T Nation

Getting Back into the Game After 25yrs

I used to compete in powerlifting back in the eighties (remember Marathon suits and Ed Coan as a 181?) I was never really any good, but anyway I want to come back and see what I can do now at 47. I have been weight training all these years so I am in decent shape but I haven’t done anything as intense like a powerlifting cycle in a long time. I would like compete as a Masters in a meet next year so I have a couple questions:

  1. I have been trying to get my form back in the low-bar squat, but the action of holding the bar low on the back tears up my shoulders. They feel like they are going to pop out. Will this pass as the shoulders loosen up and I get used to the positioning again? Or should I defer to the high-bar squat to protect to old shoulders? I remember seeing a top competitor at the USA Powerlifting championships at the Arnold Classic recently who was a high bar squatter. I think it was a big deal that this guy was a high bar squatter. The announcer kept making a big deal of his high bar technique when introducing him to the platform as if it was something the crowd should be impressed by. I forget the guy’s name…

  2. I feel I need to develop some sort of base to get the old body ready for the rigors of a powerlifting cycle. I was reading about the strong lifts 5x5 and the old Doug Hepburn routines. These seem to be good routines to start with. The scene sure has changed since my day with 5/3/1, the emergence of Westside, and all the others. Any ideas?

I’ve never heard of Doug Hepburn, so I put him into the search box…fun fact for the day: He consumed 10,000 cals a day GAHHH

The old shit didn’t magically stop working, keep to what you know

I lifted back in the 70s and 80s, retired 1984, started lifting again in 2000 and competed as a thrower from 2005.

Decided to do some serious hypertrophy before I enter the M/60s and started some heavy Low bar squatting again this year, doing my first Pl comp in forever next year.

When young I never used wrist wraps when squatting. Sure felt it, but did them without. Coming back I moved my grip out but without the wrist wraps I would still be squatting 1/2 what I can lunge.

Slowly my grip has moved in, and is now close to where it was, can probably now squat heavy without the wraps, and can wear them a little looser on warmups.

So wrist wraps let me squat and after about 5 months the grip is near what it was.

I also only power squat once a week, I front squat on the other workout, so if I back squatted the wrist , shoulder mobilty may have improved faster,

also I am 58 going on 59, so mobilty is an issue in so many ways…

I read about Westside saw the videos, Sheiko etc, played around with DE ME, but am basically doing what worked best for me back when I lifted. Took a while for my body to tolerate the workload, and I do more "less than max sets " than I used to , but very happy with what I am doing…

and chains and bands have found a way in, the added variety is very positive

good luck and have fun

Thanks, Terry. Good advice and insights. One thing I’ve learned is how to work around and manage pain and injuries at this age. Small modifications in form and time seems to do the trick. Glad to hear that one in their 50’s and beyond can still train and compete. Many guys at my gym are old-timers, which is inspirational. I dont worry about monster poundages, but to have fun, as you say. The act of being able to train is a victory in itsef. As many of my peers from years ago have long stopped due to injuries, career demands, etc.

and many of my peers are now dead, sad as it is

makes me happy I was never “that” serious

good luck

Best of luck to you and kudos for keeping it real and training hard!

There were a few meets where I won outstanding DL/ Squatter, but the most impressive thing to me in those meets, and the true champions were older lifters who wouldnt quit.

There was one fellow, over 80 years old who pulled 395 on his deadlift! That to me, is beyond admirable.

Thanks for all the encouragement. I remember my training back in my college years when I started powerlifting…there was no internet back then, in the early 80’s, so the only training knowledge we had was what we got out of Powerlifting USA magaizines…the Bible. There were no internet sites to go to to to glean information from. But I was lucky enough to grow up in Ohio so I was surrounded by many local powerlifting legends who were also international stars (before eastern-bloc countries came to prominence). While a student at Purdue University, I was coached briefly by Pat Malone who ran the school powerlifting club. Pat was kind of known around powerlifting circles back then, and was the one who came up with the Malone Formula, I believe still used in women’s powerlifting today. I picked up a few 2nd 3rd place trophies in collegiate meets but was never really any good.

See, I was also in the Army ROTC program so much of my time was filled up with Army training (remember that scene with Bill Murray in the movie Stripes - Army training, Sir!) which often contradicted powerlifting training. For example, a week before a meet we had to do a 12 mile road march with full gear. A buddy of mine and I decided to run the thing…basically running a half marathon with full pack, boots, with our rifles held at the postion of port arms a week before a power contest! Crazy. The conflict with this cardio-type training put a drag on my lifting progress, but in some way I kind of liked the all around bad-assness of it all. To be able to function as a strength athlete and have good all around conditioning at the same time made me feel invinceable.

At my current age I feel that I can be a BETTER lifter than I was 20 years ago because of it all - more assess to training knowledge, more maturity, better understanding of recovery, better control over my nutrition, and no more Amy training, Sir! But I still believe in all around fitness, and still consider myself a strength athlete.

[quote]Terry Gibbs wrote:
and many of my peers are now dead, sad as it is

makes me happy I was never “that” serious

good luck[/quote]

This is the most depressing post I’ve seen on TNation, in multiple ways.

And, now I have to go watch Stripes.