T Nation

Old, Beginner, Trainwreck

Here goes nothing… 47, 5’4" 120lbs. Trying to gain. Started out at 180. My back is rounded for too many years of driving. It is better than it was but…most all the articles say to concentrate on pulling to fix this. Well, I can pull till the cows come home, but I can’t push shit. Not with my upper body. I have zero muscle coveri g my shoulders blades and feel like old of thise buzzards on the old cartoons. I can clean and press 60lbs for a 5x5 but I can’t bench but 45. Thinks makes no sense to me. Questions are… Should work more on the pressing or is that going screw up my posture even more? And what builds the muscles on your shoulder blades? Because really… It is pretty pathetic.

There are a vast number of training programs on TN, and they run the gamut–powerlifting, bodybuilding, strongman, fitness/functional strength, etc. Some are 2-3x/week whole-body programs; others are 5-7 days/week bodypart splits. Some are built around doing a minimum number of heavy compound lifts; others rely on higher volume, lower weights and isolation movements. Which is right for you? That’s easy–it’s whichever one you will enjoy the most; the one you will look forward to doing week in and week out for the foreseeable future. The point being, the specifics of the program matter far less than do the intensity, consistency and enthusiasm with which you follow it.

Thank you. I’ll give that a try.

At this point, you may just want to concentrate on overall muscle gains and not worry about this bicep or that hamstring exercise. As Eye Dentist says, there are several all-body programs, so just find one you enjoy.

You might want to visit an ortho doctor and look into rehab exercises, if your strength is really so poor you can hardly pick up weights. Also, if you’re worried about posture problems, you may want to consider gait rehab.

Thank you. I will figure it out. Newbie ( less than a year lifting) …yes. Do i have issues?..Yes. Old?.. Maybe. Crazy?..Definitely! Weak?..NO! I am NOT weak.

I am very similar in size to you. I, too, struggle with pressing and despite many years of training have made little progress on flat bench. So I understand your frustration! I train a lot of pulling and have learned (somewhat) to use my back, lats, and triceps as well as some leg drive when benching. My upper back also has zero musculature:( Nothing wise or witty to add. If you discover the magic way to get a strong press, let me know!

Thank you. It makes me feel better knowing i am not the only one.

Are you male or female? I don’t believe you mentioned it

Remember to make the weights work for you!

Try some chest supported rows, or chest supported T-Bar rows. Start each rep by squeezing your shoulder blades back and together. Focus on pulling back with your elbows. Control the negative. Use your middle back, to stabilize your shoulder blades and elbows.

Do inverted rows, or “fat man chinups.” At the top, pull your shoulder blades together. Squeeze, and arch your chest up into the bar. Again, control the descent. Use the tension of your back, to keep your elbows in line.

Don’t worry about how much weight you move, think about the muscles you are using. Focus on generating tension, and forming a solid base for your presses.

When you do press or bench, Don’t hesitate to use light dumbbells, or barbells less than 45 pounds to get some warm ups and practice reps and general “volume” in.

Thank you. FlatsFarmer. I decided the other day i had to be doing something wrong…lol. Made myself concentrate on what I was doing. It took several reps but ended up ramping up to 55 lbs!!! That is a PR for me! Thank you for your help!

Sorry, had no nofication anyone replied…Female.

After several hundred face pulls, seated cable rows, and lat pull downs, shoulders are looking better. But, have figured out you can erase all that work with 6 hours on a gas powered weed eater…lol. What’s a few thousand more pulls? Right???

You’re on a roll now! And you’re on to something with your back/shoulders.

Driving, weed eating, and all sorts of other stuff makes your shoulders slump. If you’re a slumped, you’ll probably slump for life. So you need rows and face pulls and pulldowns. Hundreds a week is probably right. The more often you can work back moves into your routine, the better.

Once you’ve figured out how to use your back work to increase your bench, you have to take that approach to your triceps. 3x10 on dumbbell kickbacks isn’t gonna cut it. Aim for hundreds of tricep Pushdowns. Use the cable or bands, and try to avoid skull-crushed moves, to build up volume without killing your elbows. Do dumbbell benches, practice keeping your forearms really vertical. Focus on pushing with the triceps. Learn to get the weight off the front of your shoulders, and onto your triceps.

My Opinion;
If you’re not a good bench presses naturally, it’s hard to improve the bench press by just bench pressing. But its really, really easy to improve on some back and tricep moves. Especially using new hands positions, or just slowing down and “feeling” your reps for a change. Then, you can take these gains to the bench press. Like, how much can I bench with these improved tri’s and back muscles?

Thanks again! There is no doubt my posture issues are self inflicted. I am not looking for a miracle, but improvement is always welcome. Thank you for the advice about the tri’s. i will start to up the reps on those as well. Thanks for the encouragement. At this point I need all I can get!

You increased your bench by 20%! You’re doing well so far.

Im in agreement with regards to face pulls. No matter what I do on a particular day rear delts get worked in some capacity. They can take a beating and recover quickly, frequent rear delt and upper back work will help your lagging pressing. You may want to superset each pressing movement with face pulls or pullaparts.

Thanks MattyXL. Will try adding supersets to the menu.

So…since I am a noobie and all, question. Can i start my training log here or do I have to start another thread?

Here is just fine. Welcome to T-Nation.

Welcome to T-nation. Face pulls are you friend.