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    joe joewattie's Avatar
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    An Old Man’s Lifting Routine

    An Old Man’s Lifting Routine

    My routine came about gradually through blunder and error.

    First off I’m old (75) with arthritis and an inventory of injuries. My priority was don’t get hurt so I decided to stay away from the free weights and stick with the old man stationary weight machines. I was convinced the support they offered would reduce the risk of injuries.

    I toyed with several split routines but decided on Full Body workouts three times a week. Just three days seemed manageable. Splits require four to six days and I figured that kind of commitment would just lead to failure. Besides, I could always change my mind later.

    Further, splits are designed for banging the muscles hard and thus provided longer rest/recovery times. I figured at my age I’m not going to bang anything hard enough that I’d need the extra recovery time. My new motto became bang ‘em less but bang ‘em more often.

    I identified ten basic body parts I wanted to hit. Just one exercise per part and five to seven sets per exercise. To save time I decided on super setting everything in PULL/push pairs. The pull gets to rest while the push is working and vice-versa. I say pull first because I noticed that pulls seemed to warm up my aging joints for the push.

    I then decided on ordering everything from “big” muscle down to “little” muscle order. The “big” muscles take more energy so it seemed reasonable to do them first … while I had the energy. The big muscles also burn more calories while at rest so I wanted to make sure I emphasized them. Further, they used to say (and I don’t know if that story has stood the test of time), that the big muscles kick up the testosterone.

    Ten exercises, ten body parts.

    Super Sets:
    • Hamstrings / Quadriceps (Seated Leg Curls / Seated Leg Extensions)
    • Upper Back / Chest (Seated Back Row / Seated Chest Press)
    • Trapezoids / Shoulders (Trap Pulls / Seated Shoulder Press)
    • Biceps / Triceps (Seated Bicep Curls / Seated Triceps Extensions)
    • Abdominals / Lower Back (Ab crunch machine / Back Raise)

    The first set is 20 to 25 repetitions. I know, it sounds crazy, but I’m old. It’s my way of checking things out. If the light weight / high rep hurts I know to skip that part for the day.
    • Second set is 15-ish (with more weight).
    • Third set is 10-ish (with more weight).
    • Then a few more sets at 10-ish (or 5-ish with more weight).

    So that’s ten exercises times about six sets each equals about 60 sets total. Takes about an hour and a half total.

    Now I’m a small boned ectomorph. (I know, we don’t believe in those classifications but it’s a good description.) Thin arms and legs are a family trait so some days I’ll augment arms and legs with a second set of exercises. Like for arms I’ll add a few sets of pull ups and dips. Or for legs a few sets of seated leg presses and calf raises.

    I have alternative machines for nearly everything so if something’s busy I have a backup. Sometimes I hit the backup machines just for a change. Hell, I even have a backup gym just for a change.

    Super sets really make the time pass quickly. Added benefit, about 15 minutes in I start catching a buzz, a euphoria sometimes known as “Runner’s High” which lasts a few hours into the day.
    Last edited by joewattie; 04-21-2022 at 01:57 AM.
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  2. #2
    temporary illusion supramax's Avatar
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    Whatever it is you're experiencing, it's not 'runners high'. I don't like your routine, at all, but it's a lot better than doing nothing. I recommend learning how to squat and deadlift properly as well as learning the snatch from the hang. Use light weights and explode. It does an old body good.

    Check out Feldengrais for stretching hints and the Original Strength site for how to properly do the Spiderman Crawl. That last one forwards and backwards will turn you into Superman.
    It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.
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    Crawling back under rock OldFartTom's Avatar
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    All of this is a total guess and assumption because you didn't explain your goals clearly. Plus as long as you are enjoying it and keeping active then you can tell me to go shove my opinions

    *IF* you are getting a runner's high then IMHO your weights are going too fast and you might get more weights benefit from having rests between sets and less of the super/giant sets.

    Then to make up for the lack of cardio by doing weights with more recovery, add some fast walking/swimming/jogging/team sports or whatever to your life, pick something you enjoy
    Faith in Jesus first and faith in squats second.
    Then other details will start to slot themselves into place.
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  4. #4
    joe joewattie's Avatar
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    Thank you for your reply. I appreciate it, I really do.

