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Thread: Fighting Off the Reaper - Growing Old, Not Gracefully...

  1. #1
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    Nov 2023
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    Default Fighting Off the Reaper - Growing Old, Not Gracefully...

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    I'm turning 56 in two weeks and have a keen interest in not becoming a weak, sick, skinny old man. I fear sarcopenia more than I fear death so here I am.

    I'm 5'10" and currently 195 pounds. I've done two weeks plus one day of SS NLP and my wife is doing it with me, which works out well for both of us (she is also 56, 5'9" and about 200#).

    First workout was fairly terrible and we watched several videos and coached each other through it.

    Week 1, Day 1 (all weights in pounds)
    Squat 80, 3 sets of 5
    Bench 65, 5x3
    Dead 95, 5x1

    All 5x3 (or 5x1 for DL) unless otherwise noted.
    Day 2
    Squat 95
    Press 60
    Dead 145

    Day 3
    Sq 115
    Bench 75
    Dead 175

    Week 2
    Day 1
    Sq 125
    Press 70 (5,5,4,1) which I mostly attribute to poor form)
    Dead 180

    Day 2
    Sq 135
    Bench 80
    Dead 190

    Day 3
    Sq 140
    Press 72
    Dead 195

    Week 3
    Day 1
    Sq 150
    Bench 85
    Dead 200

    The only thing that's feeling pretty heavy at this point is the press. My shoulders give me hell when I'm pressing and doing squats but they're getting better. I have gained seven pounds since we started (188 to 195) and I've been eating a bunch more meat and dairy than I'm used to and doing a couple of 30g shakes per day to get my protein up.

    I am on the fence about adding five or ten to my squat and DL per workout. I've always been fairly active but nothing serious or formal.

    The first couple of sessions were pretty tough with DOMS and feeling wrecked for most of the recovery time. Since then, I've felt completely recovered by the time the next session rolls around. Due to my work schedule, we're lifting Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

    Thanks for reading, I'll be back when I have more numbers...
    Russell
    Last edited by w35773; 11-03-2023 at 07:08 AM.

  2. #2
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    Welcome Russell! You've taken the first steps, which is much more than most folks in their mid-50s will ever do. So good on you both!

    Overall, keep in mind that you're just starting a process that will take time. Consistency will be your friend; once you start taking breaks, DOMS will be your nemesis again and your lifts will start to slide backwards.

    Notes

    - If it's not feeling "pretty heavy" yet with your Squat and Deadlift, keep making those 10lb jumps. Once they start feeling "pretty heavy", drop your Squat to +5lb jumps and keep running +10lb for the Deadlift. You should be able to get another week or two out of that before dropping your Deadlift to +5lbs. It doesn't make sense right now, but you'll want your Deadlift to be 50-100lbs ahead of your Squat by the time you end your NLP. But long before the end of your NLP, you'll need to change your mid-week pull to a Light Deadlift or Power Cleans once that heavy Deadlift 3x/week is unsustainable.

    - Overhead Press - yes, it's going to feel heavy now. And yes, the failures are form issues. But that's to be expected this early, as you're likely not comfortable getting the bar close enough to your chin/nose on the way up to get in the groove that is required for a successful press. On that one failure, you did the right thing and finished out your 15 reps. That will become important a few months down the road, as this will be the first lift of them all to consistently start failing and transition to Intermediate programming. That's not just you, that's everyone. Once you get to that point, we're here to help.

    - Trust the program as written throughout your entire NLP. If you get the itch to start adding things or skipping things, you'll get into trouble. Save the adding/subtracting/changing for when you're an Intermediate lifter, which will be sometime in the Spring. Until then, trust the program as written. And know now that your transition to Intermediate will not be an instant moment, it will be as each lift gets to that point, usually the Press, followed later by the Bench, then the Squat and Deadlift close together sometime later.

    - On a related note, once you're getting stuck on a lift, refer to what is probably the most important article on this website The First Three Questions. The answer to your problem is most likely related to one of those issues.

    - Lastly, just so you know where I'm coming from - 55M here. I started back in late 2017 after I found the template in an online magazine article. That program was different than it is now (e.g., alternating Back Squats and Front Squats for the NLP), plus I took every winter completely off from lifting to focus on snowboarding and other winter activities, which slowed things considerably. It wasn't until the 2020 lockdowns that I had the books and really started to understand what was going on, even though I couldn't get to the gym. Perfect excuse to build my own in the garage. Now I run NLP for a bit every spring after getting at least one heavy set of each lift in a week through the winter. Each year the NLP gets shorter and shorter, since I'm lifting heavier than the year prior. I wish I could go back and start the NLP from scratch like you are, knowing what I know now. Instead, it's fun to help folks like you out as you begin your journey.

    Keep at it!

  3. #3
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    Nov 2023
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    Thanks, Bill! I'll do +10s on the heavy lifts today and let you know how it goes.

    I really appreciate your insights. I'm going to DL for another week or so before introducing power cleans. I've read The First Three Questions a couple of times and have spent a bunch of time watching Rip and Nick and friends.

    I feel like I have a good grasp on what we're trying to accomplish and the First Principles of SS.

  4. #4
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    Week 3, Day 2
    Sq 160
    Press 75
    Dead 210

    Felt heavier today but didn't feel like I was going to miss a rep so I'll add 10 on Sunday. I think I'll add 10 to my bench, too.

    Mrs. W has trouble getting up from her squats so we're doing a bit of a reset to fix her form before adding weight. 20# bar and the bench press bench to build her confidence and glute/ham strength for a workout or two. Her form's not bad when she's not scared of falling down. We both got a little frustrated today but it all worked out. Probably need a little professional coaching before too long.

  5. #5
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    Week 3, Day 3, Wt 196
    Sq 170
    Bench 95
    DL 215

    Didn't sleep well last night but session went OK today. The last squat rep felt grindy, as the cool kids say.

  6. #6
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    Week 4, Day 1 Wt 196
    Sq 175
    Press 77
    Dead 225 (2 Plates!)

    It all felt heavy but manageable. Feel less weak than last week!

  7. #7
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    Week 4, Day 2 Wt 197
    Sq 185
    Bench 100
    Dead 230

    Didn't think there was any way I could squat fourteen more times after the first one but I took a solid five minutes between sets and got them done. I regret not starting twenty years ago but here we are.
    Last edited by w35773; 11-12-2023 at 07:40 PM.

  8. #8
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    Week 4, Day 3 Wt 197

    Sq 190
    Press 80
    Dead 235

    Press felt lighter than last time. First squat set was tough but they got easier. Five minutes between work sets again. Five minutes between final warmup DL and work set. Learned that I should be lowering my DL reps much faster. That should help.

    I'm planning to add 10 to my DL once per week and five the other workouts to get my dead up a little higher then start power cleans maybe in two weeks. Thoughts?
    Last edited by w35773; 11-12-2023 at 07:48 PM.

  9. #9
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    Week 5, Day 1, Wt 197.5

    Sq 195
    Bench 105
    Dead 245

    Felt good today. Traveling tomorrow for a little vacation so no lifting until next week on 11/22. Planning to repeat today's weights then go on with LP.

  10. #10
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    starting strength coach development program
    Week 5, Day 1 again (back from a week of vacation, repeating 11/15 lifts). Turned 56 on 11/16.

    Sq 195
    Bench 105
    Dead 245

    After a week off, I expected for them to be more difficult but they weren't. Looking forward to hitting 200 on my squat on Friday!
    Last edited by w35773; 11-29-2023 at 12:17 PM.

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