So You’re a Masters Athlete with Injuries. So What.
by: Michael Miller
Get Your Helath Checked Out
You must have a full examination from a physician before beginning any strength training program to ensure that you don’t have a rare condition, of which you are unaware, that would prevent you from engaging in strength training. Once you’ve gotten that out of the way, it’s time to begin.
With the guidance of a physical therapist or qualified and experienced personal trainer, you should have no problem lifting weights, getting stronger and losing excess body fat. Also, through research of your own on the internet—including forums such as those at bodybuilding.com—you can piece together a solid strength-training program that works around your injuries. Putting your internet research into practice, you can determine what works and what does not work given your particular set of circumstances.
Find Training Alternatives
Most strength training programs for men over 50 are based on the basic lifts such as: the back squat, deadlift, bench press, and pull-ups. It’s relatively simple to find an alternative exercise that trains the same muscle group as the primary exercise, but does not aggravate your injury. Older trainees frequently seek out the resistance machines that cover much of the floor at large gyms. You’ll see personal trainers and their clients using everything from cables, to what look like large rubber bands, to dumbbells and kettlebells, as well as physio balls and other balancing equipment. There are even ways to incorporate household items such as chairs and walls into your workout.
Alternatives to Popular Exercises
- Squat – Front squat, leg press machine, split squat, Bulgarian split squat, single leg leg-press, lunge, walking lunge, trap bar deadlift
- Deadlift – Romanian deadlift, cable pull-through, glute-ham raise, reverse hyperextension, good morning
- Bench press – push-ups, weighted push-ups, decline dumbbell bench, dips, dumbbell or cable chest flies
- Pull-ups – Cable pull-downs, band-assisted pull-ups, bodyweight row
Lesser Known Alternative Exercises
- Partial Repetitions – You perform the regular exercise but you limit the range of motion to avoid aggravating your injury
- Occlusion training – Placing a strap around a muscle at certain places and tightening it stops blood from leaving the muscle. Performing an exercise while wearing a tightened strap causes the release of muscle-building compounds. This intense form of exercise leads to muscle growth even when using relatively low weights, therefore allowing you to build your physique without further harming yourself.
What If My Injuries Prevent Me from Doing Any Of The Above Exercises?
A skilled personal trainer, physical therapist, or sports rehabilitation specialist should be able to guide you through a series of movements that stimulate your muscles without causing you more harm. For example, it is possible to add resistance to movements in a swimming pool. As a last resort, you can stimulate your muscles through isometric contractions. That means that you contract the target muscle and hold it for a set length of time.
Now It’s Time to Go Train
Start at your doctor’s office. If needed, find a physical therapist or qualified personal trainer to develop a program with you that works around your injuries. None of that sounds good to you? Put on your water wings, hop in the pool, and do multiple arm and let movements known as hydrotherapy.