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Thread: Slow gains

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
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    Default Slow gains

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    It seems that the articles and coaching emphasize gaining strength as rapidly and efficiently as possible. This is quite reasonable for someone who is working at a job and is paying for coaching and gym time, but what about a retired "masters" lifter who is on their own with their own equipment and is lifting for health and also for enjoyment. Do we really need to "grind" {we've had plenty of life's 'character building exercises'}?

    Let's assume that training in an optimal program would get a person to 90% of their genetic potential in 3 years. What would a training regime to accomplish a similar result in 5 or 6 years look like (especially for an older lifter)?

    Looking at the simplest case of NLP, is there truly a "minimum dose" that is not effective in producing gains (assuming that you are using your own or calibrated plates)? Can we compare 1.25 lb jumps for 4 sessions to a 5 lb jump every 4th session? After a couple of months of NLP, why not try to continue and milk the gains slowly (for example: add a pound a week to the bar for 5 or 6 years results in 250-300 pound lifts which would seem to garner significant strength and health benefits for a non-competitive older lifter)? Do we really need to operate at the ragged edge of failure? What about 'if form and bar speed are reasonably good, add weight the next time, otherwise repeat'?

    I know all of this is "not doing the program" and maybe being a 'wuss'; I'm asking you 'hares': is there an old 'tortoise'? or perhaps if you don't want to sprint what does a 5k look like?

  2. #2
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    Do it any way you want, old guy. You're the best judge of how much time you've got left. Cause we all know how much time we've got left.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    You can do that, but you’ll still have to grind sooner or later to make progress.
    I think Sully said on a barbell logic pod cast. He has a client that does not want/has a fear of putting more weight on the bar.

  4. #4
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    Jan 2014
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    If ya want to go slower. Maybe start a HLM workout would be better than adding just a pound a week.

  5. #5
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    Oct 2017
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    Uk
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    Why drag it out ? There is no benefit in delayed gratification. The bar weight will begin to stall regardless of how minute the increases are and then you will have to grind eventually. It's part of the game of gaining strength, the body doesn't like to exert itself and until it does then the stress-recovery-adaption cycle can't happen. The longer you drag out facing the grind is up to you, but it's inevitable if you wish to get stronger.

    We are all competitive lifters, if we aren't, then the bar stays firmly on the pins waiting for when we decide to be.

  6. #6
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    May 2010
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    It's a cinch by the inch. Any progress is better than no progress.

  7. #7
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    Mar 2013
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    I'll be 72 in a couple of weeks. You did not say how old you are. I began when I was 66 and did Linear progression for 8 months. Longer than a younger guy but it was what I needed. There was grinding in almost every session. I'm glad I did the program as prescribed. I would think it would be good for everyone to do the program. For the last few years I've been doing a variety of intermediate programs. Give it a try.

  8. #8
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    Sep 2013
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    Stockholm, Sweden
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    Im 67, started when I was 61, also in my basement alone. Had a coach two times, he (Carl in London) said I was doing fine. Goal is to just keep on lifting check the form with mob vids, rest, eat clean, dont overdo it, be happy when the rep or weight goes up, take a rest when its proper, and not die early.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
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    (OP here) I'm 74 and according to the actuarial tables I should expect to live to be 85. However, I'm in excellent health, have a reasonably active lifestyle and hope to do better than that. I believe that there is probably a 'law of diminishing returns' for the health benefits of additional strength. So how strong is 'strong enough'?

    Today I pulled 1 x 3 @205 deadlifts and have been increasing 2.5 lbs per weekly session. My goal in a few months is to pull 225, just because I think '2 plates' would be cool at my age. If I eventually get to 315 sometime it would be good for the ego, but I suspect the incremental health benefits would not be that significant. The functional benefits are no longer that important since I can afford to pay a kid $20 an hour for the annual day of loading, unloading and stacking hay in the barn.

    There would be a functional benefit to an 80 pound overhead press (for occasionally re-stacking hay bales). With my current 3 x 3 @56 pound press and 1 pound increments it will be a while to reach that goal. I don't have any goals for the bench and squat, they'll progress at whatever rate is reasonable. On my 'active rest' days, I've been doing the 'farmers carry' with a couple of 45 lb plates, working my way up to the 125 steps from the porch to the barn. This has actually proven to be useful in my daily routine of hauling buckets of feed, water and manure. (Being married to a 'horse woman' has some unique benefits).

    My real issue is the question of whether it is really necessary to grind and operate at the ragged edge of failure in order to continue to make long term progress (up to some reasonable percentage of your genetic potential). Since I've gone from sets of 5 to sets of 3 to help my recovery, I'm not beat up and sore and having to grind out the last two reps. Now when I have to grind, it is the result of some form problem. Today I had to grind out a squat rep where I got the weight a little forward coming out of the hole and the last rep of my first overhead press set was really slow getting to the lockout because I'd let the bar wander too far forward.

    I realize that things will get objectively harder in the future as the weights get heavier, but as one adapts does it necessarily get subjectively 'harder'. What about 'if form and bar speed are reasonably good (for a particular lift), add a little weight the next time, otherwise repeat'? With this approach you would add weight after a 'good day' and accept being temporarily stuck at that weight if you can't handle it reasonably well the next time.

  10. #10
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    May 2010
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    starting strength coach development program
    Quote Originally Posted by grinnell3 View Post
    What about 'if form and bar speed are reasonably good (for a particular lift), add a little weight the next time, otherwise repeat'? With this approach you would add weight after a 'good day' and accept being temporarily stuck at that weight if you can't handle it reasonably well the next time.
    Some advice from a 68 year old long time lifter who is beginning to see the end of progress and some slippage backward. Don't overthink or sweat too many details like bar speed. Work hard and try to make all your reps. Maintain good form, by all means. The alternative courts injury and false progress that will be paid for in one fashion or other later, and not in a good way.

    Just do your best and perhaps even take an extra lifting session with the same weight and reps to cement in your gains.

    Good luck. You'll do fine.

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