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Saturday, January 10, 2015

Out-of-season shape

There are no two ways around it. I am getting old. I'm one of the two oldest guys on my veteran's team and it's not even close; the average age is more than ten years younger than me. In the weight room, I'm usually one of the three oldest guys there. And the gradual weight of age and injuries is accumulating to the point that there are days when there are more exercises that I can't do at full weight than those that I can.

And yet, ironically, in some ways I'm in better shape than I've been for fifteen years. I started stretching regularly and I'm back up to 130 degrees on the leg machine, which isn't as good as the 150 degrees it was when I could kick six-footers in the face, but it's a lot better than the 90 degrees it was when I first broke it out again. I definitely recovered a modicum of my lost speed through increasing my stride length. I'm not only able to play complete games when necessary, but I'm also the only player that the captain feels able to take out and put back in again, knowing that I'll still be at something close to full speed by the end of the game.

What I've done is back down on the heavier weight exercises, increase the lighter ones, and increase my running. I run at least one 5k per week, ideally one 40-minute session that covers between 5.5k and 6k, and if I can find the time, a second 20-minute session doing 2.5k to 3k. It's the time that matters, not the distance; we play 40-minute halves and I'm trying to keep my body accustomed to that time frame.

Despite the running, I'm at 192 these days, and I'm topping out my curls with 5-rep sets using the 60-pound dumbbells. I think I need to get down to 185 to really get ripped, but that's not too bad considering all the holiday feasting of the last six weeks.

Three lifting days, two running days, and seven stretching days per week seems to be doing the trick. There is no fooling Father Time, but at least one can hope to mitigate some of his more deleterious effects.

Last season ended pretty well, as I got our only goal in the last game and ended up on five in seven fall games. I'd likely have had a second goal if the ball hadn't abruptly stopped in a mud patch in the area when I was breaking on goal again.  But I'd really like to make it to the ten-goal mark in a half-season, so I'm training hard in order to try and make that possible. At the very least, I'd like to be sure I end up in double-digits for the full season as it's already clear that playing a spoiler role is the most we can do.

We've actually played very well against the better teams, garnering ties against two of the top three teams, but we've also been playing down to the level of the lesser teams and failing to put them away. I'd like to win one more championship before I stop playing for good, but it won't happen this year.

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54 Comments:

Blogger Stephen Notman January 10, 2015 1:05 PM  

Hey old man Vox, take some measure of pride in the fact that you're easily more fit than 99.9% of all western males, age 18-35. Don't ask me for data; I just know it in my ample gut that I'm right.

Blogger Res Ipsa January 10, 2015 1:29 PM  

Vox,

Fellow old fart here. I've been doing a variation of the strong lifts 5X5 with an every other day 3 exercise cardo. I've known for sometime that I need a comprehensive 7 day a week stretching routine to. Do you have any suggestions for the over 40 crowd for a complete body stretching routine?

Blogger New Hombre January 10, 2015 1:40 PM  

What kind of rep / set scheme do you find works well for you? Do you do a numerous exercises per body part or just one or two?

Blogger Rek. January 10, 2015 1:46 PM  

I'd encourage you to read Grow young with HGH (human Growth Hormone) by Ronald Klatz, a transhumanist approach on aging. I don't wish to live longer but always to stay in good shape to enjoy my short time on planet Earth.

Anonymous Clay January 10, 2015 1:54 PM  

Hmmm...looks like the blue pill might be in your future, SB.

Anonymous takin' a look January 10, 2015 1:58 PM  

dietary boron may help with flexibility and reducing joint inflammation.

Blogger rycamor January 10, 2015 2:06 PM  

"What I've done is back down on the heavier weight exercises, increase the lighter ones,"

Yeah, my theory is that as you age, you need to spend more attention on the small stabilizer muscles that you could just take for granted when you were younger. I start every workout with light dumbell routines, focusing on rotator cuff, wrists, elbows, etc... going very slowly and deliberately through the full range of motion.

Anonymous Cryan Ryan January 10, 2015 2:11 PM  

I commend you for staying fit, considering your various endeavors.

(hopefully you were joking about the 90 degree stretch)

As a person gets older, it makes sense to work out for a half hour or so, get the heart rate up and a good sweat, and then stretch.

I used to try to stretch my legs cold, and finally figured out it was getting to be not only difficult, but the risk of injury was real.

New Years Eve I did 500 reps deadlift with 200 pounds. (100 sets of 5)

100,000 pounds total. 3 hours 20 minutes.

Last year - 2400 pushups. 7 hours.

Next year....? maybe pullups?
(not bad for a boomer, eh?)

Good luck with your health.



age 58.

