Saturday, September 9, 2017

The Three Cornerstones of Geezer Weightlifting - Matt Foreman (2014)

Articles by Matt Foreman at Catalyst Athletics: 


[Note: This is a very small excerpt from the book above. I can't recommend it highly enough!]


by Matt Foreman

1) Thou Shalt Be Forced to Train Differently When You're Older

Seriously, I just can't believe how many people never seem to figure this out. To my way of thinking, this one is so elementary and obvious that I almost hesitate to write about it. It's the weightlifting version of common sense. But there are a lot of people out there (and I know I'm stepping on some toes with this) who just won't accept the facts. Here's what I mean:

 - When you are young, your body is in a certain condition and capable of certain things. 

 - When you are old, your body is in a different condition and it's no longer capable of the same things. 

 - Because this is true, you have to train differently when you're old. You have no choice. 

And despite how clear and indisputable those concepts are, the O-Lifting graveyard is still littered with casualties who could have had exciting masters careers if they just would have accepted the truth. Instead of acceptance, they made a decision to live like superhuman terminators of power, and they kept training in their 30s and 40s the same way they used to in their 20s. Actually, I should correct that sentence. They TRIED to keep training in their 30s and 40s the same way they used to train in their 20s, and their bodies went kaplooey. Injuries forced them out of the sport, and it was their own damn fault. 

I think this mindset comes partially from all the hyper-inspirational media advertising we get bombarded with on a daily basis. We see these NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE advertising slogans from Nike or Reebok or whoever, accompanied by a photo of a leper with no hands paddling a kayak down a raging river. Commercials come on TV with dramatic piano music playing in the background where we see a 20-second documentary of somebody who got hit by a train an diagnosed with eight types of cancer, and then went on to win the New York Marathon. You feel like a lazy turd compared to these people. In other words, the world we live in today tries to convince all of us that we can overcome any obstacle. They want us to believe the rules of normal limitations don't apply to us. And by the way, you need to buy the new Jordans to accomplish these things. 

This stuff is awesome, admittedly. Little bits of motivation are great fuel for our lives, and I'm not dissing them. Hell, some of you might have decided to try masters weightlifting because of how excited you got from watching that leper in the kayak. In that case . . . excellent! 

However, the flip side of this phenomenon is that many people reject the idea that they have any limits at all. That can get you into scary territory. You see, there's a sensitive balance between courage and stupidity. Being a competitive athlete in your older years is courageous. Refusing to accept the facts of basic biology is stupid. I really, really hope you understand this. I might sound like I'm overdoing the world's most obvious facts, but I realize some of you are hard chargers who don't want to back off. You're stubborn, which is a good thing. But it can get you in some trouble if you don't blend it with intelligence.

Age WILL put limitations on you. It won't limit your spirit or determination, but it will limit the amount of strength and power your muscles can generate. It will limit your ability to recover quickly from hard workouts. It will limit the elasticity of your tendons and ligaments. And because of this, you simply have to smarten up and concede, at some point, that you'll have to train differently as your birthdays pile up. Ignore this rule at thy peril.

2) Thou Shalt Be Forced to Back Off When You're Older 

Obviously this is a continuation of cornerstone #1. We first establish that you're going to have to do things differently when you're older. From there, we establish that "doing things differently" means you're going to have to do LESS. It's like the Ten Commandments in the Bible, where they tell you not to commit adultery . . . and then later they tell you not to covet your neighbor's wife. You get ten rules for living your life, and two of them are about sexual indiscretions. Likewise, the Three Cornerstones of Geezer Weightlifting have some overlap too. #1 basically bleeds into #2.

Backing off, brothers and sisters. That's all we're talking about here. If you want to make it through the long haul in O-Lifting, you'll have to learn to pull back on a lot of things. Volume, intensity, frequency . . . all of it. And as we mentioned already, this is a challenge to your pride and enthusiasm.

When you're older, your athletic life means a lot more to you than it does when you're young. You understand that you're very lucky to even still be healthy enough to lift weights in your old age. You treasure your training because it's one of the best parts of your day. The thought of losing it scares the crap out of you. Because it means so much, you want to enjoy it to the fullest. That means you want to train hard and often.

You won't make it as a masters weightlifter if you don't find a way to pull back on how hard and often you train. You could train hard six days a week when you were a kid? Gotcha. You might have to train moderately two of three days a week when you're old. You don't believe me? Fine, keep going full blast and see how long you last. You probably won't break down right away, but it'll happen eventually. As sure as God made little red apples, you'll break down. When you're young, it takes a lot of self-discipline to train hard all the time. When you're old, it takes as lot of self-discipline to stay OUT of the gym when you need to. 

