T Nation

Advice For FNG?

Hi Guys: I’m a 53 yr old still doing MA. I’m so beat up I joined a gym for a whole yr. If I’m going to be a 53 yr stuntman, I need to train like one. I’m a little out of the loop and I could use some guidance.

I’ve always liked circut training. I’ve never gone longer than 4 mos “semester” at a time for years. So whats the first thing I do… injure my shoulder all by myself.

First thing I found was ‘Shoulder Saver’, excellent. I can’t wait to try those exercises.
Before I try anything, I want to take a month for rehab of injuries and some cardio. I have to strenghten my base fitness first.

Here’s the plan. Push/Pull superset circut. 3X

  1. Bench / Row
  2. squat / leg curl
  3. Overhead press / lat pulldown
  4. abs / low back
  5. curls / tri
  6. calves
  7. area that needs it the most

I try to keep reps 12-15 on strong areas. Weak or injured areas 20+
I keep my intensity 60%-80%, I never max or stress. I try to control the weights +/- . When I get my breathing in synch w/reps, it becomes a meditation like riding my MTB.

I use DB whenever possible. I’d like to intergrate some balance work.

What am I missing? I want the best bang for the buck. I recovery isn’t the best. Opinions please


I’m in a similar position. Recently at age 53 I decided to start training with weights again a long time away from them.

That’s one of the changes I’ve noticed. Soon after I started, I did a leg workout with five sets not to failure plus a few other exercises. The workout had the same number of sets that I used to do when I was young, but done with less intensity. The next day I slept for 18 hours, and it took three more days before I stopped feeling exhausted. After that I cut way back on the number of sets.

The other change is that minor injuries occur very easily. Little tears. I’m constantly working around them, avoiding exercises, holding dumbbells at careful angles to avoid pain, etc.

My basic approach has been, like you say, to concentrate on the things that give the best bang for the buck. In my case that means two sets of deadlifts plus two sets of something else every six days and one other workout in between where I do about 4 exercises for my upper body. The upper body workout varies but might include two sets of pushups, two sets of chins, two sets of dumbbell rows, and one set of overhead dumbell presses.

This doesn’t sound like much but I’ve gained about 15 pounds of lean mass in the last two months. This is newbie-muscle-memory gains (sounds like a contradiction doesn’t it?) but still, this tiny amount of exercise is working. It’s enough to create a training effect.

I’m not bothering with calves, and I’m relying on compound exercises for abs and arms, because my recovery budget is so limited.

I don’t think it makes sense to train light. The sets have to be sufficiently intense to cause a training effect. I usually aim for failure or near-failure at 12 reps but sometimes I use a heavier weight. On deadlifts I always shoot for a 12 RM because I’m afraid of aggravating a back problem.

I have the impression (not sure yet) that my recovery ability is improving so I may be able to increase the number of exercises or frequency of workouts.

I was terribly detrained and sedentary when I started so your recovery ability may not be a bad as mine. You’re probably in much better shape from martial arts.

Bottom line: recovery ability is down; tissue is more fragile; muscle still grows fast.

Freddie: Sounds like we are in the same boat. I started cycling last summer. Talk about putting yourself on a dyno. Pumping up some adrenlenin won’t keep the pedals turning.

After a hard ride I would feel sleepy.The book for riders over 50 says the sleepy comes from muscle breaking down and turning into triptophan “Like turkey on Thanksgiving”. Taking some branch chain amino acids is supposed to help.

Used it last 2 hard rides, seems to work.
I use the bike for cardio and legs. I can control breath, Heart to extend rides. Did a 1/2 Century Dec 30. Took 6 hrs on a cold day.
I see the chiro weekly and the accupuncture as needed. Ice is a 2x daily thing.

On the legs after squats, I have heard and tried putting the legs in cold water after. Hockey trick Seems to work pretty good.

If I would have known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.


[quote]Ricisan wrote:
Sounds like we are in the same boat. [/quote]

Yep. Let’s start an an old codgers thread where we sit around and complain about our aches and pains. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll try that. I’ve been putting off taking any supplements out of curiosity to see what would happen without them.

I use the bike for cardio and legs. I can control breath, Heart to extend rides. Did a 1/2 Century Dec 30. Took 6 hrs on a cold day.[/quote]

Grats. I’ve been avoiding cardio, except for a few minutes of rowing to warm up. I’ve become a little wary of cardio based on stuff I’ve read lately, wondering if it might even be unhealthy.

I’ll try that too. My forearms are both giving me trouble (the big muscle near the elbow on the outside), maybe because they get hit in so many exercises.

With me the problem isn’t the muscles, it’s the knee caps mistracking. This never happened before, and now suddenly they creak and move in the wrong place all the time, even when I’m climbing stairs. I’m figuring if I don’t correct it, the bone and cartilage will start getting damaged.

I noticed that my hip flexors have become very short, so maybe that’s the problem. I’ve been stretching them about 10 times a day. It seems to be helping. If I knew a good professional in New York City who knows about this kind of thing, I would consult them, but I haven’t run across any recommendations so far.

Lol. Me too except I don’t know what I would have done differently. Well one thing is, I wouldn’t have drunk any soft drinks, but that’s just teeth. The main thing I wish I could have avoided was dislocating my shoulder. At the time it seemed to heal pretty well – I was able to use it normally for almost 30 years – but a few weeks ago I felt a tiny piece of tissue tear and since then the humerus is sloshing around in the joint and the shoulder is sore. I have a feeling I’ll be heading for surgery one of these days.

Oh by the way I thought of something else that might be useful info for somebody. Last summer when I decided to get in shape again, the first thing I did was eliminate all carbs from my diet except veggies and a limited amount of fruit. Absolutely no grains of any kind. I did this to test the theory that tissues become insulin resistant, which supposedly makes it harder for muscles to grow and promotes fat storage.

I’ve kept eating that way pretty much, and I wonder if that’s one of the reasons my muscles are growing so fast. It’s pretty weird watching them. The fastest I ever put on muscle in the past was 14 pounds in two months when I was 32. Now I just put on a little more than that at age 54. I don’t know if the reduced carbs is the cause but I can’t imagine what else it could be.

This is the fifth time in my life I’ve started bodybuilding from a totally detrained state (my pattern has been to train for a few years, then stop for a few years) and it’s odd to see the fastest growth ever at age 54, especially when I’m breaking down and decaying in every other way. :slight_smile:

The people here are very knowledgable, far more than me. When it comes to recovering from ass kickings, I have more than a little pratical experience.
Between the wrestling in HS/Coll, downhill skiing, roofing for 14 yrs. I started MA at 36. Have been in some type of pain ever since…

Let’s keep in mind that I’m not a BB. I like the safety of weight training for injury rehab and preventative strengthing of connective tissue and joints. Getting stronger is an extra perk. This is to hopefully make me a better MA.

I think the diet is a factor more in BB.
For most of us, eating clean will give us the fuel to do the punishing workouts. It’s hard to be motivated when hungry.

When you run low on energy from not enough food/water that’s called “Bonking”. I never noticed it before I started biking. It becomes obvious when you can’t maintain speed and your toung is hanging out.