    Originally Posted by supramax View Post
    Whatever it is you're experiencing, it's not 'runners high'. I don't like your routine, at all, but it's a lot better than doing nothing. I recommend learning how to squat and deadlift properly as well as learning the snatch from the hang. Use light weights and explode. It does an old body good.
    I used to lift a little in my early thirties so that's like 40, 45 years ago. I loved the Olympic Style lifts, an excellent balance of strength, speed and athleticism. My favorite was a one armed snatch with an Olympic bar. I also loved Power Lifting. My dead lift was just a few pounds short of 4X body weight. I was actually getting ready to compete in a couple of local competitions but I got hit by a car and everything changed overnight.

    Over the years I tried training several times just to train and went with what I knew - free weights. And, within a coupla months, I'd always reinjure something. Last year I decided to try again but it was time to do something different thus ... the old man stationary weight machines. So far so good, no injuries.

    Originally Posted by supramax View Post
    Check out Feldengrais for stretching hints and the Original Strength site for how to properly do the Spiderman Crawl. That last one forwards and backwards will turn you into Superman.
    And something else I can't do. My right arm is shot. I can't even do one push up, or a plank, because of it.

    We all age differently. I'm not the only old geezer at the gyms I go to. There are a couple guys who could put your suggestions to work but many have moved on to the old man stationary machines for reasons similar to mine. Like you said, "... better than doing nothing". How I wish things were different :-(
    Last edited by joewattie; 04-21-2022 at 03:32 PM.
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    Originally Posted by joewattie View Post
    Thank you for your reply. I appreciate it, I really do.


    I used to lift a little in my early thirties so that's like 40, 45 years ago. I loved the Olympic Style lifts, an excellent balance of strength, speed and athleticism. My favorite was a one armed snatch with an Olympic bar. I also loved Power Lifting. My dead lift was just a few pounds short of 4X body weight. I was actually getting ready to compete in a couple of local competitions but I got hit by a car and everything changed overnight.

    Over the years I tried training several times just to train and went with what I knew - free weights. And, within a coupla months, I'd always reinjure something. Last year I decided to try again but it was time to do something different thus ... the old man stationary weight machines. So far so good, no injuries.


    And something else I can't do. My right arm is shot. I can't even do one push up, or a plank, because of it.

    We all age differently. I'm not the only old geezer at the gyms I go to. There are a couple guys who could put your suggestions to work but many of us have moved on to the old man stationary machines for reasons similar to mine. Like you said, "... better than doing nothing". How I wish things were different :-(
    Dude, you're 75. You don't have to hit the weights hard if it's not your thing. Eat sensibly, stay active, and enjoy life. Live long and prosper!
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    temporary illusion supramax's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by joewattie View Post
    Thank you for your reply. I appreciate it, I really do.


    I used to lift a little in my early thirties so that's like 40, 45 years ago. I loved the Olympic Style lifts, an excellent balance of strength, speed and athleticism. My favorite was a one armed snatch with an Olympic bar. I also loved Power Lifting. My dead lift was just a few pounds short of 4X body weight. I was actually getting ready to compete in a couple of local competitions but I got hit by a car and everything changed overnight.

    Over the years I tried training several times just to train and went with what I knew - free weights. And, within a coupla months, I'd always reinjure something. Last year I decided to try again but it was time to do something different thus ... the old man stationary weight machines. So far so good, no injuries.


    And something else I can't do. My right arm is shot. I can't even do one push up, or a plank, because of it.

    We all age differently. I'm not the only old geezer at the gyms I go to. There are a couple guys who could put your suggestions to work but many of us have moved on to the old man stationary machines for reasons similar to mine. Like you said, "... better than doing nothing". How I wish things were different :-(
    I feel for you. I truly do. I know that getting hit by a car can really **** you up. Been there. I can only recall one instance of getting hurt from weightlifting, though. All my other injuries came from doing heavy movements, usually forest related, while not paying attention to technique. I won't bore you with the details, but I've gone years and years without being able to lift my arms higher than parallel to the ground. I tell you true, doing the movements that we did when we were babies: crawling and squatting from the crawl and standing up from the squat rather than squatting down; doing the movements we did when we were babies... will heal you. Start small and slow. Baby steps.
    It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.
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  7. #7
    joe joewattie's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by OldFartTom View Post
    All of this is a total guess and assumption because you didn't explain your goals clearly. Plus as long as you are enjoying it and keeping active then you can tell me to go shove my opinions

    *IF* you are getting a runner's high then IMHO your weights are going too fast and you might get more weights benefit from having rests between sets and less of the super/giant sets.

