T Nation

Over 55 Lifter


Over 55 lifter.Male height 6'1'' weight 255
Body builder age 21 to 28 weight 220.Did not compete.
Turned power lifter to put on some size. Competed in 220 and 242's had a lot of fun.

Trained for a couple of meets in the 264's but started having back trouble and never made the contests. Blew 3 discs in lumbar spine age 42. Could only do upper body work that did not load spine dips chins pull overs etc. Ballooned up to 290 fat and outta shape.

Rehabbed low back dropped weight to 260 and at age 50 started on come back trail. Yes totally a final quarter crisis play.
Combined strongman style training with power lifting and a bit of bodybuilding. Really having fun with it.

Then over trained bench causing a tear in both rotator cuffs. Tore right shoulder Jan 2009,left August 2010.Rehab efforts were only moderately successful. December 1st 2011 and March 13th 2012 under went surgery on shoulders bicep tendonectomy and rotator cuff repair.

So fellow meat heads as you can see I will be rehabbing the shoulders over the next while. Still train lower body with hip belt squats loaded drags etc.

While I can learn from anyone what I am looking forward to on this forum is connecting with other older lifters to share training and rehab prehab information.

Overtraining was the culprit in my shoulder and back injuries. I have some knee issues as well as the back and shoulders.
Life time natural lifter.I have a good gym in the basement and my goal has always been to be strong and big.

I would love to compete again and still volunteer at local meets and coach some people who lift or play football ( strength coach).
I find the articles on T Nation to be the most useful so thought I would join thier online community.

Last WO looked like this
March 26 2012
Loaded drag ( 15 inch tire filled with rocks pulled with a hip belt) 100 steps forward 100 steps back x 2 (x3)
Leg Curl 50x10 62.5x15 75x10
1 leg calf raise BW+ 45 x 20 15 10
Reverse Hyperextension BW x 20x3.


welcome aboard




Welcome, Bruce. I'm 55, have had my share of aches, but nothing as debilitating as yours. Determined to keep lifting and avoid the mistakes.


Thanks for the welcome. Yes Cavalier if you want to know what not to do I'm your man.
Seems even the lessons learned the hard way did not stick. I have a younger iron monger friend (only 50) current president of the Manitoba Powerlifting association who has dialed me back from the brink a few times. You would think I would learn. Training has always been a way for me to let the bad guy outta the basement but I have to accept that moderate consistent efforts with periodic peaks are the best for continual progression.

On thing I have tried in the last couple years is speed training starting with 60% for doubles to triples and keeping bar speed at max builds power. I add weight when I get say 8 sets of 3. I have had good progress following Doug Hepburn's routines(as seen here on T Nation)

Really with the amount of information on this site there is no excuse for not following a successful routine. Although all the competitive lifters I know have had injuries seems to go with the territory many are able to predict thier 1 rep max with out hitting it in the gym saving it for the platform. You have to have a lot of confidence in your program and know your body for this to work.

March 26th 2012
Left arm
low pulls purple band x20,15,10
standing DB press 20x10x3
standing DB curl 20x10x3
tricep push down purple band x20,15,10
Right arm
broom stick lateral x10x3
broom stick vertical x10x3
both arms
anterior rotator sttetch and hold x10 seconds x3.

Both shoulders were a little lit up after this. See surgeon today for green light to start physio on right arm. My physio is a strongman powerlifter who doesn,t give me shit for training but offers sound advice and works out with me. He has a gym at his shop and is insanely strong.


I've had three orthopedic surgeries in the last five years, including rotator cuff repair. I compete in powerlifting. Welcome.


You're very lucky to have a therapist who understands lifting. Too easy to find a doc who'll tell you nonsense. Case in point: my last doc was certified in sports medicine and still told me not to drink too many protein shakes or it would rupture my kidneys.


Good news Doctor and physio green lighted some light high rep resistance work for left shoulder( did not have the heart to tell them I started 3 weeks ago)and said only ROM work for right shoulder with no movement above shoulder height and no resistance/weight work for a month.
Both very pleased with progress said I was healing faster than they had expected.
More good news one of the interns who examined me was a lifter and shared he had 2 pec tears and a rotator cuff repair 5 years ago. Currently benching more than previous and he encouraged me to leave bench alone till new year and then give it a go.
He explained that they repaired the cuff in both shoulders cut the top bicep tendon and trimmed the bone ends in the AC joint. This trimming will allegedly prevent impingement when the arms are fully extended.
So a bench meet in 2013??
March 28 2012
Loaded tire drag 100 fwd 100 back x2(x2)
LC 50x10 62.5x6 75x6x3
1 leg CR BW+ 45 x15x3
RH BWx20x3
Man I am getting fat to close to the fridge these days,gotta dial it back to hard to take off.


Still trainin,last one looked like this
April 10 2012
Hip Belt Squat 1 platex10 2 plates x10 3 plates x10 4 plates x 3 5 plates x 20
Leg Curl 50x15 70x6x8
1 legged calf raise BW+ 45 x20x3

2 handed low row purple band x 10,15,15
close grip pull up BW x 1 ,2,3,4

first time using right arm with left for PU and seated rows

Did lottsa tater cuff stuff ROM and bands.

rehabbing both shoulders from surgery


April 11 2012
Left arm
1 arm OHP 10x10 20x10 30 x 10 x3
Standing DBC 10x01 20x10 30x10x3
Tri push down purple band mid grip full extension 3 sec hold
Right Arm SDBC 10x10x3
Tri push down purple band 1 hand width lower than left x10x3 no hold

Both shoulders get the full Monty of tater cuff stuff 2 x day left with bands right just ISO holds.
lite weights but I,m gratefull to be able to train. Both shoulders and arms atrophied so the hypertrophy rep ranges won't hurt. God I want my arms and shoulders back.

