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Posted: 2/15/2012 3:03:23 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/15/2012 3:03:52 PM EDT by wmounts]
Hello, all,



I'm looking for some advice.  



First, the specs:  Age = 55++ (56 in about two weeks), height = 6'1",
weight = 180 (I've developed a bit of a stomach), body fat as measured
at a gym is ~ 17%, very bad back, extremely poor flexibility.  In the
past, I've been a fencer (ACC regular season Epee champion in the '70s;
for one brief shining moment I was nationally ranked), a boxer, and a
kick-boxer.  
I'm a USPSA and 3gun competitor, as well as an avid fisherman (saltwater/ freshwater, spinning/fly).
Goals: get back to a lean configuration, correct my complete lack of
strength, mobility, and flexibility, and enhance my endurance and speed
for shooting competitions and long days/weeks of outdoor activity.
Over the last few months, I've been weight-lifting via various machines a
few times per week, and on alternate days, either walking 3-4 miles or
using a treadmill for intervals (walk, walk very fast/jog, sprint, walk,
walk very fast/jog, sprint, etc.).
I've noticed some minor strength gains, and some moderate gains in
endurance on walks and the treadmill.  After doing a LOT of reading,
I've decided to move to the Rippetoe's 3x5 program to try to gain some
full body strength (my back seems to maintain much better when I'm in a
gym regularly).
My question:  This program leaves pretty much no time to work on speed
or cardio endurance.  An idea I had was to do the 3x5 program only 2x
per week instead of 3 (say, Mon & Thur), and do speed cardio on Wed,
and then distance cardio on Sat or Sun (whichever day I'm not
shooting).
Any and all feedback is appreciated.  
 

 
Link Posted: 2/15/2012 3:13:24 PM EDT
There is certainly worse things to do. Try it out for a few months and reassess.
Link Posted: 2/15/2012 3:42:19 PM EDT
I'd be reluctant to have you cut a day from Starting Strength because I think it will really benefit you. Maybe do sprints after one of your lifting days?



It certainly wouldn't be bad to do it twice a week, I think you're just not going to get as good benefits.
Link Posted: 2/15/2012 3:48:02 PM EDT



Originally Posted By RolandofGilead:


I'd be reluctant to have you cut a day from Starting Strength because I think it will really benefit you. Maybe do sprints after one of your lifting days?



It certainly wouldn't be bad to do it twice a week, I think you're just not going to get as good benefits.


This is the source of my quandary.  I really don't "need" huge muscles or massive strength.  However, I need to get some serious amounts of strength (and flexibility) throughout my body so as to avoid back issues.  Compounding the thought process is my desire to regain some speed and explosiveness of movement for shooting competitions.  Are these conflicting goals??



 
Link Posted: 2/15/2012 3:52:48 PM EDT




Originally Posted By wmounts:





Originally Posted By RolandofGilead:

I'd be reluctant to have you cut a day from Starting Strength because I think it will really benefit you. Maybe do sprints after one of your lifting days?



It certainly wouldn't be bad to do it twice a week, I think you're just not going to get as good benefits.


This is the source of my quandary. I really don't "need" huge muscles or massive strength. However, I need to get some serious amounts of strength (and flexibility) throughout my body so as to avoid back issues. Compounding the thought process is my desire to regain some speed and explosiveness of movement for shooting competitions. Are these conflicting goals??







No I don't think so at all, and I think you're very wise to choose SS...too many people waste their time with nonsense out of magazines.



Anyways, even though you don't have the desire to get huge, I think following SS 3 days a week is your best bet because it's going to give you a more well rounded routine than if you were to skip a day. Add that in with sprints a couple times a week and a longer run and some stretching/pilates/yoga and I think you'll meet all your goals pretty nicely.



Also remember that one day of SS is going to be power cleans which is a GREAT lift to build that explosive strength you're looking for.







Another idea would be Crossfit, it sounds like it may be right up your alley based on your goals.