Anonymous fish January 10, 2015 2:21 PM  

New Years Eve I did 500 reps deadlift with 200 pounds. (100 sets of 5)

I didn't do this for New Years Eve.

Blogger Red Bane January 10, 2015 2:38 PM  

Vox, in my more vintage years I am finding that low impact cardio, such as running, is not nearly as beneficial as high impact sprinting, either on foot, or going up steep inclines on a mountain Bike. This, combined with moderate weight usage has shaved years off how old I feel. And the high impact stuff requires much less time. The idea is that your repeat each sprint, going at full pelt, as many times as possible. I am usually done in 15 minutes, somewhere between 5-8 sprints depending on the day. I favor up hill too.

Anonymous Baseball Savant January 10, 2015 2:44 PM  

5'9/192lbs! Nice!!! You stayed really lean in the offseason if you need to only drop 7lbs. Especially after the holidays!

Anonymous Jengo Fett January 10, 2015 2:44 PM  

Not for nothing, my wife walks 5ks in 40 minutes.

Anonymous VD January 10, 2015 2:53 PM  

Vox, in my more vintage years I am finding that low impact cardio, such as running, is not nearly as beneficial as high impact sprinting, either on foot, or going up steep inclines on a mountain Bike.

You're missing the point. I need to run in order to make sure I can run two 40-minute halves on the soccer field. Doing sprints won't help that.

New Years Eve I did 500 reps deadlift with 200 pounds. (100 sets of 5)

We killed two bottles of really good prosecco. I think I'll stick with that annual workout.

Blogger subject by design January 10, 2015 2:57 PM  

Just from observation is seems that it is easier to be relatively fit and not injured if one abstains from actually competing in sports. My brother and I are 10 months apart in age, he is 50 and I am 49. He always been a fit man but has been an active athlete his entire life. He has injuries. I just started to work out and I like the advice of Dr. Mercola as he is about 10 years or so ahead of me and I can learn from his workout mistakes. He quit running years ago and now he does weight lifting and HIIT. He doesn't do cardio at all and like the other commenter mentioned above, prefers sprints. Which is going to get the average person in plenty good shape if he has to run on occasion. Training to be competitive in sports is harder on the body than just trying to be fit for age, in my opinion.

OpenID cailcorishev January 10, 2015 3:11 PM  

I need to run in order to make sure I can run two 40-minute halves on the soccer field.

Exactly. Running gets you in shape to run. There are better ways to get/stay healthy and strong, so if you won't be doing any running, stick to lifting and high-intensity stuff. But if you need to be able to run all afternoon without getting winded for a sport you enjoy, regular running is the only way.

Now, people who run just to be running, not for the sake of some sort of competition, they're nuts.

Anonymous VD January 10, 2015 3:18 PM  

Just from observation is seems that it is easier to be relatively fit and not injured if one abstains from actually competing in sports.

Certainly. The only guy on the team who is older than I am played soccer as a little kid, then started again about five or six years ago. He's in good shape and his knees never bother him at all. We've lost two captains in the last three years to knee problems that ended their playing careers.

Anonymous amaninfull January 10, 2015 3:19 PM  

vox, have you considered hgh or TRT in the near future, say past 50? peter thiel has spoken openly about using hgh.just a suggestion. if you do please keep us upto speed on how the regimen goes...

Anonymous dB January 10, 2015 3:21 PM  

If you play soccer then you need to run. There is no other training method better than doing what the sport requires. Best advice I have from a 43 y/o is rest is your friend and you need more of it. Go hard then rest an extra day.

Anonymous VD January 10, 2015 3:29 PM  

vox, have you considered hgh or TRT in the near future, say past 50?

No, as a general rule, I don't like taking things. I haven't even been taking protein powder for years. Exercise, eat moderately, drink red wine everyday, and try to get enough sleep. That's about it for me.

Anonymous Rolf January 10, 2015 4:11 PM  

Yes, getting older sucks.

I tweaked my back a couple weeks ago (slight L5 rotation and serious muscle spasm that dropped me on the ground for an hour, and eventually needed a short ER visit for more serious drugs than ibuprofen), now looking for a good stretching and exercise regimen to stabilize / strengthen my lower back for the long haul. Not wedded to any particular "style," willing to consider anything from platies, martial arts, weights, yoga, tai che, general calisthenics, or whatever, but something to do for 10-15 minutes every morning so I don't have to go to the ER and be a cripple-on-ice for a week again. Can't afford a personal trainer or regular classes right now, so looking for on-line videos or a reasonably-priced DVD, or text list with basic pictures.

Any suggestions, Ilk?

