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As I entertain a new approach to my training program, I find myself asking this question as a way of clarifying my thinking: 
 
What things could I do easily at age 18 that I cannot do easily today at age 56? 
Breaking Muscle Shop
 

A Walking, Grunting Mind-Changer

One of those things would be kicking people in the head (i.e., mobility). Long story for another day. But another is the ability to run/jog/sprint. “Running,” just to use that word as a catch-all, is a “functional” ability, if I dare use that term. Case in point:
 
A few days ago, I was taking my usual morning walk to Starbucks. It was 6:30am and pretty dark. About 100 yards ahead of me, I saw an animal coming down the sidewalk toward me, but I couldn’t quite tell what it was. After it got a bit closer, I saw it wasn’t a dog – it was a javelina. 
 
If you don’t know anything about these wild pigs, they’re dumb as a brick, nearly blind, and terminally pissed off. They’ve got formidable tusks and will rip you a new one if you do anything they consider threatening (such as standing or breathing). In this case, I had enough time to cross the street and avoid being shredded by forty pounds of raw bacon, but had I not seen him in time, who knows?
 
So while developing strength and muscle is still most appealing to me, I’m also looking to improve the things I find more difficult now that I’m in my mid-fifties.
 

A Pleasant Surprise, But Much Work to Do

Despite the fact that I’ve written some of the most caustic anti-jogging articles ever to appear in print, this Saturday night I waited until it got dark (for personal dignity), laced up my shoes, and did a mile pretty much as fast as I could. I had no idea if it would take me fourteen minutes or 24 minutes. I feared the worst, but after covering my pre-measured one-mile route, I glanced down at my stopwatch and saw this:
 
Mile Time
 
To say I was surprised is an understatement. I hadn’t run at all in well over ten years, and even when I was dabbling in it, I never did much. The longest run I ever did was six miles, which was absolute agony.
 
I’m planning to do some type of a run twice a week for the time-being. I’m not looking to be a great runner on any level, I just don’t want to totally suck balls. I’d probably like to get my time down to nine minutes. 
 
As you might have guessed, I don’t have a solid plan for this as of yet, but I’m talking to guys like Andrew Read and Alex Viada, so I’ll keep you posted as I go along.
 

This Week’s Training:

Total Volume: 95,545lb
 
A few things you might notice in this week’s journal, aside from the exciting running episode:
 
I’m doing a few uncharacteristic and unfamiliar exercises. These include roll-outs and calf raises. I’m also planning to do at least one set of some type of squat every day, or at least most days. I’ll have my primary squat day as always, but in addition to that, I’ll do a set of two of goblet squats or just a bodyweight squat-stretch on the other 5-6 days as a way of improving mobility and greasing the groove, as Pavel likes to say.
 
I’m warming up more thoroughly than usual. So, for example, rather than starting flat dumbbell bench presses with 60’s I’m now starting with 40’s. Rather than just banging out sets of 8 on chins, this week I laddered my chins (see below). This more gradual warmup seems to keep my joints happier which is a priority for me at this point.
 
I’m starting my lower-body sessions with a few sets of leg curls. This is a suggestion from John Rusin, for the purpose of warming up my knees in a non-loaded fashion. So far, so good. No knee pain this week at all, despite doing at least one set of squats five out of seven days.
 
Running Through a Tunnel
Training to feel younger will include taking on things that were much easier when you were younger.
 
I’m doing more total training sessions per week than normal. Some of these sessions are simply 1-2 exercises, along with 1-2 mobility/self-care drills. This new pattern is representative of a new way of thinking about training for me. I’m trying to increase my overall activity levels, and I’m also trying to blur the lines between training and not training. 
 
Put another way, my habitual pattern tends to be that I lift four days a week, and when I’m not lifting, I’m pretty much not doing anything physical at all. This doesn’t strike me as optimal when I think about it, so I’m beginning to implement very short mini-workouts during down-time between clients. I’m also doing more walking and cycling.
 
I’ll stop my commentary there since I prefer to keep these as entries short and readable as possible. If you’ve got questions about anything at all, please use the discussion field below. 
 

Monday, November 30, 2015

 
Bodyweight: 201lb
Volume: 15,190lb
 
High Bar Squat
  • Set 1: 115lb × 10

Notes: Left knee pain- medial patella

 
Goblet Squat
  • Set 1: 70lb × 10

Notes: No knee pain

 
Front Squat
  • Set 1: 135lb × 8

Notes: No knee pain 

 
High Bar Squat
  • Set 1: 135lb × 10
  • Set 2: 185lb × 8
  • Set 3: 185lb × 8

Notes: No knee pain 

 
RDL
  • Set 1: 135lb × 10
  • Set 2: 225lb × 8
  • Set 3: 225lb × 8
 
Hack Squat
  • Set 1: 90lb × 10

Notes: No knee pain 

 
Leg Curl
  • Set 1: 70lb × 10
  • Set 2: 70lb × 10
  • Set 3: 70lb × 10
 
Workout Notes
  • Foam-rolled left IT band
 
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
 
Bodyweight: 201.8lb
Volume: 2,950lb
 
Standing Calf Raise
  • Set 1: 75lb × 12
  • Set 2: 75lb × 12
  • Set 3: 75lb × 12
 
