She began with simple hip hinges using the cable machine, then dumbbells, very light work, then pulls from the rack starting with 35kg, did that a second week, then added 2.5kg each week doing 3 sets of 5. After the first couple of weeks of learning the basics of the lift, none of the reps performed were a struggle. It was just "start easy, build up slowly." We'd reached 57.5kg and yesterday was supposed to be the 60kg day. The original plan was to then slow down, and over the next couple of months work up to 70-75kg in the rack, then try 60kg on the floor.
However, the rack was occupied and one of the other staff had brought his bumper plates in, so we tried 40kg from the floor. Then 45, then 50, 55, all went smoothly. 57.5kg went up but she didn't lock it out, blamed her gloves. I had her take them off and chalk up, and it went up smoothly.
"Want to try 60kg? Confident with that?" I asked.
And it was.
|"Stronger people are more useful in general, |
and harder to kill."
- Mark Rippetoe
She'd brought her camera in that day, saying that at her school they were doing presentations, "Mine will be on resilience, physical strength and the process of getting it are part of resilience." I guess having the camera encouraged me to try out her "sorta max", but I also felt that after 18 weeks of solid work it'd be safe to try out.
Built up over 18 weeks. Deadlifted more than her bodyweight.
No more bad back.
I'm not claiming this as a remarkable lift, I'm sure someone will post saying their 98 year old grandmother deadlifts three plates a side. But I think that if you can deadlift your own bodyweight consistently into your 60s and beyond, a lot of other physical issues will be better, and you'll continue to be independent and have a fairly good quality of life.
The key thing has been her consistency. Never missed a session, only rescheduled one session to support her daughter in a running race. And each week she comes in Sunday 10am, does our workout, during the week comes in 2-3 times and repeats whatever we did, then the following Sunday we increase the weight or reps, or introduce a new exercise. Consistent effort over time gets results.
Everyone has physical limits. I don't think Rosemary will ever deadlift 160kg, for example. But not many women in their 60s going to gyms deadlift 60kg, either. Nor even women in their 20s. Consistent effort over time gets results, but consistent effort over time is very difficult to do. Not many people will come into the gym, accept guidance, plan their lives around their workouts rather than fitting in the workouts when they happen to feel like it, be willing to focus on quality movement, start easy and build up slowly but steadily, each week doing just a few more kilograms or a few more repetitions.
This is not my achievement, Rosemary's the one who had to show up and lift all those weights, I just guided her. Consistent effort over time is difficult. But the results are worth it. What could you achieve if you were consistent? Certainly you'd get stronger, fitter and more mobile - and more resilient.