exaggerated, and cites no source for the claims made. The effects are much more modest and much slower.

The paragraph on deloading is also just stated as fact. It might be right, but he presents no proof of what he says. I disagree with him about that, and other than the fact that he's more famous than I am, has a lot more experience training people, and more specific education, his opinion is no better than mine, because it's not backed by data. It would have made it seem more honest to me if he has inserted "it seems to me", or "in my opinion", or even "based on my experience". No, he just says that older folks have to deload more than younger ones.

And the 5% reduction in volume per decade over 30 may be about right, but it is presented without support. It's his educated guess, and again may be pretty close (I'm wishing I'd reduced the volume a bit on my DLs this afternoon!)

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:34 am 
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http://www.acsm.org/docs/fit-society-pa ... -aging.pdf

http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/eve ... dults.html

I posted these just to give an idea of the state of the advice usually given to older trainees. I've read a number of popular books on the subject (including the 2007 Wescott book) and all cover much of the same ground. It doesn't seem to be a well researched are which is strange considering the aging population and rising health costs. Most of the focus seems to be in bringing the "out of shape" up to independant status instead of in how to optimize health at fitness at various fitness levels. Personally, I don't want to stay fit as long as I can. I'd like to read the 2010 Westcott book. Perhaps it's more acedemic and covers the theory better.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2012 4:44 pm 
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stuward wrote:
Personally, I don't want to stay fit as long as I can.

Is that a typo? I hope so!

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2012 5:35 pm 
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That was probably a typo. I was trying to post in short segments so I wouldn't get logged off half way through.

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Strength is the adaptation that leads to all other adaptations that you really care about - Charles Staley
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 5:53 am 
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stuward wrote:
It doesn't seem to be a well researched are which is strange considering the aging population and rising health costs.

My sentiments exactly.

I am sure there are lots of people like me out there, so maybe I'll throw in some words about myself: After leading a sedentary life style since my early thirties, I got the wake up call from my physician, being diagnosed as suffering the "metabolic syndrome" - type II diabetes, high cholesterol, triglycerides - you name it . On top of taking the recommended meds (sorry, Jungledoc, they do include statins :-)) I started with aerobic training which I kept on doing for some years (power walking, my PB is 1:10:37 for 10 KM, which is a good time for my age) and later on, after reading stuff like annals ba0 biz/content/147/6/357.full (just an example, there is no shortage of this kind of research) I decided to include some anaerobic training, for the first time in my life. It was a pleasant surprise to find out, after the first few sessions, that I actually like the stuff (regardless of those DOMS). I am happy to say I still like it, after 6 months or so. Then came the thought that since I am already doing it, I might as well try to optimize the results, and it would be nice to put on some muscle on my feeble body, although I know that with the low levels of Testosterone and GH results would be mediocre at best. Still, why not get the best I can with these constraints? So I started looking for info.

It was clear right from the start that the trainers at my gym know next to nothing about age related issues, and, perhaps more surprising, the same is true for whoever I found on the net. As you point out, the research I found concerning old people was about proving there is a benefit, and health sites are urging older people to engage in both aerobic and anaerobic activity , but next to nothing about how to do it right, or how the general recommendations which target young people have to change for my age. This is how I got here.

(I don't know if such an introductory post is welcome here as is the case in other forums. If not, I apologize).


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