Starting at Middle Age (Pt 1)

Create: 06/26/2010 - 01:30
Starting at Middle Age. A Few Tips for the Beginning Master Lifter. By William Duncan. You’re middle-aged and you’re curious about powerlifting; now what? Beside assessing how your new interest in powerlifting overlaps with the equipment and facilities where you’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 you’re all about the numbers, that implies that you’ll be wanting to buy supportive suits and bench shirts, wraps, belts, and shoes. It also means that there are some federations you’re likely to gravitate toward rather than others. My next tip – start at the beginning. I did my first meet in the 80’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 “raw,” single-ply, and “multi-ply.” I’ve used polyester, denim; I’ve lifted in a $300 suit and a t-shirt and jeans. In the end, I’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 “powerlifting” (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 ‘clean’ (healthy, balanced, and calorie wise), you can probably do without a lot of the supplements out there. I’ve read a lot and talked to trustworthy individuals, and I’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 you’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 you’re going to be a powerlifter. What if you’re going to be a bench press specialist? Do ‘em all! Just be smart. There is no shortage of information on the Web by this guy or that gal and what they do. Don’t be a sheep! Think about your situation and choose programs accordingly. I’m a 50 year old super heavyweight. I’m not going to be doing a program that a 198’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 – these days, powerlifters are including strongman movement, Olympic lifts, chains, bands, boards, and all kinds of stuff. I’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 I’ll get to work on it. The late Jim Croce admonished us “Don’t tug on Superman’s cape, you don’t spit into the wind…” and yet that’s just what I’m about to do – talk sets and reps (i.e. “routines). I’m very interactive (no, I’m not a video game – more of a situational comedy). As long as I’ve been lifting, I’ve asked questions. I’m not a gym mullet, although I probably was at one time. At the same time, I’m not a total dolt; there’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. That’s me. Next Saturday we will talk about sets and reps.


Submitted by VinceS on
It is true how much training changes as you get older. Recovery and preventing injuries seem to play more into training than just going at it without much thought like when you're younger. I am 52 myself and it's amazing how much my own training has evolved just in the past 2-3 years. I used to be able to do a Westside type workout just even 4 years ago. Now, I can only devote one day to heavy bench and another to heavy squat/deadlift and can deadlift only once every 2-3 weeks. Even my assistance workouts have changed where I don't even use a barbell. Instead, I do kettlebell work to take the place of DE/rep training. Much easier on my body. Speaking of nutrition. Because of personal circumstances, I have been unable to utilize the nutritional supplementation that I had been using. I have not used creatine in probably 2 years, and I use a protein supplement that gives me only about an extra 25-50g/day. So, even with with my limited nutritional capabilities at this point, I am still progressing.

Submitted by Johnny D on
Looking forward to this series. I began 2 years ago at age 62. Yesterday posted my best 3 lift total of 512.5 kg (1,129,9 pounds), including a 217.5/479.5 deadlift. For me best results come from low rep, high volume. As the only competitor at my gym I depend on you kind folks on-line foe ideas. Johnny D