Swallowing your pride, being honest, progressing

Ive been in and out of gyms since I was 15ish. Im 51 now. The last 10-12 years has mostly been out lol

About 2 years ago i decided to lose some weight. So I basically just cut a lot of calories and went from 259 to 199. No exercise though. So I lost a lot of muscle too

Then I started back swimming at the local Y. When it got cold I decided to check out the weight room though I wasnt expecting much.

Well lately I feel the urge to get in better shape. So I started doing some machines, some dbell curls etc. I can feel that im not 25 or even 40 anymore lol

In the back of my head was the thought “well, are you gonna get real and squat, bench, and deadlift again?” The thought has been sort of daunting because I know im super weak right now and not very flexible and my cardio sucks bad. Thank God my hair still looks pretty good.

I competed in some powerlifting meets in my late 30s. My best lifts were bench 315 (325 gym), squat 425, dead 430 (445 gym). Nothing great for a “powerlifter” but good compared to the avg dude pushing 40. I was a respected “regular” in the gym and looked upon as a solid guy who knew his stuff.

That was then. This is now.

So I swallowed my pride and benched the other day. Well ive been doing some upper body machines etc so I was able to work up to 215 for one hard rep. Seems I remember in the day doing 225x13reps

Then today the moment of truth came. Squats. I used to somewhat live in the squat rack. I was the guy who REALLY squatted (deep). None of this half squatting crap for me. Well I havent even been doing leg machines at all. Nothing in maybe 6-7 ish years?? and last time (7-8 yrs ago?) I came back from a layoff I strained my back the first time I tried to squat.

So I go into the gym today with my big powerlifting belt that has been laying in the floor since probably 2012. I warm up and stretch and then I go wait a solid 30 minutes while these 3 football players squat in the 2 squat racks. As big and young as they are, they werent doing the weight I used to do and their squats were mile high squats lol. Mine have always been as# to grass.

What was my goal for today? Well, to not get hurt and just to get thru some squats. I would have been happy with 135ish but I did like 3 reps with 165 lol. A girl was in the same rack squatting 205ish the day before.

So I just relate the story to show that sometimes you have to accept reality and suck it up and be truthful and start where you REALLY are. Not where you wish you were. Not where you used to be. Not where you want to be.

Same goes for guitar playing. How many of us are trying to play faster than what we can REALLY play. How many are just going thru the motions mindlessly noodling everyday? Are we REALLY moving towards our goals? Or do we need to slow down and clean it up some and maybe try to come up with some structure and planning?

Im hoping to at LEAST squat 315 for reps again. But to do THAT I had to do what I did today. While it was embarrassing and sad, it was also a quantum leap. Yesterday I wasnt a squatter anymore. Today I am.

Peace, JJ


I imagine you’re already aware of this, and it ties into your theme for the thread, but a friendly reminder that as you age, pretty much everything becomes less elastic, and the risk of tendon injury increases. Even when the muscles say yes, a tendon might still say no. Please be kind to your patellar tendons (and the rest).

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not too worried about patellar, more worried about shoulder flexibility just getting the bar in the right place on the back etc. At my age there is no “hurry” lol

Im lifetime natural. Usually its steroid users who have to worry more about tendon issues as their muscles explode in strength while their tendons and ligaments lag behind. Us natty guys move along more at a snails pace

I know that you already know, but the weight you put up is SO not important.
It s a “guy” thing. “How much can you bench”…
I know you said you’re from the powerlifting school…I’m from the bodybuilding school. The most important thing, especially at our age (I’m 46) is keeping the muscles working and the joints lubed! Squatting a large weight for a couple of reps won’t do anything but get you hurt.
I don’t need to bench 350…I just want to look like I can bench 350. Lol

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Could we have the same stuff in KGs please? :joy:

Also I agree about the exercise responsibly thing, that applies to guitar as well :slight_smile:


by that reasoning, playing guitar is 100% pointless lol.

Its a guy thing…im a guy.

of course, Im not a “powerlifter” now and I dont look good enough to be a “bodybuilder” either. But to be real, its really about health and feeling good about myself. A 51 yr old should still be pretty dang strong and also look good.

The weight thing can equate to bodybuilding. What if your arms were 18" and now, for whatever reason, they are 15"? wouldnt u feel that something just aint right?

reminds me of when I was a kid in HS and I was just getting into weights etc. I had a teacher with a daughter and they were runners. Somehow in conversation I said that I had added 1/2" (or whatever) to my arms. The girl was like “you actually measure your arms”? She was incredulous. If I were quick enough i should have said “you actually measure your mile times??? You going for the olympics?”

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I hear you…I just don’t subscribe to the powerlifter philosophy.
I used to train with a powerlifter and boy, did I try to keep up. All I did was come home with sore joints. So much so that I couldn’t sleep on my shoulder. It’s not for me.