Blogger Laguna Beach Fogey January 10, 2015 4:12 PM  

Tell me about it. We're about the same age. I've recently increased my cardio and HIIT, although I avoid running.

Dennis Mangan, whose 'Rogue Health' blog has been influential, has recently posted research on the deleterious health effects of prolonged cardio, particularly on older men. I think the key is to achieve a good balance between lifting and HIIT.

Blogger Laguna Beach Fogey January 10, 2015 4:15 PM  

@Rolf -Yoga. Two of the fittest guys I know do yoga, in particular hot yoga. One's young and is into hiking and mountain climbing, the other guy is older and cycles. Both have recommended yoga.

Anonymous Rolf January 10, 2015 4:23 PM  

Laguna - Thanks for the reply. From what I've seen of yoga, unless it's a class specifically aimed at older men with back issues, a lot of it is not good for low backs, particular ones in marginal shape. Some is, certainly. I know that each of the things I mentioned have something to offer. I'm trying to find some combination of specific exercises and stretches that won't make a PT cringe. Of course, "hot yoga" requires taking a class somewhere, and that's not in the budget right now.

Can you / they recommend any specific stretches or exercises to start getting things back to normal, if you'll excuse the pun?

Anonymous MR January 10, 2015 4:45 PM  

For those that are in to taking things or are considering taking things, I highly recommend examine.com as an unbiased site on supplements, vitamins and nutrition with a lot of science to back up their research. I am not affiliated but have found a lot of useful information and since they do not accept advertisers I find them better then typical supplement / fitness sites.

Also, Creatine and Vitamin D. But that is because I am in to taking things and live in the cloudy Midwest.

But I think the biggest things as have been stated... aerobic and anaerobic as well as resistance exercises, eating non-processed food in moderation, mobility and plenty of sleep.

Anonymous Nobles January 10, 2015 4:48 PM  

>"Can you / they recommend any specific stretches or exercises to start getting things back to normal"

I wouldn't take advice over the internet. Back issues are extremely specific, and many stretches/exercises that might improve one problem will exacerbate another. Find a PT or DC to give you an evaluation and recommend some specific movements that you can do on your own. One or 2 visits won't cost you that much.

Anonymous Rolf January 10, 2015 5:02 PM  

Nobles - true enough, and that's sort of the plan. I'm mostly looking for a list of things to evaluate more closely, because there is a HUGE pile of stuff in each of those fields that are potentially good, but possibly problematic. My PT is a good one, and is happy to help me evaluate any specifics items I care to ask him about, but doesn't want to recommend more than some of the basic items for now, and some of those need another person for me to do properly. I'm trying to start putting together something that can be done at home, draws from anything that has a useful idea to offer, and my PT agrees doesn't do more harm than good.

I told him it was a market opportunity - look up some local gurus in a half-dozen disciplines and put together a DVD for middle-aged men that recently experienced a their back having a come-to-Jesus moment, with one phase for stabilizing, recovery, and lower-back education one phase for basic strengthening and flexibility, one phase for more advanced s & f, and one for "meditation-level" s & f.

Anonymous Stilicho January 10, 2015 5:08 PM  

Try some moderately paced intervals for your shorter cardio day. It mimics the pace of play somewhat and you can adjust the intensity and pace of intervals to your needs.

Anonymous Nobles January 10, 2015 5:12 PM  

Rolf, the other thing I might suggest is swimming. If you're not comfortable in the water, then wear a flotation vest or drag a pull buoy to stay on the surface. Not every stroke will necessarily be good, but there is almost always something that you can do pain-free that will work your muscles and increase your flexibility in a nice supportive environment.

Of course, pool memberships ain't always cheap either.

Anonymous Ridip January 10, 2015 5:16 PM  

The best advice my "doc" gave me was moderating my exercise and getting lots of sleep. The idea was to avoid stressing my adrenals and making a mess of my blood sugar levels. Not tuning up for a pre-50 marathon was the hardest, but he was right. And as rough as it was to get up to 7-9 hours of sleep, it has made me much more productive in the afternoons and my weight has dropped to where it ought to be with what's essentially a Paleo diet. The wife had been trying to get me to make changes for years, but it took hearing it from a man I respect. I'll have to check out what Dr. Mercola has to say, as I'm fixing to bust 50. Ouch!

Blogger Josh January 10, 2015 5:18 PM  

Do you have any suggestions for the over 40 crowd for a complete body stretching routine?

The Limber Eleven is a good place to start.

Blogger Res Ipsa January 10, 2015 5:43 PM  

Josh,

Thanks I'll give it a try. I probably don't need to kick anyone in the chin but it would be cool to have that kind of major flexibility.

