Ready to hit the gym today to increase your health and
longevity? But, what about that tender elbow or stiff knee? Do
you have a goal to increase your bench press, but a dull ache
in shoulder has you backing off the resistance level, rather
that adding more weight? Have you read about the benefits of
intense cardiovascular activities such as running, but fear
your already aching joints and tendons can't take the pounding
day after day?
Diane and Rich,
Hi folks. Rich Thomas here. ISSA trainer from Erie, Pa. I
am sorry to hear about your shoulder problems. And it begs a
question that I have been thinking about lately. I know many
older gym rats that have various orthopedic problems
(including me). I have to ask the question. WHY!! Are our
bodies trying to tell us something? Are we pushing too hard?
All the media hype says lift heavy for mass. If you don't
squat heavy your a wuss.
I am slowly rethinking my own workouts with longevity in
mind. Trying to get a better handle on basic mechanics of
movement and ROM that is normal and safe. What is your take?
Heal well friends.
The team of Baldwin and Fields has been plagued with
shoulder problems this year. And it is the nature of these
types of injuries that helped me to create the company,
Legendary Fitness, LLC, to meet the special exercise and
nutritional needs of the baby boomer population. While our
bodies are going through physiological changes due to aging,
exercise and nutrition can help ward off more than 200 age
My mission was to fill the void of information in
addressing how baby boomers can avoid and/or reduce the number
of injuries and also to deal with how to work around the
injuries, if and when they should occur. Richard started
following some of my initial work and shortly thereafter
signed on to help me spread the message of health, fitness,
longevity and quality of life after the age of forty here on
the babyboomers section on Bodybuilding.com.
Let's get personal for a moment and talk about our injuries
that put both of us under the surgeon's knife for shoulder
surgery this year.
Diane's Injury. A massive complete rupture of the
supraspinatus tendon from a fall. This was a 12-year-old
injury that went undiagnosed despite medical attention. As a
result, the tendon was retracted more than three inches,
resulting in a lengthy recovery, giving the tendon time to
stretch to allow my arm to go back down at my side.
Significant levels of arthritis have set in.
Diane's Updated Condition. At seven months postop,
I'm back to the gym, giving 100% effort. Muscle building
efforts have been very effective and I'm back to pre-surgical
lifting levels on 90-95% of all exercises. Areas of difficulty
remain hanging leg raises and machines where the weight is on
the shoulder area. Hack squats and standing calf raises are
still out of my routine.
Richard's Injury. Although the MRI showed one tear in
the supraspinatus, the surgeon found two, with one medium size
and one large tear. Also, a massive tear in the labrum and
partial tears in other cuff tendons were repaired.
Degeneration was noted in the effected areas and in the groove
of the head of the biceps tendon, which was repaired several
Richard's Updated Condition. At one week out, he's back
at work! Stitches come out at the end of the week. He's
heading to the gym, as I write for a leg workout, using
machines and getting his gym buddies to load the plates on the
leg press machine. It will be a few months before he can begin
to lift with the affected shoulder.
Ok, Rich. Now, let's discuss fellow baby boomer gym rats
and even those that never engage in physical fitness. What's
going on with our bodies as we age?
We've mentioned some of the obvious changes in previous
articles, so here's a quick recap with the link to additional
Physiological changes after the age of 40:
- Loss of muscle mass
- Less elasticity
- Range of motion diminishes
- Joints stiffen
- Hormonal fluctuations
- Metabolic slowdown
- Loss of bone density
- Reduction of endurance
- Injuries happen!
While these changes do occur, all of the mentioned
physiological changes can be eliminated or have reduced risk
rates through exercise. In addition, exercise will reduce the
severity of the physiological change or injury.
Injuries happen! Let's take a closer look. The termed
Boomeritis has been coined by the American Academy of
Orthopedic Surgeons, because of the alarming rate at which
baby boomers were seeking medical attention for sports related
injuries such as sprains, strains, arthritis, stress
fractures, bursitis and tendonitis.
Should we stop to avoid injuries? Or should we become a
wuss because we avoid heavy squats?
Hell NO! What we need to do is rethink our strategies so
that we can be lifting in our 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond. And
now, here's the Legendary Fitness, LLC key to the baby boomer
exercise strategy. You need to implement the strategy!
The Babyboomers Guide To Lifetime Lifting & Fitness:
- Rest! Longer recovery times are required, so work
efficiently while in the gym and then get home and recover
- Get adequate amounts of sleep.
- Never sacrifice form for weight! (This is a popular
strategy that many of the younger bodybuilding.com writers
will employ; I can see you nodding your heads in agreement.
We are older…. and wiser. Use that wisdom!)
- Supplement properly with anti-oxidants to aid in the
reduction of free radicals. More on this in our next
- Keep stress levels in check.
- Eat nutritious meals of real food. Lean protein,
moderate amounts of complex carbohydrates and low levels of
- Supplement with high quality protein. EAS, Met-Rx and
AST whey and MRPs are stocked in our pantry at all times.
- Avoid exercises that aggravate a tender area. Those with
shoulder and neck problems should avoid behind the neck
pulldowns, for example.
- If you do have an injury, work with a personal trainer
with a certification in Fitness Therapy or Special
Populations. A trainer with a good background in injury
prevention and/or injury rehabilitation will help get you
back on your feet quickly, as they know how to change the
angles of the exercise which allow you to work the desired
muscle group even with limitations.
- Overtraining should be avoided.
- While we all acknowledge that progressive resistance
training is the quickest means to muscle mass, our aging
bodies need periodization techniques to avoid injury!
Rich, like you, I have a close relationship with ISSA. As a
Master Trainer, Specialist in Fitness for Older Adults and
Specialist in Performance Nutrition, I've had the good fortune
to work with many people with special needs in the gym and the
opportunity to study the science of aging. It's become my
mission to help baby boomers redefining aging through exercise
In that quest for knowledge, I like you, question the
injury rates. If exercise reduces or eliminates the risk of
age and weight related disorders, then why are injuries a side
effect of exercise?
In addition to weekend warrior syndrome, improper form,
inadequate sleep and recovery periods, poor nutrition and
supplementation and overtraining, some degenerative changes
are ignored. While enough baby boomers are finding their way
into emergency rooms, health care workers are in agreement,
that many do not seek medical attention. We'll do more in a
future article on degenerative changes that occur from lack of
medical attention and excess weight in a future article.
So, Rich, are you a wuss if you don't squat heavy? No way!
I'll expect to see some heavy squats as part of an overall
periodization program long after the baby boomer generation
redefines the aging process.
Copyright 2003. Diane Fields, Member.
Legendary Fitness, LLC. All rights reserved.