Older lifters, experienced and inexperienced

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Moderators: Ironman, Jungledoc, parth, stuward

How old were you when you started training seriously?

Under 20.
7
29%
20-29
8
33%
30-39
5
21%
40-49
2
8%
50-59
2
8%
 
Total votes: 24

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stuward
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Post by stuward » Thu Jul 03, 2008 11:27 am

I know I went a little heavy on squats a couple of weeks ago but I love deadlifting so much I just kept hammering at it. The trap bar is great. I can hammer my legs but my back doesn't get fatiqued. In general though, your lower back needs a lot of recovery time. Exercises like bent rows, bench press, overhead press, chin ups, all use your lower back to some extent, push presses and bent rows the most. If you're like me and throw in weight load marches it's just asking for trouble. Just because I know better doesn't mean I do it.


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Post by TimD » Thu Jul 03, 2008 11:33 am

I know Doc has some back issues, I have hip issues. It isn't really so much the sets/reps that are getting us, it's the overcompensation done all day long by the other muscles compensating for our imbalances, lack of ROMs, etc. My hip is curved up on the right side requiring me to use an inch build upon my shoes to regain my normal gait, and this is being felt throughout my low back , hips, etc. KPJ could write a book on it. The thing to do is to keep working out, but you have to be very careful of loads and volume. It always helps me to do some bodyweight squats and some light DB snatches off the floor first thing in the morning. Acts kind of like motor oil, lubes me up, gets the ROM back, and decreases the aches somewhat. Just listen to your boy Ellerbus. It will tell you when you overdo things.
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Post by amivan » Fri Jul 04, 2008 11:38 am

Jungledoc wrote:Amivan--Several good points.

How old are you now?

:roll:

turning 21 in a bit :green:


PS ive had back issues myself from deadlifts where i wouldnt be able to stand without my back giving out (had to flex the abs the entire day when i would walk anywhere) and ive noticed that the heat compress things only make it worse, and also that lying on a hard floor on my back and my feet touching my bum feels great for my back, i do that sometimes inbetween when I am doing DLs as well

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Post by Jungledoc » Sat Jul 05, 2008 1:36 am

ellerbus wrote:
stuward wrote:
Jungledoc wrote:...I'm currently trying to recover from some over use low back pain. ...
I'm going through the same thing right now. It's virtually impossible to not use your lower back.
I'm currently 35, and want to keep lifting as a life-long goal. I'm assuming you guys both do deads/hypers/etc. ... so I'm curious as to what is causing the over-use low back pain. Is it too many sets, too many reps in a set, or just the fact that your lower back is always used in life? I'm curious because I have low back pain when I'm not lifting. Now that I'm lifting again after a few years, my shoulder, low back, and knee pains have subsided. I would like to avoid any pain from lifting as I get older (bascially I'm seeking advice).
I'm still trying to figure that out. I don't do much in my daily life that puts much stress on the back. I sit and stand a lot, walk around a lot, occasionally help lift a patient, but not much.

I'd been doing a number of standing lifts that probably contributed, deads, squats, presses, bent-over rows. Many of those were relatively new to me, and I'd been increasing the loads, not yet really finding my "training weight." I had hurt my back a few weeks earlier squatting, probably from increasing weight too fast, and less-than-ideal form. I'd been enjoying the fact that the weight was over body weight, when the back started hurting. I cut out squatting for a couple of weeks, then started again low weights. However I continued to progress the weights on the others. I had pretty well "found my range" on the presses and rows, but I didn't feel that I was deading near my potential max yet. I really like to deadlift, and was enjoying the increasing weight. I also rearranged my program so that I was doing deads, squats and GMs one day per week each (each on a different day, so that may have contributed to inadequate recovery).

Due to some interruptions in my schedule (see the thread about parenting problems/bench press) I had missed some lower body workouts, and hadn't deaded for a couple of weeks. But since I thought that the weight wasn't yet too heavy (215, as I recall), I went ahead and went up on load for my dead. I felt some pain on the third rep and stopped. That went away after a couple of days. Then on my squat day, I was squatting very light, focusing on form. I did a few body-weight rear squats and a fairly large number of body weight and light-load box squats. Later in that workout my back started hurting, and by the next day I was a near-invalid.

I didn't lift for several days, and eventually started feeling pretty good again. I'm intending to confine myself to lifts that put only limited stress on the back, even in a stabilizer role, but I keep discovering that many lifts use it more than I had thought. After the workout last Wed, I was sore again for a couple of days.

I was taking today completely off again, but went to the gym to spot form a friend. I couldn't keep myself from doing a mess of chin ups, but that seems pretty inoffensive.

My plan is to go real easy for at least 2 weeks, and then start back with very light squats and deads.

Now I'm wondering if maybe I should do one lower body day per week, and do deads, squats and GMs all on that day, giving a full week for recovery. But even if I do the other 2 days as push/pull split, or as mixed whole-body days, I'm concerned that the presses, bent-over rows, etc. will still contribute to poor recovery.