    Then to make up for the lack of cardio by doing weights with more recovery, add some fast walking/swimming/jogging/team sports or whatever to your life, pick something you enjoy
    Quite the contrary. I appreciate your suggestions and opinions. Background? Last year I was having trouble going up and down stairs. Last year I'd put a toothbrush in my right hand and then I'd take my left hand and use it to raise my right hand to my mouth so I could brush my teeth.

    When I started at the gym I simply built a circuit of ten machines and did one set on each machine. Weight was low and rep count was crazy high. As I progressed to heavier weights and a more reasonable rep count of ten it hurt. If I did the stupid high rep count first then the heavier weights were just fine. So that's what got me started with multiple sets and time constraints led me to the super sets with agonistic pairs.

    The "runners' high" or whatever it is is kinda fun. But you are right, if I took a little more rest I could do more. Sometimes as I'm moving between stations someone will stop me to say, "Hi". Just that little extra pause lets me pound out a couple more reps.

    Cardio. The past year has been good to me and now that I can do more I plan on doing more. Walks. Cut my own grass.

    Thanks again for taking the time.
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    joe joewattie's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by supramax View Post
    I feel for you. I truly do. I know that getting hit by a car can really **** you up. Been there. I can only recall one instance of getting hurt from weightlifting, though. All my other injuries came from doing heavy movements, usually forest related, while not paying attention to technique. I won't bore you with the details, but I've gone years and years without being able to lift my arms higher than parallel to the ground. I tell you true, doing the movements that we did when we were babies: crawling and squatting from the crawl and standing up from the squat rather than squatting down; doing the movements we did when we were babies... will heal you. Start small and slow. Baby steps.
    And I am equally sorry to hear about your setbacks. And I agree with you, "Start small and slow. Baby steps". I just started with different baby steps (actually, some of them were similar).

    One of my baby steps was on the seated shoulder press machine. I'd take my left hand and use it to pick up my right and place it on the right handle. Then I'd use my left arm to push the plates up while the right arm went along for the free ride. Overtime the right arm started participating a little, e.g., I could actually lift a little more with both arms than I could with just my left.
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    I think full body workouts 3 times a week for a senior age is excellent, good enough exercise selection and correct order to be doing them in.
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    Originally Posted by joewattie View Post
    And I am equally sorry to hear about your setbacks. And I agree with you, "Start small and slow. Baby steps". I just started with different baby steps (actually, some of them were similar).

    One of my baby steps was on the seated shoulder press machine. I'd take my left hand and use it to pick up my right and place it on the right handle. Then I'd use my left arm to push the plates up while the right arm went along for the free ride. Overtime the right arm started participating a little, e.g., I could actually lift a little more with both arms than I could with just my left.
    Smart way to involve. The best thing I've ever come across for shoulder health and rehab is this:
    https://www.t-nation.com/training/on...oulder-health/
    I use a 5 band chest expander starting with 2 bands and ending with all five for my modified routine.

    Don't forget about flexibilty (sideways, forwards and backwards and twisting) and mobility work (Asian squats and crawling).
    It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.
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    Originally Posted by joewattie View Post
    An Old Man’s Lifting Routine

    My routine came about gradually through blunder and error.

    First off I’m old (75) with arthritis and an inventory of injuries. My priority was don’t get hurt so I decided to stay away from the free weights and stick with the old man stationary weight machines. I was convinced the support they offered would reduce the risk of injuries.

    ...

    Now I’m a small boned ectomorph. (I know, we don’t believe in those classifications but it’s a good description.) Thin arms and legs are a family trait so some days I’ll augment arms and legs with a second set of exercises.
    FYI - ecto-, endo-, mesomorph somatotype classifications are still used in scientific literature, so don't worry about what "bros" think about it. It's actually a useful classification.
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