3) Thou Shalt Be Forced to Pay More Attention to Nutrition and Taking Care of Your Body When You're Older.  

Can you believe some of the things you got away with when you were a kid? Did any of you party a lot when you were young, maybe in your college years or whatever? Remember when you could hit the bar until 2 a.m., get hammered drunk off your ass, crawl home and get four hours of sleep . . . and then train like a maniac the next day? Does that ring a bell? 

I know some of you might come from very strict backgrounds where you didn't really have any wild days. If you're a Mormon, the wild phase of your life might have been the years when you stayed out until 11:30 p.m., drank caffeinated soda, and skipped family home evening once a month. If that's your story, it's cool.

But for those of you (like me) who went full-tilt boogie back in the day, isn't it crazy to think how resilient your body was back then? You could defile yourself in a variety of creative ways, and you would still be feeling great and ready to rock by noon the next day. And that's just talking about the drinking and lack of sleep. We haven't even looked at nutrition yet.

Remember when you could eat anything you wanted, with almost no consequences? I'm talking about the days when your dinner could be a box of greasy tacos and burritos from Taco Bell, with some chocolate Ding Dongs for dessert, and it wouldn't change anything about you. You wouldn't get fat and flabby, and your stomach could digest that garbage without a hitch. Now it's different, right? When you're old, try going out and stringing together a bunch of Taco Bell and Ding Dong dinners. You spend the rest of the night having a turbulent relationship with your toilet, and the extra fat and sugar hits your ass like a cottage cheese cannonball. 

Things hurt a lot more when you're old too. Now we understand why our dads grunted like rhinos when they got up from their recliners. Their bodies were achy, and now yours is too. It wasn't like that when you were a kid. If you got hurt, it only lasted for a short time. If you had an injury, it went away pretty quickly unless it was a broken bone or something like that. Now, injuries stick around for a nice long visit. A muscle pull that would have been gone in three days when your were 22 will bug you for three weeks when you're 50.

You can't get away from this. And if it makes you feel any better, you can't get away from it even if you don't lift weights. As we've mentioned, most of the decrepit old farts limping around the world didn't get that way from hard training. They got that way from doing nothing. So if you're going to be in pain anyway, you might as well get strong and have some big muscles along the way. However, you'll have to clean things up if you want to make your weightlifting last. Diet, hydration, injury prevention, taking care of your body . . . those things will have to become a much bigger part of your life. If you address them intelligently, you'll probably feel a lot better. We'll cover them later, after we talk about what you need to do with the barbell . . . 

Table of Contents

Overview of Olympic Weightlifting

Section One: Addressing Prior Notions of Age in Weightlifting
Masters Weightlifting Questions and Facts
Masters World Records: The Facts About What's Physically Possible
Basic Physiology: A Necessary Concession
Different Bodies, Common Decisions

Section Two: Physical Assessment, Prior Training, and Injury History
Training Background
Injury and Physical History
A Change in Your Mentality

Section Three: Coaching and Lifting
Is Coaching Necessary at Your Age? 
Learning Olympic Weightlifting Technique
Learning the Snatch
Learning the Clean
Learning the Jerk

Section Four: Programming and Training
The Three Cornerstones of Geezer Weightlifting
Programming Phase One: Proper Warm-up and Preparation
Programming Phase Two: Exercise Selection
Programming Phase Three: Workout Exercise Order
Programming Phase Four: Weekly Structure
Programming Phase Five: Training Analysis of Elite Masters Lifters
Programming Phase Six: Sample Training Programs
Programming Phase Seven: Weekly Loading and Weight Selection
Programming Phase Eight: Post-Workout Stretching

Section Five: Pain Management and Injury Prevention
Performance-Enhancing Drugs
Therapeutic Exercises and Prehab
Massage Therapy and Chiropractic
NSAIDs and Painkillers
Supportive Equipment

Section Six: Resolution and Attitude
Training Program for 2012 American Masters Championship
Training Program for 2008 American Open 
Training Program for 2009 Garden State Games 

Also by Matt Foreman: 

Bones of Iron is a collection of articles by Matt Foreman that appeared in the Performance Menu journal between 2008 and 2011 along with a few new pieces of material.

Foreman's background in Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting and coaching multiple sports gives him unique perspective and insights into a wide array of elements not only of strength training and competition, but all athletic pursuits and life itself.

The chapters are rife with as much humor as helpful training information, and Foreman covers topics ranging from practical guidelines for designing training programs to personal experiences with training and competition.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive