The Lifting/Longevity Paradox (Athlete Journal 107)

I often wonder: If my sole or primary objective was to feel as good as possible at age eighty, would I still lift as hard as I do?

As I watch older lifters struggle with orthopedic issues, I often wonder: If my sole or primary objective was to feel as good as possible at age eighty, would I still lift as hard as I do?

That’s a tough one. Lifting hard is a quality of life issue for me. Despite that, I don’t want to be crippled in a few decades, either.

It’s a paradox, really. The undeniable fact is that in order to train a muscle, you also need to place stress on that muscle’s corresponding joints.

Of course, at least theoretically, there is an optimal approach that allows for maximum benefit and minimum damage. At age 55, I have very little in the way of orthopedic issues, so apparently I’ve somehow managed to navigate that path with some measure of success. Nevertheless, long-term health should always be a consideration with regard to our training.

With that in mind, be smart. Don’t train through pain, and always consider the risk/benefit profile of your day-to-day decisions. Trust me, you’re still going to want to be training when you’re fifty, sixty, and beyond. So be smart, my friends.

This Week’s Training

Somehow, on Saturday the 30th, I tweaked my right knee – I think by demonstrating Romanian deadlifts to a client using the empty bar, of all things. In any event, it feels tight and inflamed, but despite that, after testing it with a light lower body session on Monday, I ended up hitting a big 385lb squat on Thursday. It still feels super irritated (especially when walking, believe it or not), but so far, so good in terms of training.

Aside from that, I hit some great lifts this week, including a near miss with 265lb and 210lbx10 on the bench press. So with six weeks to go, everything seems on track, give or take. Enjoy this week’s post and as always, please leave your comments and questions below!

Weekly Training Volume: 44,099 lbs (Last Week’s Volume: 49,508 lbs)

Significant Lifts:

  • Squat 385×1
  • Bench Press 235×3, 210×10

Monday, September 1, 2014, 5:45 PM

Bodyweight: 203 lbs

Volume: 4,225 lbs

HIGH-BAR SQUAT

Set 1: 45 lbs × 5

Set 2: 95 lbs × 3

Set 3: 135 lbs × 3

Set 4: 185 lbs × 1

SWINGS

Set 1: 100 lbs × 10

DEADLIFT

Set 1: 135 lbs × 5

BACK EXTENSION

Set 1: 50 lbs × 10

Set 2: 95 lbs × 10

Wednesday, September 3, 2014, 4:55 PM

Bodyweight: 202.8 lbs

Volume: 10,825 lbs

BENCH PRESS

Set 1: 45 lbs × 5

Set 2: 95 lbs × 5

Set 3: 135 lbs × 5

Set 4: 185 lbs × 1

Set 5: 205 lbs × 1

Set 6: 235 lbs × 1

Set 7: 235 lbs × 1

Set 8: 235 lbs × 1

Set 9: 235 lbs × 3

INCLINE BENCH PRESS

Set 1: 45 lbs × 10

Set 2: 95 lbs × 10

Set 3: 115 lbs × 10

Set 4: 115 lbs × 10

Set 5: 115 lbs × 10

BICEP CURL (DUMBBELL)

Set 1: 70 lbs × 10

Set 2: 70 lbs × 10

Set 3: 70 lbs × 10

Set 4: 70 lbs × 10

Thursday, September 4, 2014, 7:45 AM

Bodyweight: 200.8 lbs

Volume: 13,285 lbs

SQUAT

Set 1: 45 lbs × 5

Set 2: 95 lbs × 5

Set 3: 135 lbs × 5

Set 4: 185 lbs × 3

Set 5: 225 lbs × 2

Set 6: 275 lbs × 1

Set 7: 315 lbs × 1

Set 8: 350 lbs × 1

Set 9: 385 lbs × 1

BACK EXTENSION

Set 1: 160 lbs × 8

Set 2: 160 lbs × 8

Set 3: 160 lbs × 8

DOUBLE KETTLEBELL SWING

Set 1: 106 lbs × 20

Set 2: 106 lbs × 20

SWINGS

Set 1: 100 lbs × 15 (Video of this entire session with commentary below)

Saturday, September 6, 2014, 7:51 AM

Bodyweight: 200.8 lbs

Volume: 15,764 lbs

BENCH PRESS

Set 1: 45 lbs × 5

Set 2: 95 lbs × 5

Set 3: 135 lbs × 5

Set 4: 185 lbs × 3

Set 5: 205 lbs × 1

Set 6: 225 lbs × 1

Set 7: 245 lbs × 1

Set 8: 255 lbs × 1

Set 9: 260 lbs × 1

Set 10: 265 lbs x 0

Set 11: 210 lbs × 10

CHIN UP

Set 1: +25 lbs × 1

Set 2: +25 lbs × 2

Set 3: +25 lbs × 3

Set 4: +25 lbs × 4

Set 5: +25 lbs × 5

Set 6: +25 lbs × 1

Set 7: +25 lbs × 2

Set 8: +25 lbs × 3

Set 9: +25 lbs × 4

Set 10: +25 lbs × 5

MILITARY PRESS

Set 1: 45 lbs × 10

Set 2: 65 lbs × 10

Set 3: 75 lbs × 10

BICEP CURL (DUMBBELL)

Set 1: 80 lbs × 8

Set 2: 80 lbs × 8

Set 3: 80 lbs × 8

A big believer in practicing what he preaches, Charles Staley trains and competes just like his clients. Every Friday you can read what Charles has done this week in his workout sessions.