T Nation

Hard Work

Hi, everyone. Been lurking for a while and decided to join the fun. I’m 54 yrs old, been weight training for some 35 yrs. Unlike everyone else, I didn’t get out of shape and now trying to get back. Now actually in best shape of life.

Growing up, I was a skinny thing. Born with heart defect, was in and out of hospitals for a few yrs. Also had asthma and allergies. No one wanted me on their team. At 15, decided to put an end to that. Started doing calethenics, then in college hit the weight room 3 times every week. (Small school, just had an Universal machine.) Didn’t eat too well, though, graduated 135 lbs at 6 ft, still weak.

I’ve hit gyms since then. One gym owner wouldn’t let me touch the free weights, no explanation. (He was a national level lifter - go figure.) Others put me through training that didn’t help any. Eventually started on barbell exercises like squats and deadlifts. First squat I put on 2 plates for 135, it almost crushed my spine. Had to start a lot lighter. Then they diagnosed scoliosis of the spine. Decided to take deadlifts slowly to build up the supporting muscles.

Kept pushing. Ten years ago realized I had food allergies and went Paleo. Felt way better, lifting got a bit better. Diagnosed with depression (probably inherited from Dad), got medication. Worked hard but slow progress. Took a couple of years before I could finally bench 95 lbs. About 10 more years of work before benching 115. Several more years and got to 135. Now at 155.

About 8 yrs ago developed heart arythmia, pops up now and then. Two yrs ago got heart palpitations. Under control now with meds, although really tough squats or deads make it flare up. A yr ago went for broke. Really kicked up food intake plus protein shakes. Basic barbell exercises, nothing fancy, pushing for strength. Getting loads of sleep. Got my squat up to 205 lbs x 5 and deads up to 275 x 1. Bodyweight finally got up to 210, a bit soft around the middle but feels much better.

Planning on entering a local contest this April. They give you choice of bench or deadlift, will take dead. Hoping to lift 300 lbs by then, wish me luck.

Good luck! and welcome to the old farts home

Welcome to the forum Cavalier.

Thanks for the warm welcome, guys. On to today’s workout:

Squats 115 lbs x 7
155 x 6
185 x 5
205 x 5
205 x 5

Surprisingly easy. Maybe it was all the sleep I got. We had Friday off, so 3 day weekend. Spent it eating and sleeping.

Reverse ab crunch
x 13
x 13

TV in gym was set to World’s Strongest Man contest. We ogled over the big guys and big weights. Makes you want to grab some dumbbells and run outside to do some Farmer’s Walk. Freezing out, however, so thought better of it.

I don’t know if watching World’s Strongest Man while I trained would inspire me or make me scream “what’s the point?” and quit!

Point taken, FarmerBrett. They were pushing huge dumbbells overhead with one hand and I was saying, “I just squatted that!!”

Deadlifts today. I asked the gym owner last week to check my form and he gave a few tips.

135 x 7
185 x 6
235 x 5
235 x 5
235 x 4

Still tough, but didn’t leave me a gasping wreck, so guess conditioning is getting better.

Chins bodyweight x 4 x 5 x 6

Bodyweight up to 212, so chins getting good and tough.

Bench day:

45 lbs x 10
85 x 10
115 x 5
135 x 5
145 x 2 Tough, but got them done
95 x 10

Overhead press:

45 x 10
65 x 7
75 x 5
80 x 5
85 x 5

Had to psyche myself out a lot to get that last set, but it worked.

Have to brush the snow off the car going to the gym. And going home. And going to work. Huh, I used to like snow when I was a kid.


Sorry I am late to the party…but welcome! Looks like you have overcome your share of hurdles…best of luck with your training.

Thanks very much. Just wish I had known 30 yrs ago what I know today, things would’ve been a lot easier… but we all want that, don’t we?

Squat day:

115 lbs x 8
155 x 7
205 x 5
205 x 5
205 x 5

Maintaining from last week, will try going up next time.

Reverse ab crunches x 15 x 13

No heart flutter or palpitations, my conditioning must be getting better.

Just got the application for the contest. It’ll be my first weightlifting competition. Any tips?

