I’m 44 years old and am making one last run at a 400lb bench press. It’s been years since I’ve bulked up and things are moving along, but I don’t recover like I used to and recently wrenched my back.
Any tips on what I can do to stay injury free?
I’m in this boat, as I’m about the same age and suffer from the same age-related decline as you do. It’s no fun getting older, but that doesn’t mean we have to settle for less than impressive feats of strength.
I’m going to give it to you straight: There will come a time when heavy benching, deadlifting and squatting become problematic. It’s not impossible, but confronting it will be necessary to stay healthy, strong and injury free in our later years. The following tips will help you achieve that…
1.) Give equal attention to pre-hab, re-hab and active recovery days vs. the weights.
2.) Incorporate Bodyweight training into your routine
3.) Skew your supplementation to prevention, vs performance enhancement
4.) Start seeing a chiropractor regularly
5.) Get on HRT
A bit more now, about each. It pays dues to have one active recovery day for every session with the weights. When we were younger, we didn’t need to even think about this. Youth was a hell of a drug. At this stage of the game, it’s prudent to perform recovery workouts in between weight training sessions. These can take the form of sled dragging, HIIT cardio, foam rolling and the like. Just do SOMEthing that improves blood flow, without the muscle damage associated with lifting weights.
Next, you should gradually add more and more BW training into the mix. This was a new lease on life for me, and it’ll profoundly benefit you too. You may not be able to bench 400lbs at age 60, but you damn sure could do one arm pushups. Pretty cool IMO…Quality reads in this category include Brooks Kubicks Dinosaur bodyweight training and Convict Conditioning by Paul Wade. Look to devote at least one day a week to bodyweight work, no less.
You’d also be wise to skew your supplementation to prevention, vs. performance enhancement. You can’t gain if you can’t train, and many are in this boat. Quality products include GLC-2000, Actistatin, SuperCissus, Curcumin and high dose fish oil. Many will balk at this, given they don’t have any injuries, or prefer to put their money toward test boosters or similar products. Big mistake.
The joints, tendons, ligaments and other soft tissues incur a tremendous amount of wear and tear from decades under the iron. This damage often goes un-noticed until something “gives”. Start nourishing your joints today with compounds like glucosamine/chondroitin, Hyloraunic Acid and layer in anti-inflammatories such as Curcumin and CIssus. Pays dues down the line.
You should also start seeing a chiropractor regularly, whether you’re in pain or not. Fact of the matter is proper spinal alignment is incredibly important. Everything from your heartbeat to your ability to contract muscle is regulated by the CNS. The spine is the highway that message runs though. A lifetime of heavy squatting, deadlifting and even desk work causes spinal mis-alignment.
If you use a mouse with your dominant hand, stand in front of a mirror. Most people will observe their shoulder drooping due to using the mouse for hours on end. Most people’s palms will also face backward, when their ams hang by their side. Don’t be like “most people”. Each is indicative of a shoulder imbalance, and regular adjustments help…
Last but not least, get your testosterone levels checked. There’s an epidemic of andropause in this country, and it’s only now getting the attention it deserves. A combination of age, stress and environment estrogens has conspired to put men’s test levels in the cellar. Work with your Dr. to get into the optimal range.