T Nation

Getting Frustrated


I'm 42 and been Working out for 1.5 years now. I find I'm constantly working around pain and it takes me forever to recover from it. I don' t really move alot of weight compared to most on here but have been slowly adding to my lifts.

2004 for example I had to stop any pressing movement for 6-7 months because of shoulder pain (sheared tendon). I've now recovered 95% from that but a couple months ago while trying 3sets of 5 pullups (which I haven't done before because I didn't have the strenght) I caused severe right forarm pain (which didn't flair up for a day or two after the workout) which still is a bitch for pulling or curling movements.

Now...on top of that...I have a sharp pain in the right wrist from I have no idea what..I think DB upright rows but the pain came a couple days after my workout. I just finished CW's WM and was proud to have finished it because I tried it last spring and found it too much for me then.. Now I'm taking a week off but not sure if thats enough but don't want to lose what I've gained.

How the hell can i make gains when it takes me so damn long to recover from these injuries? I try to eat well, although I have a heck of a time putting on mass...but thats another story.

Eating 3200-3500 cals P/Day...taking fish oil,multivitamins, Surge POW, creatine.
Could it be not drinking enough water? Honestly I have to remind myself to drink cause I rarely get thirsty.

Aside from the slow recovery..why am I injuring myself so much? I sure wish I had of started working out 10 years ago becuase I feel like I'm racing the calender to get strong before my body won't let me...



I'm no expert, but the main reply will be go see a doctor. Orthopedic surgeon would probably be your best bet.

Take off until then, its not worth injuring yourself until you're sure you're ok to train again.


I don't know about an orthopod, but if it makes you feel better go ahead.

These sound like overuse injuries, possibly a little tendonitis. Rest, ice, and maybe an alergesic such as aspirin seems like the perfect fit.

I would suspect that after 42 yrs of not doing these things that you are seeing the effects of use.

Rest until your pain/injuries go away. While not medically serious--persistant tendonitis is both painful and dehabilitating to a lifter. Better to take 2-4-6 weeks off now, do some cardio-gpp-wwalk-whatever, than to turn this into a chronic situation.

Just my 40+ yr old .02


What about resting the injured Right forearm and wrist for a while but still train what I can?

I haven't tried ice but I thought that was for inflamation? Doesn't ice slow down recovery too?


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kevin wrote:

I just finished CW's WM and it does include some isolation movements.
What agravates my forarm pain? Anything with supinated grip eg. bent over rows, pullups, curls.
As for the wrist pain...pretty much everything from turning a door knob to pushing a door open...pulling seems ok..
Taking 2-4-6 weeks off would be worth it if that would do the trick but judgeing by the slow rate of recovery I have it will be much longer than that. Probably 6-8 months...


What is happening is that you are stressing bodyparts with movements and weights that were never used before.
Your body cannot adapt to these new stresses as quickly as say a 20 year old, who has much more "grease" in the joints.
Ive been lifting for over 20 years and get just the usual aches and pains in spite of age. You would think that after all that wear and tear a 45 year old like me would start to fall apart.
The opposite is true. Weight lifting and excersize in general has a positive effect on bone density and joint lubrication. You need to start small and move up slowly to the heavier weights.
It sounds like you should stick to basic movements like bench, squats and rows as mentioned by the previous poster. Don't do any movements where unnatural extension is used like upright rowing that you mentioned. A bitch on the wrists. Also hyperextending is a no-no.
Don't forget to always have the weight
under full contol. Slower is better. No swings or bounces.
Use e-z curl bars for arm movements and add some glucosamine for the tendons.
Warm up...Warm up... and warm up again
before you start anything.
You have a lot of catching up to do but as always "slow and steady wins the race".
Good luck.


You have tendonitis, I'd bet. Probably Tennis Elbow. Stop doing movements that aggravate it and don't worryabout the clock. You have plenty of time on your side. It was said before, warm up, increase your weights slowly. I'm 48 and still building.


Thanks for the great advice guys... Not sure if tennis elbo is what I have but it could be some sort of tendonitis. I'll definately do more of a warmup in the future and try iceing too. I wonder if I should consentrate on strenght training with higher reps/lighter weight for a couple years. I have a feeling low reps, heavy training puts more stress on my body.