Link Posted: 2/15/2012 3:57:07 PM EDT



Originally Posted By RolandofGilead:





Another idea would be Crossfit, it sounds like it may be right up your alley based on your goals.







I thought about Crossfit, but I was drawn to the simplicity of the SS program.  Plus, I've heard good things about it from a couple of people I really respect on these things.



I notice you mention sprinting a couple of times per week, and didn't mention any longer distance stuff.  Was that intentional?



 
Link Posted: 2/15/2012 4:13:26 PM EDT
I would go with SS for about 3 months, then add a day of metcon (not exceeding 20 minutes) after your workout on one day.  Once you adapt to do that, you can add another day of metcon after a workout on another day.

Link Posted: 2/15/2012 4:29:40 PM EDT
Originally Posted By wmounts:


My question:  This program leaves pretty much no time to work on speed or cardio endurance.  
   


What about the other 4 days of the week?

Link Posted: 2/15/2012 4:35:20 PM EDT
One of the tenets of the SS program seems to be significant recovery time.  If I lift 3x/week and rest 3x/week, it would seem to leave only one day.


Originally Posted By H46Driver:



Originally Posted By wmounts:





My question:  This program leaves pretty much no time to work on speed or cardio endurance.  

   




What about the other 4 days of the week?









 
Link Posted: 2/15/2012 4:40:41 PM EDT



Originally Posted By Texas_Sig:


I would go with SS for about 3 months, then add a day of metcon (not exceeding 20 minutes) after your workout on one day.  Once you adapt to do that, you can add another day of metcon after a workout on another day.





Just to clarify: ignore the sprints for a while, then add after building up as much strength as possible over the next 3 months?



Would you share your reasoning?  I had mulled this general idea as well, but didn't include it in the original post.  I had no reasons other than general arbitrariness, so I'm interested in your thought process.



 
Link Posted: 2/15/2012 5:02:02 PM EDT
Originally Posted By wmounts:
One of the tenets of the SS program seems to be significant recovery time.  If I lift 3x/week and rest 3x/week, it would seem to leave only one day.
Originally Posted By H46Driver:
Originally Posted By wmounts:


My question:  This program leaves pretty much no time to work on speed or cardio endurance.  
   


What about the other 4 days of the week?



 


Lower the intensity of your endurance efforts - maybe the duration too.  It all comes down to what your priorities are.  If it's maximizing strength, then that will have to come at the expense of endurance and vice versa.
Link Posted: 2/15/2012 5:09:24 PM EDT
How about you stick with the SS and do pilates. May sound gay but it would help with flexibility and core muscles.
Link Posted: 2/15/2012 5:34:08 PM EDT
Originally Posted By wmounts:

Originally Posted By Texas_Sig:
I would go with SS for about 3 months, then add a day of metcon (not exceeding 20 minutes) after your workout on one day.  Once you adapt to do that, you can add another day of metcon after a workout on another day.


Just to clarify: ignore the sprints for a while, then add after building up as much strength as possible over the next 3 months?

Would you share your reasoning?  I had mulled this general idea as well, but didn't include it in the original post.  I had no reasons other than general arbitrariness, so I'm interested in your thought process.
 


The reason for ignoring the sprints is so that your body can focus on recovering from lifting the heavy weights on the SS program.  

Link Posted: 2/15/2012 6:54:27 PM EDT



Originally Posted By wmounts:





Originally Posted By RolandofGilead:











Another idea would be Crossfit, it sounds like it may be right up your alley based on your goals.







I thought about Crossfit, but I was drawn to the simplicity of the SS program.  Plus, I've heard good things about it from a couple of people I really respect on these things.



I notice you mention sprinting a couple of times per week, and didn't mention any longer distance stuff.  Was that intentional?

 


Well, do SS for a while and maybe down the road you could consider CF...there is definitely something to be said for simplicity.

