View Single Post
Old 06-03-2009, 07:00 PM   #1
Emily Mattes
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 727
Default Programming for an older, inflexible beginner

I'm giving a beginning lifter some help with form and getting into basic strength work. Today I walked him through the squat, deadlift, military press, barbell row, and bench press. He's in his mid-50s and has some major flexibility/mobility issues across his shoulders and chest, along with tight hamstrings and glutes that cause some major butt-winking. It isn't possible for him to keep a flat or any sort of lordotic arch in the rows, squat, or deadlift. If he does an overhead press from the front his arms straighten out about 30 degrees in front of his head. He does look better with behind-the-neck presses, however. Difficulties arose not from the weights themselves (didn't use anything greater than 65#), but from keeping everything tight and the challenges to flexibility.

So I'm trying to figure out a good program for him. The complicating factor is that I can't be with him for all of his workouts, so I need something that he can do on his own. Originally I was thinking SS, with barbell rows subbed for power cleans as I don't think I will be able to make the commitment to teaching him power cleans right now. Emphasis will be on form, not weight, of course, and extra flexiblity/mobility work. I was also thinking of subbing in the behind-the-neck press rather than in the front, as that's the only press we tried where he was able to keep a vertical path with the bar. Again, emphasis especially on that will be on form and not weight, and I'll be encouraging him to take things slowly until he's flexible to get everything right.

Program would look like this (credit goes here).

Workout A
3x5 Squat
3x5 Bench Press
1x5 Deadlift
2x5-8 assisted dips

Workout B
3x5 Squat
3x5 Standing behind-the-neck press
3x5 Bent-over rows
2x5-8 assisted pull-ups

Three days a week, alternating over a two-week period A-B-A/B-A-B in typical SS style. I'm leaving cardio up to him, he does some bike riding here and there and I encouraged him to get off the elliptical and onto the rower as he doesn't suffer from knee or joint problems.

Is this a good idea? Should I be doing a different program? I don't have a lot of experience training people, especially rote beginners, so I want to make sure I don't totally screw him up or lead him to injury.
Emily Mattes is offline   Reply With Quote