[quote]cavalier wrote:
Just got the application for the contest. It’ll be my first weightlifting competition. Any tips?

My first tip would be to call it “powerlifting.” You’ll be DLing, right? Most people think of “weightlifting” as Oly lifting.

Congrats signing up for your first meet!

My first tip would be to get the lifter’s handbook/rule book and make sure you have the right gear and that its all legal. Even if you lift raw, in USAPL you will need a singlet, non-boxer briefs, long socks, flat shoes, and a plain T-Shirt without a logo. But the feds are all different so you just have to check the rules for your fed.

Next, I would start practicing the lifts with commands, bench and squat especially and practice the bench some with a pause. If you are used to touch-and-go-bench, the pause takes some getting used to, and it will cost you a few pounds. You may want to video your lifts and post some here to make sure your lifts are legal, especially squat and bench. Some people are surprised by how deep legal is in squat.

I would also start thinking about your openers, seconds, and thirds. Lift selection is important, you want to make sure you get at least one lift in, or the meet is over and you won’t get a total. You want to get a total. So open light.


Edit: Sorry, just saw its a DL only meet, not full power, so some of the above does not apply. I would still check the equipment rules and open light.

Deadlifting is the easiest lift in terms of commands.

Walk on the platform. Pull when you are ready. Hold the lockout until you hear the “down” command. Return the bar to the floor (controlled drop) with your hands on the bar. Celebrate success. The real challenge, like Jack mentioned, is picking the right numbers. That is an art in itself.

You’re right, it’s powerlifting. Specifically, I guess it’s one of those “push-pull” meets - bench and deadlift. No squat. You get a choice of either bench or deadlift, I’m taking deadlift since I suck less at it. They also have a 225 lbs bench for reps, since I need a forklift to get 225 off my chest, I’m not bothering with it. This year they’ve added a log press.

I saw the meet last year, and the “down” command is a hand wave. They let you lower as soon as you lockout. I had one of the trainers check my form and it looks OK.

Agreed, I want to start with something I know I can do, say 245, just to get some white lights. No idea if I get up to 300 by April, see how training goes.

Will I accomplish something? Last year the novices were pulling 300 - 400. Will my lifting look good in the over 50 category? Hard to say. Why am I doing it? To prove that skinny, weak kid is history.

One odd thing. They have loudspeakers on the stage and on every lift they blast ear-splitting heavy metal. I hope to have them keep that to a minimum, since it really distracts me. Is that common for meets?

You should do the meet because it’s a personal victory for you! It’s your first meet, so don’t worry too much about how your numbers will compare. I think it takes tremendous courage to get up on the platform and lift. It’s a real rush.

Lots of meets have loud music. Sometimes you can request a certain song – or a lack thereof, I suppose. It’s worth a try. Personally, the louder the music, the better for me to get pumped up.

I just tune out everything except the head judge. and a second vote for doing the meet. I do and I’m always the first one in the lifting flight (i.e. I lift the lightest weight)

Thanks for the advice, folks. You’re right, snapper, the fact that I’m entering at all is a big step for me. I appreciate the support.

Hey - today is 1/11/11. What does that mean? The moon falls out of the sky? Peace breaks out? We’re number 1 five times over? Think I’ll do deadlifts while pondering these philosophical questions:

135 x 6
185 x 6
245 x 5
245 x 5
225 x 5

Inverse rows on dip handles: x 15
Inverse rows on Smith lowest seting: x 5 x 5

Bench press day:

45 x 10
75 x 10
115 x 5
145 x 3
115 x 5
115 x 5

Overhead press:

45 x 10
65 x 7
90 x 3
90 x 3
90 x 3
90 x 3 Almost didn’t get through the last one, had to rest pause.

Squats today:

115 x 8
165 x 6
215 x 5
215 x 5
185 x 7

Could’ve got a bit lower on the heavy ones, but felt surprisingly good anyway.

Cybex leg curl:

5 x 12
7 x 12
9 x 5
9 x 5
9 x 5

Felt good, even though it’d been some months since the last leg curls. Probably need to work them more.

Keeping my eating up. Put on 5 lbs since Oct, now around 210. That’s 25 lbs in a year, only an inch or two more on the waist. Feeling good. Grrr.