I’m 65, and though I’ve
been able to stave off the worst of what normally passes for the
“aging process”—as can almost anyone by paying attention to
how you eat, sleep, train, move, and live—the fact remains that
I’m not training like I used to.
It’s not so much that I’m “losing” a step, although it
happens to the best of us. It’s that I’ve totally transcended
the need or desire to train hard for the sake of training hard.
There are no more competitions. My ego is content on the training
front. I’m not wrapped up in pounds lifted or miles run.
I get regular questions about what I do for workouts and how
they’ve changed over time. Today I thought I’d answer this.
Miami has a fantastic gym culture with impressive facilities to
support it. I almost have to go the gym. It’s something I still
enjoy. I just make it count.
I’ve managed to compress my time in the gym with “super-sets”
for each exercise.
These aren’t always super-sets where you’re bouncing between
the squat rack and the bench press every other set. The kind of
super-set I’m talking about is a rest-pause super-set. I try to
hit between 12-20 total reps—that’s my goal—in three
mini-sets with minimal rest. The super-set is broken up into three
subsets with very short rest periods.
An example: Deadlift, 9 reps. Rest 30 seconds. Deadlift, 6 reps.
Rest 30 seconds. Deadlift, 4 reps. You’re done. That’s a total
of 19 reps. Once I hit 20, I’m adding weight.
Why I like this method:
- Over fast. I get in, get a great workout, and get out.
- No meandering and wasting time between sets. There are hard
rules (30-second rests) that I must follow.
- Hard to go heavy enough to hurt yourself. If you’re doing
15-20 reps with little rest, by necessity the weight you use needs
to be manageable.
- But heavy and intense enough to produce benefits. I know, I
know, feeling sore the next day isn’t a good barometer of how
effective the workout was. That’s what they say, but everyone
secretly loves and craves the feeling of DOMS. Really makes you
feel like you did something worthwhile.
I’ve fallen in love with the trap bar.
At this point in the game, I don’t need to hit PRs on the
straight bar deadlift. Trap bars
just feel safer, more natural, more versatile. Some great
possibilities (many of which I throw in) include:
Trap Bar Deadlift With Squat Bias—Deadlifts
with more knee flexion, almost a half squat.
Trap Bar Romanian Deadlift—Knees soft but
mostly straight, almost a straight leg deadlift with or without
touching the floor in between reps.
Trap Bar Power Shrug—Deadlift at a pretty
good clip, explode upward and shrug the bar. Almost like you’re
jumping without leaving the ground.
Trap Bar Squat—Squat down, grasp bar, stand
up, repeat. Stack some weights and stand on them for added range of
Trap Bar Split Squat—Stand inside the
hexagon, place foot on elevated surface (1.5 ft, about) behind you,
perform a split squat, wake up sore.
Trap Bar Row—Stand inside the hexagon, bend
over at the waist, row that bar up toward your belly.
The average person can get 90-95% of the benefits using a trap
bar instead of a straight bar. Maybe higher, even.
I lift for a different purpose now.
As for the weights I use, now that my PR days are behind me, I
lift to avoid injury now more than anything. That means knowing
what “heavy” really is and backing down a hair. I’ll do one
or two upper body days, and one leg day each week. That’s it.
Two, maximum three strength sessions.
I base my workouts around standup paddling and Ultimate Frisbee
Both of these are stressful enough (in a good way) that I want
to be rested for (and from) those activities before I engage in a
lifting session. Just to be clear, I play Ultimate all-out for up
to two hours, so it’s become my sprint day.
The Miami Ultimate Frisbee scene is very
high-level. I’ve fallen in with a regular pickup squad,
and the level of competition rivals Malibu’s. So, that aspect of
my activity hasn’t changed. I’m still getting my one day of
Ultimate a week.
If I’m feeling up to it, Miami beaches are fantastic for
sprints. You don’t go as fast because the sand is so powdery, but
it makes you work even harder.
Miami has also really changed how I spend time with my favorite
activity, standup paddling.
In Malibu, it was a bit wilder. I’d head out past the breakers
and paddle in any direction. It was huge, free, open, and
In Miami, you have the ocean side which is great and
much calmer than Malibu, but you also have these inland waterways,
like huge canals running through Miami. I’ve been
spending a ton of time exploring them, checking out the beautiful
homes and boats and even the occasional manatee popping up. And
because it’s so calm, I can really go hard without worrying about
waves. While paddling is fun, I go pretty hard for at least an hour
and up to 90 minutes, so it’s a serious aerobic day for me.
I walk more.
I can walk so much more in Miami. In Malibu, I had to drive
somewhere to walk, whether it was a trail head for a hike, down to
the beach for a stroll, or to Venice or Santa Monica to just
wander. In Miami, Carrie and I can walk out the door and go
the market, the water, the book store, the cafe, or just
wander. It’s integrated into our day, not something we
have to schedule. People don’t really think of Miami as a
‘walking city,” and it’s certainly no New York or San
Francisco, but it beats the pants off Southern California.
Trap bar, rest-pause sets, and environment aside, what I train
hasn’t changed all that much. I’m still lifting heavy things,
running really fast, moving frequently at a slow pace, and doing
activities I love. But somehow I’m doing a better job of
seamlessly integrating them into my daily existence. I’ve
minimized the amount of time I spend lifting without compromising
my results. I’m using my compressed training to fuel the
activities I love doing, giving me more time that’s also higher
A lot of this could be the simple result of moving somewhere new
after living in the same city for twenty years, sort of a honeymoon
phase. We’ll see. My workouts here are even more a part of my
general lifestyle. They’re, for the most part, parts of my life
rather than interruptions to it, which is the ancestral model at
its modern best maybe. That’s how I choose to see it.
Thanks for stopping by today, folks. I’d love to read your
feedback and questions and hear what new routines you’re trying
out. Take care.