Getting Under the Bar

Back in my teens and early 20’s I used to lift weights. By lifting weights I mean I did bench press and arm curls. Never bothered with squats, dead lifts, or other types of lifts. So you can say I never really lifted weights. Now I’m 45 and doing lifting, presses, squats, dead lifts, bench press, more squats, etc. Why at 45 do something like this?

The why in a nutshell is I want to improve my strength, which means I want to get stronger. I’m not looking to be a powerlifter or do any type of competition, this is to address in area of my fitness where I’ve noticed a weakness (no pun intended). So I went and got a copy of Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe and Lon Kilgore, read through it, and decided to hit it. Here are some observations.

First, not in my 20’s anymore (duh). Currently I can’t bench press as much as I did 20+ years ago. No big surprise, muscles ain’t going to stay big and strong by themselves. Nor is my recovery time as good as it used to be. I knew this one just from simple injuries like spraining an ankle. My body needs more time to recover.

Second, like all goals I need to keep mine realistic. This goes right in hand with my first observation. As Mark Rippetoe said:

“Testosterone levels peak in our mid-twenties, hold relatively steady for another decade, and then begin to fall like women’s clothes at the kinds of parties we don’t get invited to any more.”

My strength will go up, just not as fast as it would have in my 20’s. This means I’ve been tweaking my programming. I’ll still be increasing the weights on the lifts every workout, just not as much as I was hoping to increase them.

Last reason is I want to make sure I’m functional into my old age. My son will argue I’m already old but I can still kick his butt. As we get older we do tend to get weaker. I can handle losing how much I can max for a squat, but as long as I can still squat with weight on my back then life should be doing pretty good.

So for now I’ll keep following the principles outlined in Starting Strength, maybe later after linear progression has stopped I’ll look at going to the 5-3-1 program. Plus I’ll still keep up my Crossfit style High Intensity Interval Training. You are never too old to start.

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