Blogger LP 999/Eliza January 10, 2015 7:06 PM  

Something I am reminded of in the weight room is that every lifter will probably have a shoulder pain or have to do lighter weights to accommodate picky shoulders.

Anonymous MR January 10, 2015 7:13 PM  

Posted twice before, but appears to not have gone through...

For people with low back issues or general mobility (flexibility) issues I would highly recommend Kelly Starrett at mobilitywod. He has a lot of great stuff that I have personally found very helpful with my low back issues. Google "xxxx" and mobilitywod youtube. With the xxxx being replaced by your body part that hurts.

Anonymous Stilicho January 10, 2015 9:04 PM  

Res, you never know when you might want to kick a pig though

Anonymous Baseball Savant January 10, 2015 9:48 PM  

"vox, have you considered hgh or TRT in the near future"

I respond exceedingly well to test enanthate.

Anonymous Mike M. January 10, 2015 10:21 PM  

The best exercise is punching liberals. Kicking them is also good.

We all need more exercise. :-)

Anonymous NorthernHamlet January 10, 2015 10:57 PM  

The new year is starting off well for my commitment to sticking to a decent schedule similar to what VD recommends, and it gives me a certain feeling of fortitude for the coming challenges of this year.

Blogger Thordaddy January 11, 2015 12:24 AM  

Just a note... Muscles don't actually "stretch." Contract and release... When hitting that "stretching" point, contract.

Anonymous Johnny Caustic January 11, 2015 1:51 AM  

You're missing the point. I need to run in order to make sure I can run two 40-minute halves on the soccer field. Doing sprints won't help that.

He's not missing the point, Vox. There's been research coming out, as well as lots of anecdotes, that high-intensity interval training can partly (though probably not totally) replace prolonged endurance exercise when you're training to participate in prolonged endurance exercise.

A couple of links partly explaining this:

http://www.ideafit.com/fitness-library/hiit-vs-continuous-endurance-training-battle-of-the-aerobic-titans

http://www.sportsci.org/jour/0101/cf.htm

Anonymous Johnny Caustic January 11, 2015 1:57 AM  

One more:

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/24/can-you-get-fit-in-six-minutes-a-week/

Key takeaway:

"There’s a catch, though. Those six minutes, if they’re to be effective, must hurt. “We describe it as an ‘all-out’ effort,” Gibala says. You’ll be straying “well out of your comfort zone.” "

Anonymous Bobo January 11, 2015 2:49 AM  

I'm spent 12 years of my life (wasted, according to my father) as a pro triathlete, specializing at Ironman distance. Now at 52, I'm thinking of doing another Ironman, mainly as an example to my small kidz.
Since I don't have time for lots of 2hr+ runs & 5hr+ bikes, a lot of my training is of higher intensity, sort of along Mercola's HIIT protocol.
What I've found is that my misspent youth has provided me with an endurance base that remains, despite 10+ years of fatherly living (working, eating & drinking), 30lbs of extra love, etc.

You don't have to run 3.5hrs in training in order to run a 3.5hr Ironman marathon. One doesn't have to run 40mins regularly to play a hard 40min game. You've done that dozens (hundreds) of times. Your body's not stoopid.
Speed + strength = endurance. Endurance does not equal speed + strength.
Flexibilty past 40 covers a multitude of sins...

Anonymous VD January 11, 2015 4:46 AM  

He's not missing the point, Vox. There's been research coming out, as well as lots of anecdotes, that high-intensity interval training can partly (though probably not totally) replace prolonged endurance exercise when you're training to participate in prolonged endurance exercise.

Yes, he is. I've read some of that research and I'm a former NCAA D1 sprinter. I even tried it two years ago. It simply doesn't work like that. You cannot get in shape for playing basketball or soccer by a doing few minutes of short burst stuff. There is a huge difference between being in ideal shape to run the 100m and the 200m and being in condition to run 90 minutes in a soccer game.

All that research is focused on improving the cardiovascular condition of normal people. The resulting condition isn't good enough for an athlete who is playing at a level that includes former FIFA internationals. Now, the best way is to actually be doing what your going to be doing, but in this case, that's not possible.

One doesn't have to run 40mins regularly to play a hard 40min game.

Of course not. But I'm not doing it in order to be able to play it. I can already do that. I'm doing it in order to be able to excel in it and take advantage of the last 15 minutes when all the defenders are blown.

Blogger Rek. January 11, 2015 5:04 AM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Rek. January 11, 2015 5:17 AM  

Also you should look into cryotherapy, as in real cryotherapy chambers not ice baths. It has an exceptionnal effect on recovery and pain management. If you have the money it is worth buying one. A quality chamber costs 45'000Eur; some gyms will charge you 50-100Eur/cryo session.