 



No, it wasn't intentional it was more of a projection on how I like to train....I'll let some of the other guys more experienced with endurance stuff comment on the best way to figure that out.
Link Posted: 2/15/2012 7:16:49 PM EDT
Link Posted: 2/15/2012 11:58:35 PM EDT
If you had access to a pool and were willing to give it a try I'd suggest it (swimming and some other water based exercises).  The water would support your back, you could develop some upper body strength, and you get the benefit of aerobic (cardio) exercise at the same time.  For your stated goals I would focus on running (if your back can tolerate it) and would be extremely cautious of weights since they can lead to bulk and if done improperly can also lead to decreased range of motion (flexibility).  Regardless of what people say about "lean weight training," I don't see people who run transform their bodies to resemble weightlifters but I do see some weightlifters loose their lean bodies.
Link Posted: 2/16/2012 3:41:37 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Texas_Sig:

The reason for ignoring the sprints is so that your body can focus on recovering from lifting the heavy weights on the SS program.  



Yup - if your focus is on recovering from heavy lifting, endurance work that recruits fast-twitch fibers like sprinting and even tempo running is out, but you could get away with low to moderate intensity endurance work of restricted duration - an easy 20-30 minute jog, bike ride, or swim.  If you do it right, these activities may enhance recovery rather than inhibit it.
Link Posted: 2/16/2012 3:42:40 AM EDT
I like the idea of doing SS 3x a week with trying to squeeze a day of sprinting.  There seems to be a belief that in order to work on conditioning, one must go long slow distance when short intense bursts will work on your cardio conditioning.



Something to also consider is that up in NOVA,  you've got quite a few good resources available, not only in folks who can help you with form, but programming as well.








Given your age and history of back injuries, I would think working with one of those folks would be probably the most productive use of time.







Glad to see you hitting the weights.
Link Posted: 2/16/2012 3:54:44 AM EDT



Originally Posted By VTHOKIESHOOTER:


I like the idea of doing SS 3x a week with trying to squeeze a day of sprinting.  There seems to be a belief that in order to work on conditioning, one must go long slow distance when short intense bursts will work on your cardio conditioning.



Something to also consider is that up in NOVA,  you've got quite a few good resources available, not only in folks who can help you with form, but programming as well.








Given your age and history of back injuries, I would think working with one of those folks would be probably the most productive use of time.







Glad to see you hitting the weights.


That's a great link, thank you.



It's interesting, in that I have been "hitting" the weights for about 4 months - but using the various machines at the gym.  I did the first round of SS yesterday, and I can hardly move.  Obviously, even though it would be expected that a 4 month "prep" period would have had some affect on my muscles, simple squats, bench presses, and dead lifts do a whole lot more.  
 
Link Posted: 2/16/2012 3:56:19 AM EDT



Originally Posted By H46Driver:



Originally Posted By Texas_Sig:



The reason for ignoring the sprints is so that your body can focus on recovering from lifting the heavy weights on the SS program.  







Yup - if your focus is on recovering from heavy lifting, endurance work that recruits fast-twitch fibers like sprinting and even tempo running is out, but you could get away with low to moderate intensity endurance work of restricted duration - an easy 20-30 minute jog, bike ride, or swim.  If you do it right, these activities may enhance recovery rather than inhibit it.


I hope you're right - my wife and I like long walks and hikes.  I don't want to quit these activities.  





 
Link Posted: 2/16/2012 4:00:43 AM EDT



Originally Posted By asicsaug:


If you had access to a pool and were willing to give it a try I'd suggest it (swimming and some other water based exercises).  The water would support your back, you could develop some upper body strength, and you get the benefit of aerobic (cardio) exercise at the same time.  For your stated goals I would focus on running (if your back can tolerate it) and would be extremely cautious of weights since they can lead to bulk and if done improperly can also lead to decreased range of motion (flexibility).  Regardless of what people say about "lean weight training," I don't see people who run transform their bodies to resemble weightlifters but I do see some weightlifters loose their lean bodies.


