52 year old ice hockey goaltender, now feels 15 years younger on the ice 52 year old ice hockey goaltender, now feels 15 years younger on the ice

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Thread: 52 year old ice hockey goaltender, now feels 15 years younger on the ice

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2014

    Default 52 year old ice hockey goaltender, now feels 15 years younger on the ice

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    I didn't get into SS to improve my goaltending and prolong my "career", but that's just what happened, which I'll get to at the end. Here's my story.

    I just turned 52, and have been active my whole life. Basketball, ice hockey, running, hiking, biking, softball, cross-country and downhill skiing, . . . . and "lifting."

    Why is "lifting" in quotes?

    Was I surprised, after reading SS based on recommendations of a political blogger that I follow (thanks, Instapundit!), that I have been doing it wrong for 35 freaking years!

    • Shitty form on the bench, leading to chronic shoulder problems
    • Half or 3/4 squats, wrong leg and foot angles
    • Machines! Machines! More freaking machines!

    I do have to say that even with all that, it was better than not lifting at all. I found out quite young, about age 22, that if I didn't do some strength training for my legs, my knees started to hurt just doing everyday activities. My knees and hips have held up nicely, thanks to the machines.

    So I read SS. Was I pissed to find out that I'd been doing it wrong for 35 years!

    Then I got worried. When I read the squat chapter for the third time, I got really nervous that I couldn't even do 1 squat, with no weights at all, with the form and foot/leg angles and ass-to-the-grass form that Rip described. Not one squat without a bar, let alone with heavy weight. I couldn't imagine it.

    So I went into the bathroom in front of a mirror, and tried it. It was awkward and I was even more worried that I'd have to give up when I tried it at the gym.

    But I stuck with it, and I've been pretty good about doing the program for about 6 weeks now. My bench is well past my PR that I set at age 24. Not so for squats, because I have no PR for squats; I was doing shitty half or 3/4 squats all those years. I'd never done deadlifts or power cleans.

    I did have to modify the program a little, because of the power cleans. I don't have bumper plates within 200 miles of where I live, and I was worried that I would start to hurt myself on unloading. I e-mailed Rip, and much to my surprise, he e-mailed me back within 6 hours. His advice? For a guy my age, with little need for explosive power and with 52 year old joints, and no access to bumper plates, replace the power clean with more deadlifts. So now, I do 1x5 of my max deadlifts on one day, and 3x5 with 40 lbs less weight on the other day. The 3x5 seems to tax me more than the heavy weight day.

    In addition to blasting through my 28 year old bench PR, I am just amazed at how good I feel doing the weights now that I am using good form. I'm getting a lot stronger, and for the first time in my life, I look forward to going to the gym. Before, I did it to avoid falling apart. Now, I want to do it.

    Now, about that hockey . . .

    If you've watched ice hockey goaltenders, it is murder on the body, especially the hips and knees. 30 or 40 times an hour, a goalie who starts from a crouching position
    crashes down onto the ice with his or her full weight, landing on the knees, and at the same time twisting the hips to get the leg pads out and in the way of the puck.

    So I crash down to my knees with all my weight, 30-40 times an hour, torque my hips, and then hop right back up to do it again. There's a reason you don't see too many 52 year old goaltenders.

    So, the 52 year old goaltenders that you do see tend to turn into so-called "stand-up goalies." They rarely go down, and try to make saves with their sticks and by playing the angles right. But there's nothing worse than when that god-damned puck ends up in the net behind me, so I'll quit before I become a "stand-up goalie." The end was looking to be in sight, with some hip and knee pain and reduced flexibility at my age.

    Back to SS.

    I should have anticipated this. I am playing better than I have in 10 years, with very little hip pain, if any some days. I am quicker. I don't get tired as fast. In my crouch, I feel like a wound-up spring. I'm killing it! A few nights ago I was in a pick-up game where the goalies switch sides halfway through the game, so both teams have to get stuck with me half the time. I was playing against a 22 year old kid who played on a pretty good high school team. And I beat him.


    There's no question in my mind, it's the "real squats"; the ones I was afraid I couldn't do. They're not only strengthening my core, hips, glutes, quads, hammies, etc, but they're increasing my flexibility and explosiveness. It is a noticeable difference. And I've only been doing SS for a little over a month.

    I may have just extended my career by a decade or more.

    Thanks Rip!


    Update April 3

    The pics below show the hip and knee torture that we idiots subject ourselves to.

    In the first pic, I have crashed down into my so-called "butterfly" and made the save with my blocker (the big thingy attached to the glove that I use to hold the stick.) You can see the puck deflecting off harmlessly (Hah!) after I got it with the blocker.

    In the second pic, I have crashed down and am in the process of flaring my left leg out even further (twisting the hip) to stop the puck that you can see is on its way on the ice.

    Oh, I forgot to mention . . . the gear that I am wearing weighs about 40 pounds.

    Last edited by wally; 04-03-2014 at 07:37 AM. Reason: Trying pictures one more time.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2014


    OK, so here's an update, about 3 months into SS.

    Most Important: I've never felt physically better in my life. No back pain, very little hip or knee pain, feeling strong. I didn't have terrible back pain before, just a tired 52 year old back with some occasional nagging pain.

    The numbers:
    • Squat 225
    • Dead 305
    • Bench 150
    • Press 95

    Upper-body clearly needs some work but I am very happy with my core strength and lower-body numbers. Again, most importantly, I have never felt stronger than I do now at age 52.

    I'm still very much in the linear progression period on squats and deadlifts. I don't see an end in sight for those.

    2 months ago, when I asked Rip what to do instead of power cleans, he said "More deadlifts. Nothing creates power quite like deadlifting 455."

    I told him then that a 455 deadlift was a fantasy for me. Well, 2 months later at 305, I believe that I am going to fucking deadlift 455 pounds, 5 times, sometime in the next 18 months.

    Then I'm going to fly to Texas and buy the man a drink!

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