So should I cut the reps to keep the volume low, and just go up slowly on the weight? Should I do those lifts even less than once per week? Or is the whole thing hopeless, and I'm doomed to be a weak old man? :smile:

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Post by Jungledoc » Sat Jul 05, 2008 1:38 am

amivan wrote:
Jungledoc wrote:Amivan--Several good points.

How old are you now?

:roll:

turning 21 in a bit :green:


PS ive had back issues myself from deadlifts where i wouldnt be able to stand without my back giving out (had to flex the abs the entire day when i would walk anywhere) and ive noticed that the heat compress things only make it worse, and also that lying on a hard floor on my back and my feet touching my bum feels great for my back, i do that sometimes inbetween when I am doing DLs as well
Haha! So you can certainly sympathize with us old guys!

Well, you still know quite a bit, and I appreciate your ovservations.


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Post by Stephen Johnson » Sat Jul 05, 2008 10:34 am

I just turned 55 last week. My lifting began in the mid 1980s, when I defected from running as a primary means of fitness. Once I got into my 30s, I found that I couldn't eat with impunity and then run it off.

As with any long-term activity, I found myself falling off the fitness wagon more than once. When on the fitness wagon, I went through stages (training for size, straining for strength, ect). Over the last 10 years or so I've been training for health and appearance, keeping my weight down and joints happy. I've also been spending more time working on balance and flexibility, since they are underdeveloped compared to my strength and endurance.

My advice for trainers is to think long term when setting fitness goals, but be in the present every time you work out. Don't ignore nagging aches and pains (or try to train through them). Listen to the advice of others, but don't be afraid to follow your own path if it makes sense. Above all, have fun. If you don't enjoy your workout, change it.

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LOW BACK PAIN

Post by WSUdj_ExMet » Sat Jul 05, 2008 12:53 pm

ellerbus wrote:
stuward wrote:
Jungledoc wrote:...I'm currently trying to recover from some over use low back pain. ...
I would like to avoid any pain from lifting as I get older (bascially I'm seeking advice).
The two main causes that I have always heard of causing low back pain are Tight Hip Flexors and Weakened Extensor Muscles (the 1st can cause the latter).

http://www.halfsquare.net/shetler_121605.php ------- here is a great article explaining the situation, but in summary: tight hip flexors create a pelvic tilt which forces the back to compensate for just about every movement all the time.

Fellow trainers and profs. have told me (since this is a highly talked about issue) that the best thing to do is stretch the hip flexors like crazy and hit up some core training. If you don't train core very often, even a little training can significantly increase proprioception to those ares and increase pelvic and lumbar stability in a short amount of time!

This being said, I'm not a physical therapist and different people's low back pain can be caused by different reasons. I'm simply sharing what I have always heard.

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Post by Jungledoc » Sat Jul 05, 2008 5:00 pm

Stephen Johnson wrote:My advice for trainers is to think long term when setting fitness goals, but be in the present every time you work out. Don't ignore nagging aches and pains (or try to train through them). Listen to the advice of others, but don't be afraid to follow your own path if it makes sense. Above all, have fun. If you don't enjoy your workout, change it.
I think I'll post that somewhere. It's not as catchy as "Go Hard or Go Home" or "This Is a Dangerous Place" (two of the slogans on the walls of our weight room), but I heartily agree. I'm thinking of taking down "Pain is Just Weakness Leaving the Body."

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Re: LOW BACK PAIN

Post by Jungledoc » Sat Jul 05, 2008 5:05 pm

WSUdj_ExMet wrote:The two main causes that I have always heard of causing low back pain are Tight Hip Flexors and Weakened Extensor Muscles (the 1st can cause the latter).

... I'm simply sharing what I have always heard.
And I agree. Good advice, and thanks for the link. Up to now, I've relied on the big compound lifts to work my core, and for the moment I can't do them, at least not heavy.

Anybody have a good used ham-glute raise that they want to ship to New Guinea?

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Post by KPj » Mon Jul 07, 2008 4:44 am

I agree with WSUdj_ExMet.

In general, tight and short muscles at the front, weak inhibited muscles at the back. The exception is the core, where the abs/obliques are normally weak, too. Interestingly, the lumbar erectors are normally both weak and overactive. It results in too much ROM in the lumbar spine, not enough in the hips. Anterior tilt causes your glutes to lengthen and become weak, as well as your hamstrings. Then, the only thing you 'feel', is a tight lower back and hamstrings, and naturally, you stretch out the lower back and hamstrings. Essentially, your increasing ROM in the lumbar erectors even more than you already have, and your doing the same with your hamstrings, which are already weak and lengthened (due to the tilt, hence they feel tight). Your hams also become your primary hip extensors, too, and you're trying to 'help' them along by stretching and weakening them, causing the lumber erectors to take even more abuse. So really, your instinct tells you to repeatedly shoot yourself in the foot...

It's important to understand as well that 'weak' is relative to the lifter. For example, I was asked to look at a guys posture etc at the week end (he's a personal trainer :wink: ). Now, I weigh about 170lbs, 5'7, and i'm 23. He's about 5'10, at least 230lbs, cut, and aged 36. I've over used the word recently, but - ironic?

