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Over 60, Doing Deadlifts


I would like to get the groups opinion on some advice I received from a trainer.

I am 60 and have been lifting off and on for about 10 years, the past two years I lift 3 times a week. My routine includes dead lifts, and squats. I do them twice a week. The past year I started increasing the weight I was lifting, and as I do I start having knee trouble, which means mild pain and some swelling in one knee or the other (usually not both). My max deadlift is 260.

When I get knee pain I stop, wait about two weeks for the knee to recover, and then start again at a lower weight (about 160). I do OK until I increase the weight over 220.

I thought my form must be the problem, so I spoke with a trainer. His response was that I should not be doing dead lifts and squats at all, that they are too risky to my knees and back. That is contrary to everything I have read, but I have to say I have not been able to solve the problem.

Any ideas about this advice? Should I stick to lower weight, or stop?


Firstly that trainer is a @#@$ moron and you should shoot him at the first chance you get, his attitude is shit and he is basically telling you to stop living and wait to die and I am not fine with that attitude.

Secondly you need to figure out why you are getting the pain. Especially at your age there might be a lot of muscular imbalance which needs to be addressed before you can lift weights that heavy

Thirdly you might just be limited to not exceeding that limit which might just be a reality but not as bad as it may sound.

Try and get a video of your form and have that assessed preferably by a professional physio.


Do you foam roll? What type of shoes are you wearing? Any history of knee injuries?




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rehanb_bl is spot on with his description of the trainer and his statement.

I will also second BBB's statement regarding the muscular imbalance causing instability at the knee and the possibility of degeneration of the menisci and cartilage. Especially at your age there is a high chance of degeneration. This does not mean that you can't do the exercies, but as BBB recommended, get your movement assessed by a competant biomch expert.


I am not sure what you mean by a foam roll. Do you mean on the bar when doing squats? Then yes.

I have no history of knee injury. I was a bicyclist for a long time before I got into free weights. I had strong legs and the upper body of a 12 year old before I started weight training. :slight_smile:

I wear running shoes when lifting that have good arch support.

My goals are to maintain muscle mass and general fitness, and also be able to run for many years to come, so want to protect my knees. Lifting a lot of weight is not a goal, so doing dead lifts with less is OK, so long as I am not causing some damage.

Thanks for the feedback, helpful and reassuring.


There's too much we don't know here to adaquately help you so I agree with the others that it may be best to find an outstanding physical therapist to assess your knees. Unfortunately, it may be faster for you to educate yourself and figure out for yourself what is best for you. It can be very hard and frustrating finding a decent therapist.

One thing I can tell you that will increase your chances of getting your knees healthy on your own is too ditch those running shoes when squatting & deadlifting. The arch support in them is likely to stress your IT Band and Piriformis and the heel is likely to stress the knees. Train barefoot, in socks, mockasins, Vibrams, Chucks or any other flats.


I really would try the no shoes

I thought my feet were reasonably stable but just slipped my shoes off and lifted in socks (commercial gym) one day

Amazing the difference in stability - ankles knees and hips - and you won't go back

You may have other issues but trainers just magnify everything thats wrong

And the problem with trainers just increases as you add weight