Not sure I understand the correlation with guitar playing and repping for 2 or 3 though?

yeah id say you missed the point altogether.
It is what it is

(dont feel bad, obviously everyone else did too, ill prolly just delete it and keep it to myself next time. I guess we should just discuss picks more?)

Well you chopped the end of my sentence off in your quote too so…

I think I didn’t word it correctly.

In BBing, the goal is muscle development and not strength for strength’s sake. To do that you need to train with a more moderate weight for a higher rep range. So in BBing repping doubles/triples isn’t the approach.
Whereas in PLing it’s all about strength and not about the physique. The training has a different approach. But even PLifters don’t train singles/doubles etc year round.

But, I digress.
Picks it is!!!

Man if you’re stuck under a car, who would you rather turned up, the guy who can deadlift 500 pounds or the guy who just looks like he can?

(Per earlier comment it may be a moot point as the powerlifter will either be gassed out from this mornings workout or recovering from a rotator cuff tear. The bodybuilder will be admiring their reflection in the car windows. Just wait for the professionals to turn up with a jack.)


Since the average car weighs about 2K neither guy is going to lift it.
And fwiw, in the movie “Pumping Iron” it was Franko Columbo, a bodybuilder, that moved the car out of the parking space.
You missed my point. I didn’t say BBers are weak, just that strength isn’t the ultimate goal.
Not to toot my own horn, but back in my competitive days I could squat 315 for 8 reps…if you think that’s not strong as f*ck, give it a try.

Plus, anyone with half a brain wouldn’t get themselves stuck under a car in the first place lol

I can easily bench press a cheeseburger… often 2.


225 for 13 reps is impressive. Did you choose that particular weight because 225 is what The NFL uses for their combine? They don’t have the guys do their max weights. They have each recruit or prospect bench the same weight, 225 pounds, and they see how many reps the guys can do with that weight. Some do 30 or more reps!

As for the tie-in to guitar playing, I really liked your message… Good post, JonJon.

Another thing we should all keep in mind is that, since as you mentioned, we don’t recuperate as fast or heal from injuries as fast in our 50s as we did in our 40s and we didn’t heal as fast in our 40s as we did in our 30s… So…the point I’d like to make is if one of you has taken maybe a few weeks or a month off from playing and you find you can’t play something as fast or as clean as you did before your break from practicing, do not try to regain that in one monster 10 hour practice session. That leads to tendon injuries and those take a long time to heal. What’s worse is tendon injuries can become chronic if you injure the same tendon too many times, or too severely.

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It’s not my post but I’ll take a shot at it. I think the point he wanted to make was that while bodybuilders have an aesthetic goal and how much weight they lift is irrelevant as long as they achieve the look they want, if you are a powerlifter because you enjoy it and get a lot of satisfaction out of it, then the amount of weight you can lift is important.

From what you wrote there seemed to be a suggestion regarding weight training: I know powerlifting is your thing but considering our ages, if you can find a way to get just as much satisfaction from more of a bodybuilding approach, or almost as much satisfaction anyway, it would be a lot easier on your joints to make that change. Did I interpret that correctly?

A kilogram is 2.2 pounds. So, 50 kilos is 110 pounds. 100 kilos is 220 pounds. Therefore, 225 pounds is just slightly over 102 kilos.

Squatting with 315 was mentioned. That would be just a hair over 143 kilos.


Yes, you worded it much better than I did. :grin:

Thank you @Gtrjunior! That’s very nice of you to say.

BTW, since you are into bodybuilding, you probably know this already, but for the benefit of anyone new to weight training who might see this, you can make a 25 pound dumbbell feel a lot more like 35or 40 pounds by using strict form, and by taking as long as 3 or 4 seconds to raise it and 3 or 4 seconds to lower it.

By doing that, you place a lot less stress on the joints than taking a weight that you need to cheat some to do reps with and as soon as you raise the weight you practically let it drop instead having a slow, controlled lowering of the weight. I used to train that way and it’s probably why I ended up with chronic tendonitis in my shoulders. When someone uses bad form just so they can lift a heavier weight, that’s all about ego and that’s a bad way to go about things.

Related to guitar that would be like increasing the speed at which you can play a certain exercise before you’ve mastered playing it at your current tempo. I’ve seen students who used to be so concerned with making constant progress that they’d increase the tempo at the expense of accuracy. I tell them progress isn’t always going to be constant. Realistically you have to expect that there will be times when you are working hard but seemingly not improving much. But then all of the sudden you might make a big leap forward within the span of one or two practice sessions. That’s just the way it goes.

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Couldn’t agree more.
When I first started weight training I did it like you described.
Once I met a local bodybuilder/trainer and began training with him he taught me the correct way to stimulate the muscles for growth.
As the great Lee Haney said. You need to “stimulate, not annihilate”

The other thing I learned is that no matter what your goal (growth, weight loss etc) it starts in the kitchen.
More is not always better in the weight room.