T Nation

Weakness in Certain Movements as I Get Older


In my pursuit of body comp and strength, I have come to realize that I also need to address some mobility issues in various movements that would add to my overall physical condition.
At 55, there should be no reason why I should not be able to perform many movements that I easily did many years ago. Albeit at a higher level of performance or intensity.
So, Here's my "Bucket List" so to speak.

Dips- currently can barely do 1 full rom(hands to armpits)

Pull ups-cant do 1

Cleans- wrist, elbow mobility creates issues with racking the bar- i've been working on this, and it is getting better and better every time. my other issue with the cleans is the "squat catch". I've mostly done power cleans from hang with a 1/4 squat catch when using heavy weights, so i actually have limited experience with the squat catch portion.

Front Squats -(f I rack the Bar)same issue as clean. If I use straps I can Front Squat until the weight gets real heavy, and my biceps start to cramp up.

Overhead Squat--Realistically this is New to me, since most of the the snatches I did 25 years ago were "split snatch". I have been practicing this some without any weights and today I managed a couple with the bar and off the bench.

With regards to the overhead, Shoulder mobility is such that i can hold the bar overhead with arms behind my ears and bi's pointing towards the ceiling "fairly" well. The issue comes when squatting, my upper torso leans forward like a back squat, and hence the bar is not over my "center/pillar" of strength.

Regarding an issue that i had with abs earlier in the season, you had told me to "just do some every day". That worked wonderfully. I'm guessing that i could do the same for most, or all of the above as part of my "warmups", and it should work out fine.

Any comments, clarifications, or suggestions are truly appreciated.


Buy a set of jumpstretch bands (average, light, mini would do) and do assisted dips and pull-ups daily at the end of the workout. Do 30 total reps in whatever sets you need to do the job. When you can do the 30 in 2 sets, drop a band size.

You'll have a hard time doing full squat cleans as long as you cannot rack the barbell on your shoulders, with the elbows fairly high. So work on that. At the end of every power clean repetition, lift the elbows up as high as you can and hold 3-5 seconds.

You'll also need deep front squat mobility the two limiting factors are normally the hip flexors and the thoracic spine. Practice paused front squats focusing on keeping the torso as upright as possible in the bottom position (almost try to fall backwards) and keeping the lower back arched.

When you can do that comfortably, you can practice full cleans.

Start with drop cleans: place the bar in the hip crease, bend the knees slightly but keep the torso upright. Quickly extend the legs (do not using the lower back... the torso remains at the same angle throughout) and as soon as you extend the legs, drop down into a full squat. Do not wait between the extension and the squat, go from one to the other as fast as possible. Once you get fairly comfortable, think "what is the lowest bar height I can have and still catch it, and go for that)... once you are good, perform the same drill from the hang (knee high)... you'll have to bring the bar from the knees to the hips/upper thigh while maintaining the same knee angle (think about sliding the knees under the bar as you extend the torso back tp the upright position), as soon as the torso is upright, extend the legs and drop to the squat position.

When you are good at this drill, go from the floor.

Do not use straps, work on mobility and perfect position especially if you plan on doing full squat cleans.

A front squat is not a back squat with the bar held in front. In the front squat you go down in a straighter line, you don't sit back, you bring your butt between your heels focusing on keeping the torso as upright as possible.

You can actually start with overhead split squats, but focusing on keeping the bar behind your ears... actually do a long and deep lunge to really stretch the hip flexors since hip flexor tightness is one of the main causes of not being able to do overhead squats. After a few sessions do your sets this way:

Overhead lunge right leg
Overhead lunge left leg
Overhead squat
Overhead lunge right leg
Overhead lunge left leg
Overhead squat

That is one set (6 total reps)


Wow! This is great stuff! I cannot thank you enough! Very doable and realistic!
One of the many important things I have learned from you is "Patience and Perseverance" are, as important, or maybe even more important than "pushing hard".
AND Will produce Results!

Dips and Pullups after the workout.
the Clean, Front Squat, and Overhead, i can probably do some every day as part of my warmup?
and incorporate into the actual sessions of those movements?

I am currently doing some already in my warmups, along with a few jumps, and situps. Honestly, it has helped my sessions a lot. I'm more flexible and more activated before i even touch a plate.


re: pullups with bands. i saw videos of people using 1 or 2 bands.
is there a recommended preference?


Use one band.

For pull ups use one band attached like in the picture I took. Put a bench about half a yard on the outside, stand on the bench, put one foot inside the loop of the band (not both) than take the pull-up position. When you are done, put the free foot back on the bench, take the other foot out of the loop and step down.

For dips (sorry I don't have a dip station other than rings at home) put one end of the band around each handle on the dip station and put either your knees or feet on the hanging band... the band will provide more help when the feet are on the band (bigger stretch) so you can use that for progression.


Good stuff!!
I gotta save some of my Plazma for the 30 dips and 30 pullups portion of the workout..
or get a bigger bottle..

by the way. You're right about bicep work being boring. Did some today. I felt like it was a waste of time.
Enjoy your weekend


There is a bicep movement that I've been having tremendous fun on recently...

Basically ring curl variations. Adjusting grip (false vs. normal), wrist angle, body's angle with respect to floor, etc. you can create some tremendous contractions and scale intensity. Easy on my joints too and seems to increase curling strength rapidly (when retesting on barbell/DB's)


honestly, i dont foresee myself doing that kind of stuff. i think when i was in high school i put my hands on the rings once.
and as a thrower, we never did bicep work.
over the last few months, the only bi exercise that i actually liked are the 1 and 1/2 dbell curls. they give me a wicked pump.


bands are ordered. did some of everything else today.. really awesome!
I cant remember the last time I had so much fun working with just the bar!
I must have hit that "overhead slot" position today, because it was like holding nothing!
Weird, the bar just sat there. No tension on any muscles at all. In fact, it was seemed easier with the bar and some weight, than without the bar.
Does this make any sense?


@any and all.
Problems with the Band Assisted Pullups.

  1. the black band is not enough, so i used the black and the green. Maybe i should get the next size

  2. I am 6'4". the pullup bars i can easily reach while flat footed, so I found i can use the rack. Square bars to hold I do not think matters.

  3. I cant find something high enough for me to stand on so i can get my foot in the band. The bands are not long enough i guess.
    Today, I used a seat, then climbed on top of the pins in the rack. cool.
    BUT, when i went to do another set, my foot slipped on the pin, and I fell . I grabbed the rack with my arm and saved myself from some disgraceful injury.

  4. My body runs up and down the band and leaves tire track on my shirt as it creates a "rash type" irritation.

any suggestions.