T Nation

Lifting After Injuries/Surgery

54 yr old slowly getting into lifting again but…multiple injuries/surgery’s making it hard but not imposable to do some things.
Now on to injuries/surgery’s left shoulder multiple tears rotator cuff med to large.Right shoulder multiple tears not as bad but 3/4 in of distal end of clavicle removed now have impingement again.
All disks in back bulging a good bit very noticeable on MRI.Whole Mid back has stenosis.Lower back L 4-5 lamenectomy with fibrosis from the incision multiple tears on all the lower disks.
Left knee a meniscal horizontal cleavage tear.L-3 nerve root impingement

Now onto what the heck can i do to help in the muscle building dept.to help in stabilizing my whole body and put on muscle/lose a little weight.
Any movement with elbows out reaally aggravate the shoulders.
I have a bench, curl bar, various dumbbells various sizes,Nice Elliptical.If need be I can resurrect the weider universal type machine out of the garage.
Sorry for the looong post.

i feel your pain my list reads alot like yours
55 years old 3 different doctors told me to quit lifting
ice packs muscle rubs hot baths
i spend alot of time reading articles on training and experimenting with different exercises to find what i can and cant do
different grips and bar paths
i find when i dont stress over how much wieght i use everything goes better

Actually I forgot to add some things hehe…
I use a lot lighter weight now than 10-15 yrs ago. Trying to concentrate more on form with the few exercises that I am doing.Still need to find the rest of the blasted plates for my Olympic bar,wife moved them,where who knows.Only found about half of them.Any particular exercises you do to help?

light weight stiff leg dead lifts 3 sets of 12 before sqauts and deadlifts
massage with muscle rub before bench
some exercises agravate more than help like shoulder raises front or lateral
so i have several exercises i dont do
i just made a list of what i can do then developed my workouts around them

"i just made a list of what i can do then developed my workouts around them"
Sounds a lot like what I do…

You might need professional assistance.


I’ll guess and say you’ve never been “wild” about flexibility or stretching. Most american lifters aren’t.
I’d don’t mean touching your toes a couple times b4 ya squat or swinging your arms around b4 ya bench. I mean serious 45 minutes of stretching before you hit the weights. I gave an american friend of mine an interview with a young a russian heavyweight lifter who was coming back form injury. The interviewer asked him about his training and he said i get to the gym at 10 AM and start lifting at noon. The interviewer asked, what do you do between 10 and noon? The reply: “stretch”

Don’t believe me. Ilya Ilin, two time olympic gold medal winner, who is preparing for the World Championships this November, is posting highlights of his workouts on youtube. Most just contain lifts, cause thats what people want to see, but check out the first 5 minutes of the attached


It shows “a little” of his flexibility work before he lifts. He’s more flexible than most female gymnastics competitors. That didn’t happen overnight. He’s put in some serious time on the mat.
And its payed off. Friday he cleaned and jerked 242 kg (thats 530 lbs for you guys, at 230 lbs).

You may want to take a yoga class, working on your flexibility can do nothing but help your injuries and lifting.

good luck.


Thx for the reply and stretching/yoga suggestion I do stretch but not any where near 2hrs…Probably about 10 min max.Flexibility has gone down hill with every injury/surgery and subsequent Dr. prescribed p.t. sessions.This I do know…Actually have considered yoga classes.The Y.M.C.A in the next town has them.Even thought about some Tai chi but no-one in area does it. When I was younger My flexibility was creepy good.Could bend into all kinds of positions no problems.

Now, not even remotely close to what was easily done in the past.Balance is about gone also…So I’m starting all over again.That’s why I’ve come here for some sort of direction. Been a loong time since I’ve done any working out.Except for working.Cutting and splitting wood and whole house gutting and remodeling etc.

Walk up to any six 4-year-olds, and say
"if you can bend over and touch your nose to your knee i’ll buy you anything you want"
You will go broke very fast.
Do the same thing with six 40-year-olds and you won’t even have to get out your wallet.

Loss of flexibility and aging, a coincidence? I think not.

Flexibility, its a helluva thing.