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Thread: Starting Strength and Parkinson's

  1. #1

    Default Starting Strength and Parkinson's

    I haven't posted before because the search function answered all my questions and I did not have much to say. But, what has happened to me may help others. By way of background, I am 6 months short of 70 and a long term ultra trail runner. Before starting strength, at 5'8" I weight 140 lb and had a 13.5 inch neck. Then summer of 2011, I noticed my right hand shake at rest. A quick Wikipedia search suggested Parkinson's that was quickly confirmed by a neurologist. It turns out the tremor is the least worrisome aspect of this disease. Bradykinesia (moving slowly) is a huge problem - feels like moving through molasses. When you want to start to move, you can freeze as if your feet are rooted to the ground. The only way around this is to fall forward and catch yourself. Eccentric contractions lead to cog wheeling. It made going down stairs very difficult. Muscle atrophy is a huge problem. I am right handed and that was the part of my body most impaired. I could hardly sign my name.

    A quick internet search showed the importance of exercise and youtube videos on the are impressive. However, more hours running slowly through the woods would not help! I found this forum and Starting Strength and it made a lot of sense. I got with the Program. Now, about a year and a half later, I have gone from 140 to 170 lb and still gain a pound or so a month. Neck size when from 13.5 to 16 inches. On the Rippetoe Kilgore age standards, I have hit intermediate for the bench, squat and deadliest. On my favorite lift, I do much better and am half way between advanced and elite.

    At this point, I have finished the novice program and plan to focus on the OHP, partly because I find I have done well with it. However, the other reason is that this lift had a very dramatic impact on the typical stooped over posture of Parkinson's. I would dearly love to get as close as I can to body weight by my 70th birthday. My wife thinks this is not reasonable, but I tell her I see no value in being reasonable.

    The bradykinesia is gone. The cog wheeling has also gone. I still have a mild tremor in my right hand and the grip on that hand limits my deadlift.

    If there is interest, I can flesh this out in greater detail.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    North Texas
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    25,394

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xultrarunner View Post
    My wife thinks this is not reasonable, but I tell her I see no value in being reasonable.
    An excellent approach.

    If there is interest, I can flesh this out in greater detail.
    Please. There is interest, I assure you.


  3. #3

    Default

    Barbell training is indeed Big Medicine. I would also been keen to hear more of the progress you've made, FWIW.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
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    Flagstaff, AZ
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    My wife thinks this is not reasonable, but I tell her I see no value in being reasonable.
    Reason can be overrated!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    North Texas
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    If you live in Santa Cruz, this is a common assumption.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
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    Flagstaff, AZ
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    If you live in Santa Cruz, this is a common assumption.
    You rascal!

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    But I'm very interested in my info from the former runner. This is the first time we've heard from a Parkinson's patient, and I'm interested in whether he thinks that the endurance activity actually contributed to the problem, and what testing has been done since his symptoms have abated.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Would also love to hear more.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    El Dorado Hills, California, U.S.A.
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    457

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    This post and your progress just made my day. I would appreciate hearing more.

  10. #10

    Default

    That is really impressive. Maybe get the neurologist to write up an anecdotal report?

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