Weightlifting & Exercise/age-appropriate intensity
Dear Mr. Hammer,
I know that you are an advocate of "heavy" low-rep training on compound exercises, and I have always, more or less, been one myself. But what I am finding as I age, is that I can't sustain that type of training without accumulated inflammation and injuries. I have tried to lower the volume and increase rest between sessions, but the heavy loads seem to be the problem. For me to make progress, I find that I have to work to failure (or near failure). I am always reading that this is a mistake, because working to failure leads to overtraining more rapidly, but I just don't seem to make satisfactory progress with submaximum loads and non-failure protocols. With the latter, I just fall into a cycle of doing the same weights over and over again, and am unable to add reps or increase the weight. What would you recommend?
if you are training to "failure", I assume you're lifting SUBMAXIMAL weights anyway. I think you need to pay attention to your body, do what makes YOU feel right. The initial so-called "high intensity" workouts to failure, had the lifter workout once a week or once every 10 days. so recovery is built into that protocal, it's just that gym nuts can't wait for recovery and go overtrain anyway. My method is to lift for the specific quality you're after.
what does lifting that lighter weight to failure do for you? You mentioned adding reps or increasing the weight, that's a good mindset. here is another consideration, "power" or SPEED.
I just did a cycle wherin I did pushpresses off the rack & snatchgrip deadlift/pulls, and worked up to a maximum in singles, once a week for 9 weeks, then I lowered the weight and pulled it higher, I did this until I was able to clean the weight, then I started muscle-snatching it overhead as the singular lift in my workout, then I started adding weight until I had to powerclean the weight, and then to where I had to squatclean it & push it overhead with my whole body. there is always a way to progress, just be creative, use sound technique and a balanced approach..and RECOVER between workouts. most importantly, use the methods that work best for YOU.