April 12th
HBS 1 plate x 5 2 plates x 5 3 plates x 10 4 plates x3 5 plates x 3 6 plates x 20 nice and deep.
LC 50x10 62.5 x 6 75 x 4 75 x 15
Seated CR ( barbell on knees) 135x10x2 135x40

Close Grip PU BW x 1,2,3,4,5
Seated Row purple band x15x3

Did a 20 rep back squat program back in the mid 90's worked up to three sets of 20 with 6 plates then,doubt I can hit that with these hip belt squats 20 at 6 plates today was all there was.
Still felt good.

I have 2 18 year olds one my son that have started training with me in the basement gym. 3 x a week plan is for another one to join us this Friday. I love coaching young people and these guys are such a blast,energy and enthusiasm.
Sorry for the babbling, home since March 13 wife and kids are at work school etc,my dog is tired of talking about working out so you guys get it.
Doc says to continue to pursue the recovery aggressively ( I have to ice after each rehab session)and not to go back to work till end of April earliest.
I am bored enough to miss work but want these surgeries to work so will do as suggested.


Looks like a tough rehab program, hopefully one that will pay off. Boredom is tough to deal with, maybe you can master something you wouldn't normally do like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. Anyway, hang tough, and hopefully the hard rehab work will pay dividends.


Thanks for the encouragement. Good suggestion to broaden the scope a bit,maybe an online course.
Beautiful dogs. Mastiffs?

Any one care to share what protein supplement they use and why. The boys are having a hard time eating enough so they asked me to recommend a supplement. Any suggestions to help these young men grow?
I have no problem eating enough so have never used a protein supplement hence no experience in what works best.
Once we have a suggestion or 2 I plan to buy some and give them a post WO shake at the gym as well as the post WO feed. Both boys are ectomorph/mesomorph. Hard gainers with long legs slim hips but good shoulders.


Bruce, my baby's are Boxers, although the big one is technically bigger than breed standard.

I think the boys need to stuff more red meat (grass fed beef if possible) and potatoes down their throats, and good fats from good oils and foods like avocado, and not be afraid to gain a little fat if they want to grow. The more non-sugar and non-simple-carb calories they can get the better--except right after the workout some fast-acting carbs will help spike insulin levels.

As far as supplements, I've recently tried the protein from this site and its about as good as any other I've tried, it tastes good and appears to be of high quality. I am thinking of trying their recovery drink as well in the near future just to see.

When I hear people have a hard time eating I get a chuckle--as that's never been my problem--and I think of the Dave Tate anecdote at the end of this article, which is well worth the read:



Thanks for the link and advice.
I agree on the beef and potatoes. They will eat prodigious amounts in the PM but breakfast is usually missed. I can get eggs and toast into my son some mornings. These guys are conflicted though want strong and big with 6 packs so they believe some processed supplement will jack them while not getting fat. I am willing to feed it to them just to get more into them.
I am a 5 meal a day guy always eat a bit to much. Cut up twice looked nice but not where I want be.

April 13 2012
Loaded Tire drag 100 steps fwd 100 bck x 2 x3
Left arm OHP 20 pound rock x 12 x 3
SDC 30x10x3
Purple band push down mid grip 3 sec hold at bottom x 10x3
Right arm
SDBC 10x10x3
Purple band push down hand breadth lower than left x10x3 no hold

internal and external rotations x10x3
front raise rear raise x 10x3
Side raise x10x3
pull aparts ( knee wrap can't do band yet)
Anterior shoulder stretch with purple band x10x3 10 second hold

left shoulder is all bands right shoulder ISO holds.

Ice and oatmeal as I type.
4 inna row I am getting restless.


I know exactly where you are mentally with the rehab. You just want the calendar to jump ahead like three months or so. I was really religious about my shoulder rehab and followed the "rules" to a T because I was really afraid I'd pull out the anchors if I misbehaved. Took me a long time to feel "normal" again. Hang in there!


Supplementwise, I use an egg-based powder. Wanted to avoid any potential issues with dairy. Fairly bland flavor, can add about anything. Only problem, hard to find, had to scour just about every speciality store in the area.


Welcome, I look forward to seeing your progress. I think we get better by learning from others.


ksnap thanks for the advice. How long before you were able to squat? DL? Bench? after your shoulder surgery?
Cavalier, is there a brand you like? So much out there.
jjackrash Bio test stuff is good for sure the shipping is pricey though ( just received some Z12 my wife takes it I can't though as the directions call for an empty stomach I always eat )
Crippler 56 thanks for the welcome,shared experience is a boon. I live in the country and train alone for the most part so this is a benefit to me.


Wow, if you can find several brands of egg protein, you're doing pretty good. I prefer the Optimum Nutrition vanilla, it seems to have least amount of artificial junk in it, but really about any of them should be OK. If you don't have a shakerball container, get one. Just a few quick shakes and it's ready. Pretty convenient, which your kids should like.

And NEVER miss breakfast!!!

Some years back, I did some rehab for my scoliosis, which took my regular training offline for a while, but it was worth it. We feel your pain.


Hello and welcome...sorry so late to the party.

During my training I am always rehabbing something.