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Helping Out the Old Man

Hey guys,

What advice/program would you recommend for a man in his mid fifties who has never worked out with weights before. Keeping in mind that he has had some ciatic nerve problems arise over the last couple years, otherwise he’s in pretty good shape for an old man!

my q is the same, my dad is early fifties, 6’4 was 315 now is 302 and wants to drop to about 260. Problem is he mostly does cardio and is afraid to do weights because he has a bad back that’s in pain a lot

Other than medical problems, workout programs are not really really any different whether the person is 50 or 25.

Other factors like access to equipment or free time to use for training are more important.

The best beginner program imho is RIPPETOE’s STARTING STRENGTH

Be careful though, because a ‘modern’ sedentary lifestyle will have a negative impact on the whole stabilizing musculature, so it would be wise to either start with machines (e.g. leg press instead of backsquat) or double the reps (and lower weight accordingly !)

Keep in mind that the biggest impact on body composition is still the diet, so its strongly recommended to make changes in that area as well

use the search funtion and/or come back if you have specific questions

Make sure your dads start out slowly. Learn the form and take time to recover. Having a bad back is all the more reason to work out. It is often the sedentary lifestyle that causes bad backs. Care must be taken to not do too much too soon. Rippetoe’s program is definitely where to start. I disagree on the leg press. it’s an OK accessory lift but squat variations like front squats and overhead squats, with very low weight of course, will do more to strengthen the stabilizer muscles in the back. As much as you can stick to closed chain free weight movements. That way the whole body can be trained as a unit. Body weight movements should also be used. Also, pay attention to flexibility and balance issues. 50 is a little young to be worried about balance but in some cases it’s an issue.

I also take offense to the idea that a man in in 50s is an old man. :slight_smile:

Stu

[quote]actionjeff wrote:
my q is the same, my dad is early fifties, 6’4 was 315 now is 302 and wants to drop to about 260. Problem is he mostly does cardio and is afraid to do weights because he has a bad back that’s in pain a lot[/quote]

Has your Dad tried out the services of a good chiropractor? I have a disc in my neck that is messed up, caused me a lot of pain at one point, and it is thanks to the chiropractor that I am now pain free and have complete range of motion back. Something to think about. :slight_smile:

[quote]stuward wrote:
Make sure your dads start out slowly. Learn the form and take time to recover. Having a bad back is all the more reason to work out. It is often the sedentary lifestyle that causes bad backs. Care must be taken to not do too much too soon. Rippetoe’s program is definitely where to start. I disagree on the leg press. it’s an OK accessory lift but squat variations like front squats and overhead squats, with very low weight of course, will do more to strengthen the stabilizer muscles in the back. As much as you can stick to closed chain free weight movements. That way the whole body can be trained as a unit. Body weight movements should also be used. Also, pay attention to flexibility and balance issues. 50 is a little young to be worried about balance but in some cases it’s an issue.

I also take offense to the idea that a man in in 50s is an old man. :slight_smile:

Stu[/quote]

LOL…I just call him “Old Man” it’s a proper name not a derogatory term!

Unfortunately, I think he only has access to free weights (DB’;s up to 60lbs, which he thinks is a ton of weight bless his soul) and a nautilus machine.

I was thinking of having him do the 3rd world squat for a few weeks to develop his form. As well as start with the standard body weight exercises, push ups, dips, bw squats.

Nothing that’s going to takle more than about 20-30 mins.

What do you think stu, anything else to add for now?

[quote]J.P.GM. wrote:
actionjeff wrote:
my q is the same, my dad is early fifties, 6’4 was 315 now is 302 and wants to drop to about 260. Problem is he mostly does cardio and is afraid to do weights because he has a bad back that’s in pain a lot

Has your Dad tried out the services of a good chiropractor? I have a disc in my neck that is messed up, caused me a lot of pain at one point, and it is thanks to the chiropractor that I am now pain free and have complete range of motion back. Something to think about. :)[/quote]

yeah, I don’t think it’s helped much. He has bone spur issues on his spine. I don’t actually know whether this would prevent him from directly working his back, but his back hurts as it is so I doubt he’d be willing to risk it.

He’s also a really big dude, used to lay carpet and play bball and hurt his knees a little but they are healed now, but he isn’t gonna be doing chin ups, dips, or heavy squats in the near future.

[quote]G-men27 wrote:
LOL…I just call him “Old Man” it’s a proper name not a derogatory term!

Unfortunately, I think he only has access to free weights (DB’;s up to 60lbs, which he thinks is a ton of weight bless his soul) and a nautilus machine.

I was thinking of having him do the 3rd world squat for a few weeks to develop his form. As well as start with the standard body weight exercises, push ups, dips, bw squats.

Nothing that’s going to take more than about 20-30 mins.

What do you think stu, anything else to add for now?
[/quote]

60 lb DBs are a good start. You can do a lot with that. 1 legged split squats, etc can be challenging with that weight, so can presses and rows. 60lbs DB OH Squats will certainly be challenging.

I think it’s good for everyone to be comfortable with body weight stuff before they get into heavier stuff. You should only use the nautilus occasionally.

Stu

I think Stu is right about a sedentary lifestyle causing many of the pain issues people endure as they age. I had some as well when I started lifting, and most of them are gone now. I’m 47, and now the only pain I have is the self inflicted kind. I don’t feel my recovery time is all that much slower at this age. I still squat every week and deadlift every other week. Your Dad should begin slowly though, get the feel of handling weights, otherwise it could cause an injury. There’s plenty of guys on the over 35 forum getting started again, try taking a look at what some of these guys are doing.

So how does this look as a template for the first few weeks to get him acclimated???

A- 3 x 15 push ups
B- 3 Third World Squats till failure
C- 3 x 15 Dips
D- 3 x 15 Lateral Pulldowns
E- 3x15 alt. DB Presses

Performed 3 times a week and then move more into free weights in about 4-6 weeks.

What do you guys think???

Anybody have any criticism???

Dips are hard for a beginner and they are redundant if you are doing pushups. You might want to substitute a rowing exercise. Inverted rows are a good choice.
http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=1013133

I think New Rules of Lifting would be an awesome choice. It’s got a nice break-in program.

It would also help explain to him the theory behind it. It sometimes helps to have an “expert” to help explain things. Parents don’t always listen to their kids, even when they’re right. The book could help.

[quote]G-men27 wrote:
So how does this look as a template for the first few weeks to get him acclimated???

A- 3 x 15 push ups
B- 3 Third World Squats till failure
C- 3 x 15 Dips
D- 3 x 15 Lateral Pulldowns
E- 3x15 alt. DB Presses

Performed 3 times a week and then move more into free weights in about 4-6 weeks.

What do you guys think???[/quote]

jeez that’ll be challenging for an average high school kid

id say do something like…

planks
walking lunges
seated rows/bent over rows
push ups

keep the weight at 50% and perform high reps, if hes comfy with it. let em gradually build enough confidence to start picking up heavier weights. ive heard of 55 years olds pulling 405lbs - 495lbs… just an interesting pointer. and yea, 3 times a week is great. walking in between is better.

[quote]stuward wrote:
Dips are hard for a beginner and they are redundant if you are doing pushups. You might want to substitute a rowing exercise. Inverted rows are a good choice.
http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=1013133

[/quote]

Thanks for the link.

What if the Dips are done on a bench with feet on the ground?? Those shouldn’t be too hard!

No they’re not hard but you don’t need them. 1Push ups are enough. If you have some dumbbells some overhead presses are good. Then work on pulls, lower body and core moves.