Older Athlete Training and Injury

  • Creator
  • #81779

    Hey there:

    I’d like some expert opinion on how to train best over 50. I’ve blown my meniscus (which will require surgery) and have tennis elbow, both of which occurred from gym training and not from actually climbing. It’s frustrating.

    It seems that the training sequence (I’m doing Steve’s Eiger North Face plan) progresses faster than my connective tissue can keep up with. How can I do the sequence and avoid injury–but still be ready for my climb (Scotland mixed winter, end of Feb)?

    Christian Kiefer, age 52

  • Keymaster
    Jane Mackay on #81786

    I feel you 😉 I’m 53 and facing a similar question. I’ll let others chime in, but here are a some ideas to play around with based on my experience.

    – shift to a 3-week cycle: 2 build weeks, 1 recovery week.

    – add an extra recovery day each week — i.e. 2 in build weeks and 3 in recovery weeks — I am about to start doing this as of next week, and I’m excited about the possibility that I’ll be able to push harder in the workouts and thus get more out of each individual workout because the body will have more time to recover — you’d need to decide what to jetison, and that might change depending on where you are in the training cycle.

    – if you’re not already, be assiduous about mobility and stretching:

    a) for years I’ve done a 5-8 minute standing yoga routine EVERY morning that has been invaluable in preventing issues like lower back twinges. I also put standing balances in it (e.g. twisting half-moon, dancer pose) that give the body daily practice at alignment and balance on one leg while twisting into strange shapes 😉 I do not feel like doing this every morning, but the rule (it is a *rule*) is that I’m not allowed to get dressed until I’ve done the yoga routine. It’s worth it, every day.

    b) about a year ago I also introduced a nightly stretching routine following the principles outlined in this Huberman Lab episode (https://www.hubermanlab.com/episode/improve-flexibility-with-research-supported-stretching-protocols; written notes: https://www.hubermanlab.com/newsletter/stretching-protocols-to-increase-flexibility-and-support-general-health) This has had a significantly and noticeably beneficial effect on baseline mobility. In this case, I do the routine after I shower while the muscles etc. are still warm; and the rule here is that I’m not allowed to eat chocolate until I’ve done the stretching routine ;))

    I’m assuming that you’re also discussing this with your physio / physician.

    Hope that helps.

    Bruno Schull on #81812

    As another over 50 climber/athlete I’d like to second everything Jane said. I definitely take more rest days, but often they are active rest, like yoga, very light exercise, and so forth. To accomodate these workouts, or honor them, I record them in my diary with the special word “recovery.” It’s really important!

    I also have found it’s important to vary slow trail running/fast hiking with mountain biking–too much running or hiking begins to break down muy lower body joints. Hiking with a heavy pack is somehow less taxing, and a good compromise. But I still like to mix in plenty of mountian biking 🙂

    Tennis elbow is a chronic concern. In my expererience, it’s not the intense hard movements like ice tool hangs, it’s the everyday chronic movements, like too much time on the ski ergometer.

    Also, when I have a virus/cold/flu (or when I get a flu short of COVID vaccine) it flares up intensely for a couple of weeks.

    Working on all the counter-baslancing opposed pushing exercises (push ups, shoulder press) as well as eccentric bicep curls/lowers also helps.

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