You don't need a heavy weight to train heavy. Just use the lighter weight with tons of control.
Done right a 225 bench press has more effect than a poorly executed 315.
I don't think high reps will solve the problem but control and warmup and stretching will stop it from spreading.
Good Luck.


You didn't mention how sedentary you were prior to weight training. I'm 42 and started lifting 4 years ago. Before that I had played soccer and badmington, stretched more or less regularly, practised aikido, jogged and always preferred walking or bicycling as a means of transportation. Since starting lifting I have only had one injury coming from training with weights. I have mainly done cleans and squats, deadlifts, good mornings, dips, chinups, snatches, presses and jerks, very little isolation work. Yes, I was flexible already when I started. And the omission of benches, that's only because I don't like to queue.
It's obvious that you have to change the way you train. I personally consider stretching to be very important. It's a subject that I have studied for years. Stretching have always been natural for me. Static stretches do in my experience strenghten ligaments and tendons. A joga class to learn a few good stretches isn't a bad idea. What comes to training with weights, you should probably try the advices Grey gave you. I have favoured explosive lifts, but that don't necessarily suit you.


I'm guessing that you never did a lot of weight training prior to 1.5 years ago or that you had not lifted in quite a while prior to your 1.5 years of training. If that's the case, Grey probably hit on some valid points in that your body is pretty much in shock and trying to adapt to these changes.

Are you training more than 3 days a week? If so, I'd say cut back to three. How much time are you spending in a training session? Try not to let your sessions extend much beyond 45 minutes or so. I think that it's also sage advice to stick with your basic compound movements but perform them with perfect form. Proper warmup techniques will go a long ways as well. There was an article on this site for proper warmup techniques. Dig it up out of the archives. Also, get religious about stretching after a workout. I can't believe how many years I trained without stretching after my workouts.

If you feel that you're experiencing some tendonitis, get it under control now. I suffered from it in my shoulder due to years from working out improperly. I'll throw one more thing out there and that is that I've definitely benefited from performing yoga. You don't have to get all serious about it and chant some mantra in a bamboo forest to reap some benefits. Just get a basic yoga DVD and try to mix it in your routine 1 or 2 times a week. Good luck.


I'm 53 and started lifting again several years ago after being sedentary for 15 years. I think a lot of good advice was given in the preceding posts: Weight train no more than 3 days per week, perform multi-joint exercises instead of single joint exercises, perhaps back off the weight and bring it back up very slowly and with perfect form. Proper warm-ups are more important for "mature" lifters, we can't get away with what the kids can do. I have to start each workout with light weights and work up to heavier weights and more range of motion. I can't just jump into a workout. Find exercises that don't hurt you. All exercises have variations and I had to find the ones that work best for the way my body is built.

One thing that was not mentioned together in the other posts is using chondroiten along with iceing trouble spots after workouts. My experience is that I had months of chronic tendon pain after workouts that finally went away almost immediately after starting chondroiten and iceing the affected parts ASAP after workouts. A sample size of one does not make a study, but that's how it worked for me. Just backing off or stopping the workouts was not enough, but ice along with chondroiten really helped.

I'm not sure if this is accurate, but on a running web site I read a series of posts by some MD's that (I know I'll get the details messed up, but the basic idea holds) said your body can only supply a fixed amount of what goes into repairing injured tendons. Working out on these tendons, even lightly, can exceed the bodies ability to repair them as fast as you tear them up again. Eating chondroiten can supply enough of this stuff so the body can make the repair. I don't have the background to say yes this is accurate, or just a bunch of bull, but I am personally convinced that it helped me with tendon injuries, and it is a fact that my injuries got better and the pain went away.


Funny you mentioned Chondroitin because I started taking that and MSM this past week. As for icing...is that something you do only after a workout or is it done on a daily/twice a day or ?? basis? I'm still on my week 'off' but plan on starting up again today. I'm gonna avoid the single joint excersizes as your all recomending but I'm trying to figure out what type of program to do. I've been working up to full body workouts 3 times a week and been following Chad Waterbury's programs. I did ABBH 1, ABBH2 (went though that a few times), TBT, and WM is what i just finished.
It would be great to see some sample workouts you 'mature' lifters are are doing. :slightly_smiling:


Hi Migman-

Sounds like you're working it hard, so congrats on the strong effort. There are a lot of guys on here who know what they're doing and I also find it helpful to post questions on here. Of course, I agree with the guys who suggest you see a doctor first- last thing you want is to aggravate something that's small now, but that could permanently impair your regimen down the road.

