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Thread: Light squat day for older lifter

  1. #1
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    Question Light squat day for older lifter

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    I’m 63, 5’10” and about 210 lbs. I started my NLP last September. I have had a couple of set backs from travel, illness and a groin strain. I got back on track and things have generally been going well. I already alternate deadlifts with chins. I squatted 350 for my work sets on Monday but adding 2 1/2 lbs to my bench I managed 220x4,4,3. I’ve missed reps in a previous workout as well. I think I need to add the light squat day for better recovery. The gray book says the light squat should be 60-80% of Monday’s work set. Sully and Baker say 80-95%. I’m assuming the higher percentage from Sully and Baker is based on the “intensity dependent but volume sensitive” aspect of us old folks. With a range of 60-95%, what criteria should I use to pick a weight for the light squat day? Is it the heaviest weight I can lift and still recover from by Friday? Is just any weight in that range light enough to just work on technique?

  2. #2
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    Are you still squatting 3x/week?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    Are you still squatting 3x/week?
    This is my second week of making Wednesday a light squat day, but, yes, still squatting 3x/wk. Last week I dropped to 95% of Monday’s work sets. I got all my squat reps that Friday but my press and deadlift were a train wreck. This week I went with 80%.

  4. #4
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    I am 68, and I squat once every two weeks. I think I mentioned this elsewhere, but the principle of Lowest Effective Dose is important here, if you wish to continue training into the future.

  5. #5
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    Rare case of a too high offset: 95% of your heavy sets isn't light. 80% works good. The light day squat is best thought of as being "non stimulative", even though that isn't strictly true.
    It should mostly just keep you "in the groove" until Friday. This means it's not really any appreciable intensity, so adding extra exposure for an older trainee is just giving them more to recover from without actually getting them any stronger. The recovery burden should basically be nil.

    As Rip said, "minimum effective dose", which for a light day might very well be zero, since light days aren't really meant to be effective at all: some people don't squat at all on their light day and do fine. I'd say just go low enough that it feels like you don't have anything to recover from.

  6. #6
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    I can tell 3 heavy squats a week is more than I can recover from. I am still able to add weight to the bar most days, but missing a workout definitely gives me a boost. Thanks for taking time to reply.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maybach View Post
    Rare case of a too high offset: 95% of your heavy sets isn't light. 80% works good. The light day squat is best thought of as being "non stimulative", even though that isn't strictly true.
    It should mostly just keep you "in the groove" until Friday. This means it's not really any appreciable intensity, so adding extra exposure for an older trainee is just giving them more to recover from without actually getting them any stronger. The recovery burden should basically be nil.

    As Rip said, "minimum effective dose", which for a light day might very well be zero, since light days aren't really meant to be effective at all: some people don't squat at all on their light day and do fine. I'd say just go low enough that it feels like you don't have anything to recover from.
    Thanks for this. Very helpful.
    I also have been influenced by the BB Prescription "intensity dependent" theme and I've been hesitant to back off to 80% or less or even zero on light days. Based on my incomplete recovery I knew that 90-95% was not a light day.

    I assume the "minimum effective dose" can still result in gains and not just maintenance. I like having a goal to work towards even though my biological clock and LIFE could be working against me.
    I have a goal of a set of triples with three plates for squats (315) and 4 plates for deadlift. I have about 35# to go.

  8. #8
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    If it didn't result in strength gains, it wouldn't be "effective", now would it?

    You're thinking of intensity and volume a bit backwards here. Prioritizing intensity for older lifters means you reduce volume before intensity: so if you can't do 5 triples, you go to 3 triples, instead of 3x5, to keep the weight heavy. 90-95% isn't light for ANYONE: it's commonly used for backoff sets/volume day, so clearly meant to be stimulative. In keeping the "light day" heavy, you have inadvertently kept the volume high, which is the opposite of what you should be doing.

    Like I said, some people just don't do a light squat and make fine progress. And that's actual progress. Even if you're only adding weight to be bar once or twice a week, you are still adding weight to the bar, and it'll get to those benchmarks eventually.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lost and Found View Post
    I assume the "minimum effective dose" can still result in gains and not just maintenance. I like having a goal to work towards even though my biological clock and LIFE could be working against me.
    I have a goal of a set of triples with three plates for squats (315) and 4 plates for deadlift. I have about 35# to go.
    Inherent to "minimum effective dose" is the matter of the desired effect, so yes - minimum dose of the stress that will product the desired effect.

    It's generally best for the desired effect to be to add weight to the bar until one of two things happen:

    1) It's outright impossible to add weight to the bar, in which case the best concession is to keep strength, or to lose it as slowly as possible.

    2) When the opportunity cost of adding the weight exceeds the marginal utility of the addition for the lifter.

    (That second one is in honor of my most excellent high school economics teacher, Mr. Steckelberg.)

  10. #10
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    starting strength coach development program
    I squatted 360 Monday and dropped to 275 on Wednesday for my light squat. Friday I squatted 365 and added weight to my press to get to 140. I felt really strong in the squat. I feel like I’m on the right track. Thanks for the help!

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