Hi, Mark. I'm very very old (51) and have been doing barbell training for about five months. I'm at a point now that when I squat, I have more than bodyweight on my back. This is fine, except that it feels damned heavy, and too often at the start of a rep, I feel a bit ... apprehensive that I won't be able to get up again.
I have two balls, each of normal size, so I make myself do the squats anyway. My questions are: is the apprehension common among novices, and does it fade over time? I hate to think that it'll accrue to the point that it affects my progress.
It's not common among novices who are younger. It's terribly common among older lifters who have been hurt a lot. It won't go away, but you'll learn to deal with it so that you can train. I do every time I do a work set of squats or pulls.
Are you using a belt? Besides the fact that it will make your system more efficient and thus let you move more weight, it will also give you more confidence. Some people claim that they make your abs weaker, which makes no sense. It would not make them work less, it would make them work smarter, and the additional weight you can move will then make them work harder.
I need a confidence booster myself so I'm in the process to figure out how to do a 1 repetition max. I figure moving an extra 30 pounds for 1RM is the best counterargument to that pesky inner voice.
Old ?? I'm going to be 51 in August and I dont feel old at all. Get fired up and use that apprehension to your advantage.
Belt. Yes. Apprehensive old guys should use a belt. I should have mentioned that.
Originally Posted by devnull
Belts are in the top three things that you need if you want to lift heavy. Get one right away. Specifically a Best Belt.
I used be terrified of doing heavy sets. Now I'm slightly less terrified.
I am 26 years old and a novice and there was definitely a mental hurdle when I got to my bodyweight.
I recently hit 220 for and when I first unracked the bar I experienced a strong fight or flight reaction. It was that feeling you get of sudden stress that travels like a wave through your body. My body screamed at me to put the bar back down but I knew that my form was good and that I had eaten and rested enough since my last workout so I should be able to do it.
I made my 3x5 that day and have made PRs every workout since.
At 51 by the Official Geezer Taxonomy you are in fact a geezoid. See the Elderly section for a complete explication of all the categories. Squats are scary and I am not immune to the wheezy dry voice of The Reaper whispering in my left ear when I do them at 61. But if you clean up your form you will find that The Reaper retreats far into background and you can concentrate on the discomfort of the bar on your traps rather than the strain on your lower back. Then you end up contending with the voice(s) of your Old Man and your high school football coach who are yelling at you in stereo to keep at it. Unless of course you have had the rare privilege of Rip Himself standing behind you and announcing at high volume to get your ass down and not cut depth to get your reps. I now find those others far more compelling than The Reaper.
I used to get pretty bad, to the point where my first rep was always a really slow descent and then I would pick it up on the rest. This happened even on second and third sets. I'm not nearly as bad as that now. I can't really point to one specific incident but there were a few milestones coupled with increased experience that the fear just kinda faded a bit.
1. I failed a rep and didn't die, or even get hurt in any way.
2. I got a nice sturdy belt.
I still get nervous but I drop down into the hole anyway knowing that worst case I'll have to dump the bar.
You did not say if you trained alone or at a Gym. If you do train alone do you squat in a rack? With a squat rack you can safely allow the bar to rest on the pins and escape if you can't get back up. When I got past body weight I set up the rack so I could lower the load on the safety bars so that when I got a little greedy with the plates I could get out from under the weight. Knowing that you have an escape route takes away some of the fear of lifting heavy, but I always get cautious when I do a heavy set because I know as an old lifter if I injure myself it will take longer to heal and it may mean the end of an activity I enjoy. Practice the escape with a lighter load and that will increase your confidence. If you know the hazards you can control the risks.