Blogger luagha January 11, 2015 6:11 AM  

To rehab from some shoulder operations I picked up a set of Indian Clubs. A few youtubes of possible workouts and I had several routines. Even the half pound and one pound ones will give a heck of a lot of stabilizer benefit - and after doing them, my bicep curl max went up ten pounds due to the additional stability of the platform.

Blogger AdognamedOp January 11, 2015 6:30 AM  

"We killed two bottles of really good prosecco."

Amatuer night. Did you eat some Doritos too soccer boi?

Anonymous Homesteader January 11, 2015 10:06 AM  

Convict conditioning I & II.

Silly title, great books.

Blogger J Curtis January 11, 2015 10:29 AM  

60 lb dumbbell curls? That's really good.

I'm concentrating on french curls with cambered bars. My gym has a great set of pre cast ones (no collars to mesd around with). I'll use inside and outside grips to hit both heads using60-90 lb bars. I thenk drop down to a light bar and do a set of high reps

Anonymous mattos January 11, 2015 12:20 PM  

Ditto to vitamin D. At least as to avoiding illness. I'd get colds 2 - 3 times every fall and every spring until I was put on prescription vitamin D. Now it's 1 time a year.

Anonymous Sensei January 11, 2015 9:56 PM  

To those who mentioned Vitamin D- I live in an city affected by the East Asian monsoon weather cycle, and I've noticed not seeing the sun for weeks at a time has a pretty deleterious effect on my health and attitude in general. I'm sure this is partly connected to Vitamin D deficiency, but I've also read some brands of supplements are placebos at best. What brands of Vitamin D supplements have people found to be trustworthy and helpful?

Blogger LP 999/Eliza January 11, 2015 11:56 PM  

Chewable D's worked for my bloodwork.

Where ever I move I find a nearly empty place to sun at. That is like a building, an enclosure where the filter is a pane of glass. I sun the back neck and sometimes my sinus area. I think its not that possible but sunning my sinus area minus my eyes and forehead seems to clear out pressure/discomfort. Along with the omegas, krill and vita d, it is difficult to say what works and how to get sunlight on bare skin where here is around 20 below at pm and may zero for the day temp.

Anonymous Anarchopurplism January 12, 2015 11:30 AM  

I'd do more homework on Metabolic Conditioning (or Metabolic Effect). "Running Sprints" is a very rudimentary form of interval training, but not necessarily Metabolic Conditioning, since it does not hit on all 3 areas of the body's 3 major energy systems in the body.

I am still learning this method of conditioning, although I have experienced both strength & cardio gains in the past 9.5 months. When your heart rate is up & you have to push thru a circuit lift, its really quite a feeling.

Here are a few good links:
http://www.metaboliceffect.com/metabolic-conditioning/

http://www.mensfitness.com/training/endurance/metabolic-conditioning-the-key-to-better-performance

The point is that you want your body to be able to work at a high-level in each energy system, which soccer uses all 3 in any given game. In no way am I suggesting that weight lifting be curtailed. That is key to strength & building lean muscle. I'd also keep up the 5K stuff, but I'd look at that as more active recovery.

The workouts I have been doing have been extremely varied, but here are few recent samples:

Box Jump-Manmakers
-10 minutes
-Each round: 15 box jumps & 5 man-makers (25+ lb dumbell, pushup, row right, pushup, row left, clean & then press overhead.....that's 1!)

Saturday (did this with a partner)
-20 minutes
-5 pullups, 10 pushups & 15 air squats
-2 rounds & then switch with partner
-150 meter on row machine while partner doing circuit

Run & Deadlift (good "soccer one")
-800m run
-21 deadlifts (I went at 115lbs)
-400m run
-15 deadlifts
-200m run
-9 deadlifts
-100 meter run

Deadlift-Squat-Sprint
-5 rounds
-10 deadlifts, 5 front squats & 200m run
-I had weight at 95 lbs
-Yes, you will feel funny running after that!

Burpee-Shuttle-Situp
-8 minute
-Each round: 20 burpees, 20 meter shuttle run & 20 situps

Anonymous Anonymous January 13, 2015 6:27 PM  

Improve sprint speed with reverse leg presses on a Universal machine. At the leg press station stand and turn your back to the machine, place a foot on the foot pedal, grab the dip bar; and push the weight up. Target bodyweight as a minimum for a leg. I managed to get up to 500#. Ran fast for the first time in my life. Don't do these during season, hammies get very sore.

Blogger Jeff Patrick January 17, 2015 12:45 AM  

Vox, what is this leg machine you are using?

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