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Time to Back Off? WSJ Article


What do you think? Seems about right to me. High intensity and heavy weights are only good for short periods anymore, then I'm ready to leave the gym. And I need more recovery as the years go by.

My new trainer is emphasizing mobility/flexibilty/balance. I agree with her, it is somethng I need.

Please mention your age if you post, I'm 57.


I am 46. mobility/flexibility/balance is very important, but so is strength. As we get older, the intensity will lessen, and we will need more days for recovery. But I think strength is still very important. I can't imagine not occasionally going for a new PR. On the other hand, the guy that wrote that article has a bad ticker-hose, and the doc told him specifically not to get over 120 bpm. unless you have some kind of bad health problem, where the Dr says absolutely not, I would always also train for strength. my $0.02
old lardass


I don't know. Stallone still looks pretty good at 62: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CBv3KuNJ7s



The body's muscle tissue is it's store of health. The immune system utilizes glutamine to do it's job and nearly all of it that is not used by the intestines is stored in the muscles. You'll weather illness better with more muscle mass and reasonable recovery measures, like intermittent deloads, sleep and simply eating enough. I agree with Mr. oily rags above - keep up the strength training.


It seems to me that the article was really talking about elite athletes.
That's not me. I'm so clumsy, I trip over the painted lines in the parking
lot. I can imagine that most elites have to slow down some as they age.
But even at their slowest, they're going to be head-and-shoulders above
the rest of us ordinary folks.

Most guys go to the gym and they waste their time. They don't track their
progress. They don't do the hard exercises: deadlifts, squats, weighted
pull-ups, sled drags and pushes, etc. They don't train with intensity.
They don't eat enough and what they do eat is junk.

I'm one of the ordinary gym-rats. I still do those hard exercises.
I still choke down the tuna & broccoli and the oatmeal and the protein
shakes. I still skip the donuts and the bacon and the quarterpounders.

And the balding, grey-haired, nearsighted engineer geek is bigger and
stronger than the kids half his age.

I'll be 50 this Friday.
I can back off when I'm dead.

  1. Ditto Badbrass. Trying to eat right and train hard. I'll never go out and block a linebacker, but I like the training it takes to do that.

I can back off when I can't go no more!


I agree with badbrass. I cant go out and pancake a back side linebacker. That dont mean I cant train like I can.

I'm 48


Im 37 but do need to "back off"

If left to my own devices Ill push too much, too hard, and that impacts recovery.
I see no reason not to employ both intensity and the mobility,flexibility,balance portion.

I am a big pusher of mobility- cause once it is gone its hard to get back.
I try to train in a fashion that lets me both be intense and do some preventative maintenance
at the same time. Its not hard to integrate the two concepts.

For all the time spent under the bar, make sure you are actively working on imbalances,
spending some time on mobility, and recovery.

I have also become a fan of programmed deloads, every three weeks. Still train but at a lower intensity
to give the body time to regroup. The Deload has changed how I train.



I'm 4 weeks from 60. What I do is lift heavy on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. On Sunday, Monday,Wednesday and Saturday i do either 4 miles of walking, jump rope or do an hour of yoga. I like to mix it up so my body doesn't get use to one thing.I take Friday off. The others things that are just important is proper diet and rest. So far all this has kept me very healthy and hopefully keeps me that way as I age more and more each year.


I'm 40. I took my lifetime deload during my 30s. Now I am rested and good to go.


I guess I just don't know any better at age 54. The article looks to be aimed at marathoners and triathletes, we all know how much they push the limits.

I lift heavy, rarely rest unless I'm sick or life gets in the way. I've been back at it for exactly 8 months now. I load up the weight and always look to add more as I get stronger. I really have no problem with recovery and lift 3 or 4 times a week. I also do 1.5 to 2 hours of cardio. I do get a case of the DOMS now and then, that's what they sell Aleve for.

I should sit with a personal trainer and work on my flexibility, that's one area I need some help with.



Wasn't Stallone busted in Japan with growth hormone and other non-scripted pharmaceuticals? I'm guessing he has the best of the best when it comes to training, plus the time to do it. It is his stock in trade, after all. He's really more of a pro than an amateur like most of us.

I agree with those who believe strength and muscle mass contribute to good health. It's just getting a little more difficult for me to keep up the intensity and I wonder if continuing in that vein is going to be fruitful for the long haul. Setting PRs has been one of my main motivators but I'm beginning to wonder if I need a new gym paradigm.


Don't compare apples to oranges here. The article is referring to a different type training than what you refer to and it's one that is frequently targeted here as questionable to long term health (distance running etc.). Repetitive use injury is nearly synonymous with this type of exercise. If long distance running is your thing, you will almost certainly have problems with your joints as well as other problems.

Lifting heavy and with intensity may well require you to take longer recovery times as you age but there doesn't seem to be much evidence supporting some people's claims that it's "bad" for your health with the possible exceptions related to previous injuries or other issues. Just look at Joe Defranco's dad. He's a beast in the gym and is now in his 60s with a lifetime of heavy training. There are also the genetic caveats in play but if you don't have underlying health issues don't shy away from pushing yourself in the gym. If you need longer recovery times so be it. Dan John talks some about how he has adapted his training over the years as he has matured.

Kmcnyc's suggestions to deload frequently is a good place to start if your getting run down. I've started incorporating the deload into my program and recently benched my lifetime best at 46 and did it for a triple a month later. This after 2 spine surgeries and both shoulders having been surgically repaired in the last few years! Keep working, be patient and good luck!
Mobility stuff is good. "Magnificent Mobilty" program by Cressey and Robertson has been great for both my wife and myself. Highly recommended!


Hijack on:

About your avatar, Turtello, you an engineer or from the Harbor? My great grandad sat and watched that bridge come down live from the harbor side, and he also walked the cat walks on the new one before the road was finished on the new one. Attached is a pic of my dad and boy from my sister's house after they added on the most recent one from the Tacoma side.




Dammit, Hel - you talk too much. Get to the point.


Someone should tell Jack Lalanne how dangerous it was then when he, handcuffed and shackled, swam 1.5 miles while towing 70 boats with 70 people from the Queen's Way Bridge in the Long Beach Harbor to the Queen Mary.

At age 70.

Someone should call him and tell him how bad that was for him.


Mark Allen in his prime.


Joe D's old man.


I do a 4 day split and am hitting weights harder,heavier, and training smarter than I did 20 years ago.(one of those-if I knew then what I know now)
2 days a week I also box
I look better than most of the 20 year olds who make the gym a social gathering spot.

screw backing off, screw getting old