Anyway... This guys biggest complaint was low back pain. His other complaints were aching shoulders (both) and an aching knee. I jumped at the chance to look at him because he's biomechanically screwed up and has a big injury history list . Was also flattered that he asked. One of his femurs is a lot shorter than the other. The back pain is one sided, on that same side his scapula wings out. I know we're discussing low back pain, but I would bet that the people with low back pain also have side to side discrepancies between shoulders. It's all connected.

I've previously saw the guy do a host of lunge variations and seemingly with good form as well as some plyo stuff. I always thought he was in great shape. However, a big lesson i've learned the hard way recently is, "don't over look the obvious". And a lesson he has learned is, to mimic Dave Tates recent article - Don't just do what you're good at!

Up close, his hips were tight, and he had next to no thoracic extension ROM. So my first unfortunate recommendation is "quit overhead pressing" - purely because he can't extend the thoracic spine. No wonder his shoulders hurt. Mine hurt just thinking about OH pressing the weight he uses whilst being unable to extend the thoracic spine. Interestingly, whilst his whole Trap area was huge, his lower traps were weak, practically non existent when we targeted them directly. This is despite doing lots of rows in his training.I've often read that in compound movements, your body will use the strongest muscles available, for me, this is a perfect example of that.

My point in all this, is that he obviously thought "what the hells the problem, I balance my pushing and pulling, I do single leg work (no bilateral, due to leg length discrepancy), i work my core". The problem is that this is not enough. I don't know why it's not enough, I just know it's not.

As for the back pain - well, that's for the specialists, and that's what I tell anyone who wants me to 'have a look'. What I can tell him is that his hips and upper back are screwed up in many different ways. Fix the hips and upper back, and see how your back feels.....

Another lesson i've learned a lot recently is the hardest person to 'assess', is yourself. This PT has a sound biomechanics knowledge. Better than mine. It's not that he didn't know side to side discrepancies create a big injury risk, or that one sore joint is normally a result of dysfunction in the joints above and below. He just couldn't see it himself, so he thought his problem was 'unique'. And that may still be the case due to the leg length thing but he has some blatant issues to work on first that might be enough to get rid of it all. It's just like my own recent knee problem,I couldn't for the life of me figure it out, I started panacking, "dam, bet it's the cartilage etc'. When I got someone to look at it, it was so unbelievably obvious that I wanted to kick my own a$$.

KPj

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Post by KPj » Mon Jul 07, 2008 4:47 am

Jungledoc - do you have access to cables? If so, what ones i.e.cross over, lat pull downs etc

KPj

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Post by Jungledoc » Mon Jul 07, 2008 6:59 am

KPj wrote:Jungledoc - do you have access to cables? If so, what ones i.e.cross over, lat pull downs etc

KPj
Yeah, coming out of a multi-station machine. The high- and mid-cables are over the seat for the leg extensions, and the low cable comes out the side from underneath one of the handles for the supported row. The high one works pretty well for pull-downs. I haven't tried cross-overs, but I don't think it would work well.

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Post by KPj » Mon Jul 07, 2008 7:36 am

Jungledoc wrote: Yeah, coming out of a multi-station machine. The high- and mid-cables are over the seat for the leg extensions, and the low cable comes out the side from underneath one of the handles for the supported row. The high one works pretty well for pull-downs. I haven't tried cross-overs, but I don't think it would work well.
It wasn't for 'cable crossovers'. It just said that in reference to the name of the equipment. It was for the following,

Cable Pull Throughs
http://tonygentilcore.com/exercises-you ... l-through/

Pallof Press
http://www.bostonherald.com/blogs/enter ... e-doing-2/

I love these exercises.

Pull Throughs are really just a dead lift with a cable. A good way to get the movement right, and condition the lower back without the load you would use on a dead lift. So your working your lower back/core glutes and hams with limited stress on the spine. I would say that if you can't do this very well, or you can't do it without experiencing pain, then don't even think about deadlifts. However, you SHOULD be able to find a pain free ROM in the deadlift, unless of course, your in pain all the time. DL's from above the knee caps is a good option and would still target your whole posterior chain.

Now, the Pallof Press is a hidden gem of an exercise. Amazing. Popularised by Cressey but I believe it's named after it's 'inventor' - John Pallof. A Physical Therapist.

The point in the Pall of press is to train one of the core muscles most important function - resisting rotation. You can do it as a hold too but I would start with the pressing version.

If I were you (or anyone with back pain) i would also be doing front and side planks most days. Another main function of the core muscles is to transfer force therefore having a decent isometric strength is a must for a healthy spine...

Also, check 'natural' GHR's in this link. You kneel on the floor with your heels hooked under a bar or anything available and lower to the floor, push your self back up, and repeat. It looks easy but it's brutal. If you have a Lat pulldown you can kneel on it with your back facing it and heels under the pad for your knees...

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/renegade10.htm

KPj

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Post by pdellorto » Mon Jul 07, 2008 8:06 am

GHRs are easy to do with a partner, too. Have someone hold down your calves, and GHR away. I've never actually done them without a partner...

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Post by pdellorto » Tue Jul 08, 2008 11:50 pm

Also:

http://www.kvusa.com/wl/floorghr.htm

GHR using a barbell.


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