This is the approach I had been using, but I haven't been able to accomplish much.  Plus, I still feel muscular imbalances throughout my body (side effect of my back issue that is actually a trigger for more back issues).  The lower weight, higher rep program doesn't seem to be changing the musculature away from the imbalances.  I like your swimming idea, but no current reasonable access to a pool.
 
Link Posted: 2/16/2012 4:02:24 AM EDT



Originally Posted By LaRue_Tactical:


Go for getting rid of the extra weight ... those faster competitors ain't grabbing up a 25 lb. flour sack as they take off.





You HAVE seen Taran Butler run a course, right??  








I watched him at the FNH last fall - he's no racing snake, but, damn, he can move!






 
Link Posted: 2/16/2012 4:18:55 AM EDT
There are quite a few "old farts" who've posted on Coach Ripp's site about how SS has changed their bodies for the better, including those who have chronic back and shoulder issues.  Additionally there's a contributor to his sight who works with retirees and has them squatting and has studies backing up his observations that people who continue to squat into their years are able to put off many aspects of the aging process that often times leads to a decreased quality of life (like hip fractures) and falls.
Link Posted: 2/16/2012 4:27:31 AM EDT
Link Posted: 2/16/2012 5:18:57 AM EDT



Originally Posted By VTHOKIESHOOTER:


... able to put off many aspects of the aging process that often times leads to a decreased quality of life (like hip fractures) and falls.


This scenario stays foremost in my thoughts.  Throughout the last ~ 30+ years, there have been times during which I was in a great deal of pain, and pretty much immobile.  And yet, at other times, I could do whatever I wanted.  I am scared, though, of the thought of being 70+ years old with a back hips that don't work anymore and cause great pain.



 
Link Posted: 2/16/2012 5:19:13 AM EDT



Originally Posted By LaRue_Tactical:



Originally Posted By wmounts:




Originally Posted By LaRue_Tactical:

Go for getting rid of the extra weight ... those faster competitors ain't grabbing up a 25 lb. flour sack as they take off.





You HAVE seen Taran Butler run a course, right??  







I watched him at the FNH last fall - he's no racing snake, but, damn, he can move!



 




He's a sportsman ... carries the extra weight to give others hope.  






 
Link Posted: 2/16/2012 5:21:27 AM EDT



Originally Posted By wmounts:





Originally Posted By VTHOKIESHOOTER:

... able to put off many aspects of the aging process that often times leads to a decreased quality of life (like hip fractures) and falls.


This scenario stays foremost in my thoughts.  Throughout the last ~ 30+ years, there have been times during which I was in a great deal of pain, and pretty much immobile.  And yet, at other times, I could do whatever I wanted.  I am scared, though, of the thought of being 70+ years old with a back hips that don't work anymore and cause great pain.

 


Read this––––>http://startingstrength.com/articles/training_seniors_mounsey.pdf

 
Gillian is an amazing woman.  I hit her blog everyday.
Link Posted: 2/16/2012 5:23:53 AM EDT
Link Posted: 2/16/2012 6:17:27 AM EDT
Thank you - great links.
 
Link Posted: 2/17/2012 5:09:02 PM EDT
Did Day 2 today; I was a bit scared of the squats - I've been really sore the last 48 hours.  It was a surprise as to how VERY sore I was.  I've been doing leg presses, estensions, and curls regularly.  Squats must rule.



Instead of power cleans, I did hanging cleans to work on timing and form... harder than it looks on the videos.  



I've decided to do the 3x/week program (MWF), and spend some time on Sunday AMs working some sprints.  I hope it works.  


 
Link Posted: 2/17/2012 5:27:09 PM EDT
Real light activity such as simply walking a few miles has helped me in the past with soreness.
Link Posted: 2/17/2012 6:12:30 PM EDT
That's my plan tomorrow morning... I may pester some trout at the same time.  


Originally Posted By MrKasab:


Real light activity such as simply walking a few miles has helped me in the past with soreness.






 
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