Goblet Squat
  • Set 1: 25lb × 10

Notes: No pain

 
Workout Notes
  • Band pull-aparts 2 x 10 
  • Band over-and-backs 2 x 10 
  • Foam roll left IT band
 
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
 
Bodyweight: 201.8lb
Volume:18,880lb
 
Close Grip Bench Press (Pinkies On Rings)
  • Set 1: 45lb × 10
  • Set 2: 95lb × 10
  • Set 3: 135lb × 10
  • Set 4: 165lb × 10
  • Set 5: 175lb × 10
  • Set 6: 175lb × 10 (Very close to failure)
 
Incline Dumbbell Press
  • Set 1: 80lb × 10
  • Set 2: 120lb × 10
  • Set 3: 120lb × 10
 
Seated Row
  • Set 1: 140lb × 10
  • Set 2: 140lb × 10
  • Set 3: 140lb × 10
  • Set 4: 140lb × 10
 
Bicep Curl (Dumbbell)
  • Set 1: 40lb × 10
  • Set 2: 50lb × 10
  • Set 3: 60lb × 10
  • Set 4: 60lb × 10
 
Workout Notes
  • Lying wall slides on tennis balls 
  • Hip flexor stretch
 
Thursday, December 3, 2015
 
Bodyweight: 201lb
Volume: 27,390lb
 
Seated Leg Curl
  • Set 1: 130lb × 10
  • Set 2: 130lb × 10
  • Set 3: 130lb × 10
 
Goblet Squat
  • Set 1: 40lb × 10
  • Set 2: 50lb × 10
  • Set 3: 50lb × 10

Notes: No pain to speak of

 
Trap Bar Deadlift
  • Set 1: 135lb × 10
  • Set 2: 185lb × 10
  • Set 3: 225lb × 10
  • Set 4: 275lb × 10
  • Set 5: 315lb × 10 (Video Below)
  • Set 6: 365lb × 1
  • Set 7: 315lb × 1

Notes: Weird aching hip pain on these. A bit of medial left knee pain, too.

 
 
Safety Squat
  • Set 1: 65lb × 10
  • Set 2: 115lb × 10

Notes: Felt good - no pain to speak of

 
Seated Calf Raise
  • Set 1: 90lb × 10
  • Set 2: 90lb × 10
  • Set 3: 90lb × 10
 
Swings
  • Set 1: 88lb × 25
 
45° Back Extension
  • Set 1: 140lb × 8
  • Set 2: 140lb × 8
  • Set 3: 140lb × 8
 
Friday, December 4, 2015
 
Bodyweight: 202.2lb
Volume: 19,141lb
 
John Rusin Shoulder Warm Up: 
 
 
Military Press
  • Set 1: 45lb × 10
  • Set 2: 65lb × 10
  • Set 3: 85lb × 10
  • Set 4: 95lb × 10
  • Set 5: 85lb × 7
 
Goblet Squat
  • Set 1: 32lb × 10

Notes: No pain

 
Bench Press (Dumbbell)
  • Set 1: 80lb × 10
  • Set 2: 120lb × 10
  • Set 3: 160lb × 10
  • Set 4: 170lb × 10
  • Set 5: 170lb × 10
  • Set 6: 140lb × 12
 
Chin Up
  • Set 1: 1 reps
  • Set 2: 2 reps
  • Set 3: 3 reps
  • Set 4: 4 reps
  • Set 5: 5 reps
  • Set 6: 6 reps
 
EZ Bar Curl
  • Set 1: 45lb × 10
  • Set 2: 65lb × 10
  • Set 3: 65lb × 10
  • Set 4: 65lb × 10
 
Ab Roller
  • Set 1: 5 reps
  • Set 2: 5 reps
  • Set 3: 5 reps
 
Saturday, December 5, 2015
 
Bodyweight: 202.8lb
 
Running
  • Set 1: 1 mile in 0:10:58
 
Sunday, December 6, 2015
 
Bodyweight: 202.8lb
Volume: 12,354lb
 
Goblet Squat
  • Set 1: 32lb × 10
  • Set 2: 53lb × 10 (Video Below)
  • Set 3: 62lb × 10

Notes: No pain

 
 
TRX Atomic Push-Up
  • Set 1: 10 reps
  • Set 2: 10 reps
  • Set 3: 10 reps (Video Below)
 
 
Bicep Curl (Dumbbell)
  • Set 1: 40lb × 15
  • Set 2: 50lb × 15
  • Set 3: 50lb × 15
 
Standing Calf Raise
  • Set 1: 75lb × 12
  • Set 2: 75lb × 12
  • Set 3: 75lb × 12
 
Workout Notes
  • Mobility: Rusin shoulder warm up 
 
More Advice for Aging Athletes:
 
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