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Volume and Intensity for Older Lifters

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  • Volume and Intensity for Older Lifters

    I’m a 77 year old intermediate lifter with bad shoulders so I only do dead lift, squat, push ups and chin ups. For dead lift I do 1 working set of rep progressions (3-4-5) and 1 back off set x 5. For the squat I do 1 working set of rep progressions and 2 back off sets x 5. I squat every workout (heavy—light) and I dead lift every other workout. I rest 2 or 3 days between workouts. I’ve been stalling for about a month in both weight/muscle gain and strength gain. I take whey and creatine.

    I have 3 questions. 1) Should l add more volume to my dead lift and squat? 2) What RPE should my working sets and back off sets be? 3) I believe passion x focus = excellence but (taking into account the bad shoulders) should I do some different exercises?

    Your readers may feel like my questions don’t apply to them but I hope they do. I hope someday they all become 77 year old lifters, it’s great!

  • #2
    Hey Geoswz,

    Thanks for your question and post. Let's get some more information here. What is your bodyweight right now and what has it done over the last month? How about your deadlift and squat?
    Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
    ///Website /// Instagram /// Peri™ Rx /// Whey Rx /// Barbell Medicine Podcast/// Newsletter /// Seminars ///

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    • #3
      I'm 6 feet, 185. I've been lifting for about a year, gained 10 pounds of muscle in the first 6 months, not much change after that. My dead lift started at about 120 x 5, now 200 x 5. Squat started with goblet squats with a dumb bell, 50 x 5, now HBS with 150 x 5. (That's not much weight compared to the big boys and girls, but I prefer to spin it as having a huge PIP--Potential to Improve Performance.) No change in squat and dead lift in the last month. Normally at 5 reps I add weight and drop back to 3 reps, but right now the 5 is so hard, for both, that I'm not doing that. I like to have 2 left in the tank before I add weight. Maybe I'm just being too cautious.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by geoswz View Post
        I'm 6 feet, 185. I've been lifting for about a year, gained 10 pounds of muscle in the first 6 months, not much change after that. My dead lift started at about 120 x 5, now 200 x 5. Squat started with goblet squats with a dumb bell, 50 x 5, now HBS with 150 x 5. (That's not much weight compared to the big boys and girls, but I prefer to spin it as having a huge PIP--Potential to Improve Performance.) No change in squat and dead lift in the last month. Normally at 5 reps I add weight and drop back to 3 reps, but right now the 5 is so hard, for both, that I'm not doing that. I like to have 2 left in the tank before I add weight. Maybe I'm just being too cautious.
        Thanks for your reply.

        I tend to think it's hard for novices to accurately gauge their performance potential on a given set unless they've been training for a long time (and aren't novices). Similarly, it is a fool's errand to have someone else assign RPE's to a lift of another person, even though this is practiced in certain places.

        For you, my plan would be to take 10% off your squat right now and do 3 sets of 5 there. Add 5lbs a week.

        For the deadlift, I'd take 5% off the bar right now- do 1 set of 5, then take 15% off the bar and do 2 sets of 5. Add 5-10lbs a week there.
        Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
        ///Website /// Instagram /// Peri™ Rx /// Whey Rx /// Barbell Medicine Podcast/// Newsletter /// Seminars ///

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        • #5
          That's very helpful,thanks!

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