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  1. #1
    Registered User brokenbutbold's Avatar
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    Lifting and being long-term injury free

    tldr; I'm generally happy about how I look, feel, and lift now but I'm worried that in 20 years my joints are going to ache every morning. What should be doing to prevent that while lifting hard?

    Essay;
    I'm 35 and a leanish 200lb (32 inch waist). I lift about 315/365/445 for the big three (3rm adjusted based on web calcs, discount as appropriate). I do a full body routine focused on compound exercises, alternating high and low rep days. I don't compete and I'm not especially attached to the big 3, I just enjoy pushing myself hard, man vs iron.

    I'd love to get a 1500lb total at a lean 220lb, which I'd guess is close to my natural genetic potential. However, I'm worried if I push for that I'll end up mired in injuries and regretting the whole endeavor 20/30 years from now. Anytime I set up to target a 1rm, I end up injuring myself and having to take a long time off.

    What should I be doing to keep working out 'challenging' and keep progressing while minimizing damage?

    - Avoid bulking and stay lean? (leaner -> weaker -> less injuries)

    - Keep rep ranges above 3? 5? 8???

    - Do lots of accessory work on external rotators?

    - Stretch and foam roll?

    - Avoid risky exercises?

    - Attempt to get strong at a variety of exercises, rather than the big 3?

    - Avoid attempting to "peak"?

    - Do a split rather than fullbody?

    - Listen to my body and proactively avoid trouble?

    I'm presently doing most of those to some extent, but I'm curious what I should be doing and what other people are doing.
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  2. #2
    Registered User Screwtape's Avatar
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    I like the Ed Coan approach of not maxing out in the gym, instead saving your max attempts for competition. Too many people try to 'test' their strength or lift for ego and end up injured.
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  3. #3
    Registered User BromanianDL's Avatar
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    Powerlifting has an injury rate of around 100%, going for a 1rm is risky. To be fair, in 20 years you are going to have joint pain no matter what. I read "The Gift of Injury" by Brian Carroll and Stuart McGill, and they say some things are not negotiable for long term health. One, do several warm up sets, and start with just the bar. Your joints take time to get blood into them and get warm. Two, use proper form and be serious even for the lightest weights. Three, you have to take rest days no matter what.

    My opinion is you should have a balanced routine. If you bench, then you should row. Also, knowing the difference between good pain and injury pain is important--which requires you to be extremely mindful.
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  4. #4
    In it for the gainz RestoringTally's Avatar
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    I first started lifting as a teenager. I am in my 60s now. I have had breaks from lifting, but rarely for more than a year or two at a time. I plan on lifting until I die.

    I like lifting. I find it enjoyable and not a chore.

    I alternate between following a program to build strength and/or size and just messing around in the gym. I have no idea what my 1RM is for any lift.

    My basic tenets include:

    No ego lifting.
    Maintain proper form, until you cannot.
    Do the basic lifts.
    Include a variety of accessory movements/exercises.
    Know my limits.
    Eat a good diet.
    Avoid extremes.
    Have fun in the gym.
    Do other stuff.

    As for other stuff:

    I do not foam roll.
    I do not regularly stretch.
    I don't do a lot of warmups
    I listen to my body.
    If I hurt something, I let it heal. (It's been years since I've hurt and taken time off.)
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  5. #5
    Registered User MDSal92's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BromanianDL View Post
    Powerlifting has an injury rate of around 100%, going for a 1rm is risky. To be fair, in 20 years you are going to have joint pain no matter what. I read "The Gift of Injury" by Brian Carroll and Stuart McGill, and they say some things are not negotiable for long term health. One, do several warm up sets, and start with just the bar. Your joints take time to get blood into them and get warm. Two, use proper form and be serious even for the lightest weights. Three, you have to take rest days no matter what.

    My opinion is you should have a balanced routine. If you bench, then you should row. Also, knowing the difference between good pain and injury pain is important--which requires you to be extremely mindful.
    I wouldn't say power lifting has a 100% injury rate. If your trying to max out every other day with bad form and steroids, yes, you will get hurt.

    If you are using correct volume, and a full range of motion, you will make your non vascular tissues stronger and less injury prone
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  6. #6
    Registered User DOMSPOWER's Avatar
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    Seeking advice on preventing pain in the future when you currently have no pain and talking about a preconceived genetic limit makes me curious if you're really asking the right questions, or if you just need to think more positively about yourself and your abilities.
    Go to my log and share something brutal i might wanna try: https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=177638011&p=1589549301#post1589549301
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  7. #7
    HVIII littlebones6's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by RestoringTally View Post
    I first started lifting as a teenager. I am in my 60s now. I have had breaks from lifting, but rarely for more than a year or two at a time. I plan on lifting until I die.

    I like lifting. I find it enjoyable and not a chore.

    I alternate between following a program to build strength and/or size and just messing around in the gym. I have no idea what my 1RM is for any lift.

    My basic tenets include:

    No ego lifting.
    Maintain proper form, until you cannot.
    Do the basic lifts.
    Include a variety of accessory movements/exercises.
    Know my limits.
    Eat a good diet.
    Avoid extremes.
    Have fun in the gym.
    Do other stuff.

    As for other stuff:

    I do not foam roll.
    I do not regularly stretch.
    I don't do a lot of warmups
    I listen to my body.
    If I hurt something, I let it heal. (It's been years since I've hurt and taken time off.)
    I 100% agree that you should have a central set of tenets that your training should focus around to promote longevity, health, and progress. This will ensure that you don't lose sight of the path.

    For me (and as a suggestion to OP):
    1. Save the 1RMs for planned testing and meets
    2. Use AMRAPs and other rep maxes to help gauge progress
    3. Use hypertrophy work to push big 3 progress and balance
    4. Perform cardiovascular activities to stay healthy and "in-shape"
    5. 80/20 nutrition planning, 80% clean, 20% for fun
    6. Manage other stressors in your life (for me, this is restorative yoga using lots of meditation)
    7. Have fun - once this goes you're toast

    OP, once you have your central tenets figured out, the program will fall into place.
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