T Nation

Construction and Lifting

Hey guys.
I’m new here so apologies if this doesn’t make sense.
So I’ve been work on building sites (10+ years) and I’ve started noticing as I progress with my lifting (2.5 years)
Little problems that happen at work (ache in joints/small muscle strains happen occasionally ect.) Become worse when under a loaded barbell.

So far I’ve invested in knee and elbow sleeves and take fish oil regularly and occasionally swap out exercises for an alternative that doesn’t cause issues.
I was curious how everyone ( whether you work construction or not) deals with nagging issues and good ideas for longevity.

Cheers guys.

From your handle, I guess it’s safe to assume you are a painter? I myself have been painting commercial/residential for 20+ years, along with stacking rock, concrete, building pole barn, etc in between here and there. How many days a week do you lift and do you follow a structured program? You have several variables that you can tweak to find what works best for you. I would look into a DUP/WUP type of structure. The Cube Method is a good introduction to this type of structure and takes recovery into consideration probably better than all your other cookie cutter programs. Swede Burns 5th set also seems like it might take recovery into account more than most, although I’ve just read the book and never actually run his program. Mostly, I run a modified 3 or 4 day Cube spread over 9-14 days or a Westside-esque programming that has me completing the normal split over 9 or 14 days. The 2 day split looks like… Max effort lower on day 1/Dynamic effort lower on day 2 and alternate the following week, with 2 days dedicated to moderate to light conditioning, abs, pre-hab, stretching or yoga each week. Don’t be afraid to experiment with frequency. There is plenty, if not more progress to be had with two and three days per week programming for some of us. If you are under-recovering, your time spent in the gym is pointless to begin with. Start by looking at your supplemental and assistance and see if there is any redundancy or excessive volume and go from there. Find what works for you.

I swap out exercises all the time to avoid aggravating injuries, and I picked up a lot of those doing martial arts for twenty years.

As for exercising for longevity, once I reached my first strength goal, I gave myself permission to stop worrying about them as an end of themselves. I exercise my leg muscles to pump up my metabolism instead of my PRs, I do more loaded carries, kettle ball work, and good mornings, and I’m experimenting with German volume training. And if I can’t make it to the gym one day, I don’t beat up myself up about it; I remind myself of the importance of body weight and mobility exercises and do a quick 10-20 minutes of those. Once I get back down to my college weight, then I’ll worry about my second strength goal of pressing my own body weight over my head.

Best improvements I’ve experienced came with activation, joint stability and mobility work.

Stay limber, mobile, and fed.

Hey guys,
Really appreciate the info and ideas.
Yeah im a painter but I end up doing a fair bit of other labouring tasks too.
I currently train 3 days a week full body. One day focused on either a squat, hip-hinge or a press and generally do accessories for the other movements on that day.
Most recently I’ve done something to my back that only flares up when I get under a loaded bar to squat so I’ve switched that out for front squats and SLDLs.

I’m not sure why but for some reason I’ve come up with the goal of wanting to hit 500 pounds/225kg on the squat. These little injuries add up sometimes though and make it hard to progress.

Was there anyway you managed to mitigate getting to beat up at work?

Cheers guys

Not really man. If I spent the day climbing up and down ladders or bent over and kneeling masking and have a workout planned, I might push it back a day. I also do my first workout of the week on a Sunday. If it’s been a rough week I won’t hesitate to replace one of those conditioning days with stretching and yoga. I myself have to watch my lower back from getting too beat up or tight. Alot of times it ends up being tight hip flexors and abs. I alternate pulls and squats every week as well and never in the same session, even for speed. I was very reluctant to move away from training the major 4 lifts hard each week, but I’m glad I moved to 2 and 3 days. I also cut back on the intensity of my supplemental quite a bit. I still push and set PR’s for every aspect of my training, just not at the same time, not all the time. Alot of it is going by feel. If you know a weight PR isn’t in the cards after working up, try a rep PR or do the bare minimum and try for a PR with your lighter assistance or conditioning. I would also say that your tweaks and pains are probably coming from the weight room and not the other way around. Recovery is key. What type of progression model do you use?

Haha I never thought of it like that, because it happened at work, I just assumed it was work related. I do get pretty tight for a couple of days after my work out and occasionally due to other things I’ve had to move work out days around and ended up with 2 back-to-back. Um recently I’ve been shooting for total volume then upping the weight, doesn’t matter to much about sets ie recently I wanted 30 reps on the squat. I think it ended up going like this 11-8-5-6.