Exercises for a 50 year old
My dad is 50 years old and has suffered from chronic lower back pain for as long as I can remember, so I want to put him on a simple program to strengthen his back muscles to try and relieve the pain. Would squatting and deadlifting very low weight three times a week be enough for him or would he need something more structured like SS?
I am no doctor, no specialist, nor am I an expert in weight training. I am simply an advanced novice lifter who is following practical programming, so take anything I say here with a grain of salt.
I think he should so the full program, because it is a balanced one. Sometimes injuries and pain in one area can be a result of stiffness, weakness etc in another, so my doing a full program he is 1. developing a balanced musculature 2. covering all potential areas that cause pain.
my 2 cents.
Thanks, that's true, I would rather he did the whole program. Only thing is he's not interested, or at the age anymore where he cares about strength gains or all that, so given his slightly out of date mentality on exercise he'd see it as a typical weightlifting routine which I know it is not. I just want to recommend something to him that will help him relive the pain, but nonetheless I will push for him to give the whole program a try.
Without knowing what is wrong with his back its pretty useless to try to figure out what kind of strength program would be best. Deadlifting three times a week isnt generally a plan people with healthy backs pursue.
I would start with glute activation exercises and unweighted extensions and work the pvc pipe with the movements and see whether that improved his situation- if, like a lot of people, his problems are largely from being sedentary,then pain relief would be one of the first results of even a remedial routine- then you can progress to a program like starting strength- but I wouldnt start with starting strength until I had a few sessions of super easy stuff to see how it works- but again, you didnt say exactly what his problem is, his weight, his lifestyle (sitting all day etc) so its a hard question to meaningfully answer.
Also, trying to get people twice your age to do stuff they arent interested isnt generally a workable plan- though Im sure your'e well intended.
I'd follow the SS template with a slower progression, squatting every two days is the best thing he could do about overall body strength and immunity, the back would be a lot stronger also.
Thanks for the replies - I'll try and get him to start slow, maybe doing what JM3 suggested, then see where that takes him. If he's up for it I'll begin a SS routine for him and see how that goes. To answer your questions, I think it maybe is from a sedentary lifestyle. Not sure exactly what it is, but it's tied to his hips somehow since he has some inflammation there that causes lower back pain.
If he's not down with the full program, I'd suggest:
LOTS of stretching and warmup like doing the complete DeFranco mobility routines before every workout.
If his back is just sore from being sedentary then heading straight to the bar is maybe ok- but dont skip the pvc pipe- there are lots of ways to get good work done before you ever start to squat weight- plus if he's a sitter just getting that posterior chain firing in order is a good place to start- and it will save you potential injury early on. Sitting on your ass a lot causes the hips to stay fairly deactivated- and transfers alot of the function up the back (at least this is what Ive read). So a little time invested on the front end of figuring out a program might serve yall well.
Just for an alternative veiw- I would not reccomend stretching before lifting. Some people like it- but I would stretch after a workout rather than before- just depends on what his muscular disposition is to begin with. If he tends towards hypotonicity, stretching prior to might make him more prone to injury. Its easy to say- 'Joe has back problems what should I do' but thats a wide paramater to be working from when people try to give advice. Are his issues in the low back near the sacrum? could just be chronically tight flexors, or is it a bulging or blown disc? the equation changes a bit depending...
I agree with Matt though- two movements are a great start for someone not really into it- you can add a little conditoning work at the end and it's a nice workout.
Last edited by JM3; 02-18-2011 at 08:26 AM.
I had the low back miseries for some years from 54 on until more recently at 60 I seem to coming out the other side to a better situation. I lifted and bounced off the mat in martial arts the whole time and both took a toll on my back so I eliminated exercises that taxed the low back. This began to change when I started taking post lifting stretching more seriously and using a hard foam roller like JM3 talks about with the PVC pipe. In the last 6 months my lower back has gotten near 100% most of the time, and I am convinced that dropping from 235 to 210 took some strain off as well. So consider that too. I started doing back squats and sumo deadlifts around 3 months ago after a 10-15 hiatus to prevent problems and so far so good. You talked about strengthening his lower back, so maybe have him doing some back extensions might be a good way to ease into the more technique intensive back squat and deadlift. A little pre-hab, pre-conditioning for the main event, if you will.
Don't listen to this guy. Get your father in a squat rack and load 315lbs on the bar. Pain is a gated mechanism, so his back pain will be far less noticeable in short order.
Originally Posted by Mark E. Hurling