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View Full Version : Recovery between workouts for older lifters


Willson Doug
10-11-2012, 09:55 PM
I have a question about recovery between workouts for older lifters. I am 55 years old and lifted and competed back in the 1970ís while I was in high school. A little over a year ago I started lifting again and have already lifted in a masterís competition. It's so great to be doing this again after all of these years!

My workouts are about 1Ĺ hours long and I try to workout 3 times a week. I just donít seem to recover enough between workouts. At 3 times per week I start running out of gas and really get wore down. Iíve tried taking 2 days off between workouts but that feels like Iím not working out enough and not making headway. I should mention that I also catch all of my lifts in the bottom during my routine. I also do front or back squats every workout. So lots of leg work.

I am in very good general health, eat well and get lots of sleep. Iím going to try and refine my diet and Iíve been thinking about doing a little running to improve my cardio. Iíve also toyed with the idea of splitting my 1 Ĺ hour routine into 2x45minute routines. For example 45 min. Mon., 45 min. Tues., Wed. off.

If anybody has any ideas or if there are any other older lifters out there struggling with the same issues I would appreciate any input you have to offer. Thank you.

Tim Sprague
10-14-2012, 10:56 AM
Doug,

I'm a 53 year old Masters lifter and I'll weigh in with my observations, for what they're worth. Due to a number of factors, I believe training as you get older becomes more individualized. Let me explain. I'm always interested in reading about training methods of other masters lifters. I've noted some train near max, up to 5 - 6 times a week, others 2 - 3 times a week never exceeding 80 - 85% of max. There is no one right way to get results. Often times these people have found what works for them, and that is your goal too. Find what works for you. This isn't always easy to do and often involves a lot of trail and error. Just because someone else your age can train 5x a week at a high intensity, doesn't mean you can. Know what your body can handle. I've found that the worst thing is going too hard for too long and getting injured. That often results in missed training time and losing much of your hard fought gains. Time missed to injuries when you're young might be a couple of days, whereas, the same injury in your 40 - 50+, might take several weeks. In this regard, getting old sucks. Having said this, your body will adapt over time to heavier work loads. Just because you're having trouble recovering now from training 3x a week, doesn't mean you won't be able to get there at current intensities. My suggestion would be to keep training at 3 days a week but to dial the intensity back a little on one or two of the days, until your body adapts and then add a little more intensity. When in doubt, always do less. It's better to leave a workout with something left in the tank, than to have pushed it too far. Good luck.

Willson Doug
10-14-2012, 08:34 PM
Tim

Thanks for the reply. Itís nice communicating with other older lifters. I think Iíll try your suggestion. I'll attempt 3 times per week but dial back the intensity and increase as my body tells me.

I had a very intense 1 1/2 hour workout on Thurs., last week followed by an exhausting day at work on Fri.. Sat. and Sun. were busy but not physical days. I have had no gas in the tank since Fri. for a workout but tonight I finally feel like I am starting to regain my energy. I have tomorrow off so I will work out in the morning. I likely will have a good work out and it will likely be pretty intense but it will probably take me at least 2 days to recover. So if I dial it back a little maybe I can maintain more energy and be able to workout on Wed. If I don't dial back it'll be at least Thurs. before I am able to hit the gym again.

So you can see I have good workouts but too much time passes between them. It kind of boils down to high intensity less workouts per week or lower intensity and more workouts per week.

Blair Lowe
10-22-2012, 12:42 AM
Maybe think about switching squats to just twice a week. One front squat early/mid week in the week and back squats say on Friday or Saturday.

Doing a bit of exercise on off days, cardio, calesthenics, just bar drills with stick or bar might help recovery by getting blood througout the issues. The key thing is keeping it recovery and letting it turn into another workout.

Another mid 30's lifter and I were talking to a young guy in his young 20's and I remember how I was then. Invincible.

Now my warmups some days are slow compared to when I was 17 (half a lifetime ago) and literally just did our warmup run and hit the weights.