T Nation

SSP for Older Guy Making a Big Comeback

Hi Coach. Here’s my situation:

  1. 53 yrs old—will be 54 in August.
  2. Had 3 back surgeries in 2 years (last was in Jan 18)and couldn’t train consistently.
  3. Spent past 8 months getting the feel of things again and getting strength back.
  4. Want to start a program and bought all your books.SSP looks best to me, but you will know better.
  5. Deadlifting is out of the question, but I’ve done well with chest-supported rows. Can they substitute for the DL?
  6. I’ve got to go all machines for now and probably for the duration, but the university gym where I teach has a great assortment, including a pullover machine.
  7. I need to drop the 20-25 lbs I gained while inactive.
  8. Along with my strength training, I’ve been walking and riding a stationary bike.

Any suggestions for me with all my limitations? My main goal is to keep the strength I have and drop the weight.

I’m sorry for the length of this post, but I’m finally feeling good again after quite some time of being in pain and being so sedentary. This is, I think, a make or break time for me as I try to roll into older age as strong and lean as I can get. Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer!

First off, congrats on the comeback and getting back on the war horse.

Second, minor rant, I have no idea why so many people are obsessed with the deadlift. It’s a relatively sub-par lift overall for growth. And the only people who MUST do it are powerlifters.

So yes it’s perfectly fine to not do it and do chest supported rows.

I would choose movements where you have a great degree of stability for your back. Like leg presses over squats, and making sure not to allow any lumbar flexion at the bottom. The chest supported rows are good, as noted, and don’t do stuff like standing presses or really anything that’s going to possible put you in a precarious situation with posterior chain loading.

Thanks so much, Coach!

1 Like

I’m found the hack squat better than leg press for a bad back (I herniated two disks). I’ve been doing RDLs which have really improved my back but I’m only using 80kg at the moment so not earth shattering, but done slowly really have helped my back feel better.

Hope you manage to get back on it.

Thanks! I appreciate this.