I messed my elbow and wrist up this past spring and had similar issues as yours. I play baseball and was sliding into second. I dragged my right arm behind me to stable my slide and my wrist was sore for a good couple months after that. I tried wrapping it up with a strap, but that didn't really help. I did find though, that it didn't hurt everyday, so when it felt sore, I did legs, back, and/or cardio. The next day I'd try chest or shoulders. It helps to have a spotter there, too. They can help you work through the weights and slowly strengthen back up.

Be smart, listen to your body, and rest when you feel sore. There are plenty of other exercises that will give you good value without the pain.

Good luck!


I shouldn't post after midnight. Rather than just Chondroitin I eat a combination of Glucosamine and Chondroitin, along with vitamin C. When I say Chondroitin (or Glucosamine) I mean it as shorthand for both, since I have been unable to find one without the other.

When I was injured I tried to ice for at least 30 minutes (and usually overshot that time) immediately after workouts and did not ice on off days.

I lift 3 days per week and do deadlifts, weighted dips, weighted chins, bent over DB rows, and substitute in additional exercises on a rotating basis, but those are the exercises that I almost alway do. I continuously vary the reps: I might do 10x3 on Sunday or Tuesday, then 3x10 or 2x12 or even 1 set to failure on Thursday. I don't get all scientific and do x% of 1 rep max, but I've lifted enough to have a pretty good idea of how much I can lift at any given set/rep combo. I keep a log of each session and try hard to do more reps or weight each time. There are tons of articles/posts on this site that explain good workouts and it looks like you have been through them. I vary the sets/reps partly because I think for example that heavy 10x3 workouts are good for me, but they are mentally very difficult. When I'm 3 sets down and 7 to go, and the weight is REALLY heavy, it is hard to come back to the weight again and again until 10 sets are done.

I also run 2-3 days a week: 1 day 35 minutes total of intervals on sand plus up and downhill work on trails, 1 day 35 minutes of just flat out hard running on sand plus up and downhill work on trails, and 1 easy 4 mile day on solid ground. The two hard running days I usually do on the same days as my lifting which is why there are no squats in my regular routine. I also don't do much bench pressing because I don't have a suitable spotter available and I just don't feel safe doing heavy DB presses. I either bench light, do pushups with my feet up on a bench, or just hope the dips are adequate.


Try bodyweight exercises for high reps. Try the Prison Workout. If cons can gain and get ripped, imagine what we can do with a good diet!


I am older and made a few other discoveries over the years.

Drink enough water, damn most muscle problems caused by insufficient hydration. Now another thing that many guys screw up with. Never stretch a cold muscle. Arnold always recommended and I do religiously 2 light sets of say squats on leg and deadlift days, then stretch.

So get checked out, and get healed.

Stay the hell away from isolation exercises for a while. Do compound moves to strengthen the joints and all connective tissue.

Actually I recommend about 5 exercises for a while. Squats, bench press, deadlift, seated cable rows, shoulder presses in a smith machine, and barbell curls.
Works for us here.


I don't think that I can add much that hasn't already been posted such as
- drink plenty of water
- use compound movements
- lift 3 days a week
- use joint supplements
- get plenty of sleep.

Only suggestions I have is to make sure you're in good physical condition (some GPP) and do plenty of pre-hab and prep movements. In addition to the articles here, check some of them on the elite fitness site. It seems Dave Tate has been struggling with injuries and made some drastic short-term changes in his training (w/ the help of Alwyn Cosgrove) and documented it on his website (both of whom are regulars on T-Nation)




I think it should be required reading for everyone here.

Good Luck



Migman, heed grey's post above ^. Very good advice. My own 2 cents worth is this : it sounds to me like you are trying to move too much weight too soon. Be realistic in what kind of weight you can move and be patient. Too heavy of a load will screw you up and set you back. Warm up , warm up, warm up !