Create: 06/26/2010 - 01:30
Starting at Middle Age. A Few Tips for the Beginning Master Lifter. By William Duncan. Youâ€™re middle-aged and youâ€™re curious about powerlifting; now what? Beside assessing how your new interest in powerlifting overlaps with the equipment and facilities where youâ€™re currently working out and where you can get your questions answered, The next question would be what you want to accomplish? Do you want to place well at local meets? Set state, national, and world records? Do you want to squat 1000 pounds? bench 800 pounds? deadlift 900? Identify reasonable goals to accomplish over the next four, eight, and twelve months? If youâ€™re all about the numbers, that implies that youâ€™ll be wanting to buy supportive suits and bench shirts, wraps, belts, and shoes. It also means that there are some federations youâ€™re likely to gravitate toward rather than others. My next tip â€“ start at the beginning. I did my first meet in the 80â€™s in a borrowed wrestling singlet. I had one of those leather belts from one of the retail outlets. That was it. Back in those days, Marathon was the most common suit, so I picked one up (plus knee wraps) for $40-$50. I have lifted â€œraw,â€ single-ply, and â€œmulti-ply.â€ Iâ€™ve used polyester, denim; Iâ€™ve lifted in a $300 suit and a t-shirt and jeans. In the end, Iâ€™ve gone back to a singlet a belt, a pair of wraps, and a pair of knee sleeves. With that equipment, I can lift raw or single-ply in any of the organizations operating in my area. In the last year, I have lifted in ADFPF, APA, USAPL, and non-sanctioned meets. One of my favorites is the state games â€œpowerliftingâ€ (push-pull) event. What about you? Your goals and your pocketbook will determine where you lift to some extent. Another place your wallet matters is what you eat. Honestly, if you eat â€˜cleanâ€™ (healthy, balanced, and calorie wise), you can probably do without a lot of the supplements out there. Iâ€™ve read a lot and talked to trustworthy individuals, and Iâ€™d say the most common supplement lifters consume (other than vitamins) is protein. Beyond protein, creatine (in its various forms) is popular. Caution needs to be exercised with supplements because most increase the load on renal production (salts and metabolic byproducts). There have been a number of high profile cases in which athletes have developed illnesses or succumbed while using supplements. Most of those involved a combination of large doses of supplements, high temperatures, and inadequate hydration. So youâ€™ve set goals, chosen your lifting wardrobe, and have started monitoring your intake of food and supplements, what about training frequency and intensity? I would say that your age and bodyweight, as well as previous exposure to exercise, will influence how often you lift and what number and type of exercises you do. It only makes sense that you include squats, bench presses, and deadlifts in your training if youâ€™re going to be a powerlifter. What if youâ€™re going to be a bench press specialist? Do â€˜em all! Just be smart. There is no shortage of information on the Web by this guy or that gal and what they do. Donâ€™t be a sheep! Think about your situation and choose programs accordingly. Iâ€™m a 50 year old super heavyweight. Iâ€™m not going to be doing a program that a 198â€™er says got him 100 pounds on his squat. On the other hand, I would read stuff that Wade Johnson and Louie Simmons have written. Be flexible, but be smart. One last thing â€“ these days, powerlifters are including strongman movement, Olympic lifts, chains, bands, boards, and all kinds of stuff. Iâ€™d recommend that you hold off a few months on that stuff. Get a solid foundation of general conditioning and strength before you go nuts, but I have used some of this stuff and really like what it has done to help my lifting. If you want my opinion on something, or have a question (or a suggestion for another piece), just post on the site and Iâ€™ll get to work on it. The late Jim Croce admonished us â€œDonâ€™t tug on Supermanâ€™s cape, you donâ€™t spit into the windâ€¦â€ and yet thatâ€™s just what Iâ€™m about to do â€“ talk sets and reps (i.e. â€œroutines). Iâ€™m very interactive (no, Iâ€™m not a video game â€“ more of a situational comedy). As long as Iâ€™ve been lifting, Iâ€™ve asked questions. Iâ€™m not a gym mullet, although I probably was at one time. At the same time, Iâ€™m not a total dolt; thereâ€™s something going on between my ears. I have always asked questions, sought advice, considered carefully how the advice fits my situation, and chosen a path to follow. Thatâ€™s me. Next Saturday we will talk about sets and reps.