T Nation

Training Longevity

I’ve been thinking lately about the best and worst things to do for training longevity. Like what changes are prudent as you get older and what younger guys should probably avoid now to prevent problems down the road.

Dan John mentioned some things in the “Joint Pain” thread. Anyone else have thoughts on this?

[quote]" A lot of guys younger than me (I’m 47), came up with lots of leg extensions and leg presses and their knees took a terrible sheering force that didn’t “look” bad vis-a-vis squats, but turned out to be awful long term. So, the first question…when it comes to knees…that I usually ask is “Posterior Chain?”

Maybe deadlift and deadlift variations might be a better thing for you to consider rather than what you are now doing. I know you didn’t post anything, but the idea is worthy of consideration. Next, you might have to go to my secret…make that top secret…masters training idea for legs (Deadlifts a couple days a week and hill sprints/runs ((maybe for only two or three reps)) twice a week.

As for elbows, a lot of us older guys who added chin up/pullups found that our elbows were killing us. The advice I was told was to ignore it for a while. By God…it worked. Feels fine now. Now, if we were talking about Triceps Kickbacks, again maybe the forces…the cutting forces…would be too much.

I always like to look at exercise selection first on joint pain. Now, if you were in a car accident…I can see that would be different. But, over time, exercise selection can be as big a factor as anything else.

I think there is a hit list of bad ideas for masters:

  1. Bench Presses
  2. Leg Extension and Leg Presses (Hell, even Clarence Bass doesn’t seem to do them any more!)
  3. Isolation or Machine exercises for the arms…too easy to do too much.
  4. Anything that involves a Swis Ball, a machine and spandex.

Just some random thoughts…"[/quote]

Stretch more, both now and as a youngster.

If you notice,Dan John mentioned the Bench Press as one of the exercises that could give you potential trouble as you age.

I think this is a matter of accumulated damage to the entire shoulder girdle from loading the shoulder with heavy weight and placing it in a very unnatural position, as the Bench Press does. However, since it is a favorite movement of most people this is an unpopular view to take.

Some people have the proper build to perform this movement (short arms barrel chest) others will eventually in their 30’s and 40’s will suffer shoulder problems.

re bench press:

what about the wisdom of doing perhaps 2 reps of a rowing type movement for each rep of bench?
I fear too many people don’t do any, or hardly any.

Yeah, I’m not built for benching either. I kind of like the shortened range of motion benching stuff though. Close grip Pin presses, floor presses, dumbbells with bells touching the shoulders at the bottom to limit the ROM.

The older power lifters that manage to bench beyond their fifties always seem to be the barrel-chested types.

Here would be my list. Of course, I ignored these for most of my training life.
1.Stetch: I don’t care it helps flexibility or not. It helps my recovery, and makes me “feel” better. I try to do Ian King’s 10 minute routine every night.

2.Muscular balance/imbalance: You can’t do just bench presses, curls and leg extensions and expect NOT to have injuries. I think a training log can help a lot here. However, I’ll bet that rowing, posterior chain, and rotator cuff would cover most trainees. I haven’t seen many athletes with overdeveloped posterior chains. Heck, even the Westside guys continue prioritize it after years of making it job one.

  1. Building in practical diversions (ie Fun) There are so many other ways to train (kettle bells, strongman, new lifts). I think it keeps the mind and body fresher and helps avoid those repeated patterns that can cause problems long term

4.Training through an injury, especially if a repeat injury. Hey, your body is telling you something.

Dan also talks a lot about the body being “one-piece” which is so true. Most knee injuries are the result of a chain of accomodations made by the body that are passed on to the knee (hip, low back, etc). The knee is a simple joint, and the pain shows up there but it is not the source of the problem.

By the way, this is a really good topic. I wish I had access to this kind of discussion 20 years ago.

Yeah, I need to stretch more. I usually don’t even think about it unless I’m really tight or injured.

When I do, PNF works best for me; like magic.

Look at balance. Every lift should be balanced by an antagonist movement (ie bench/row, squat/dead, press/pull, etc…).

Train with rotator cuff exercises.

Change up the exercise selection. One can get very strong in one position but move the hand or foot placement and you could be in trouble.

Warm up properly.

Treat all lifts carefully - no sloppy form. Find out what is the correct form even if it cost money. Find out if there are any cautions/common mistakes for lifts you do. Lift smarter.

Look at recovery. There is a lot of stuff that should be done including streching.