I'm 51 and am not a climber or professional athlete but am committed ...


By: Gym Jones

I'm 51 and am not a climber or professional athlete but am committed to getting in some serious shape and staying there. What routines would you suggest as a progressive fitness regimen?


This is a slightly loaded question because "progressive" varies by individual and to truly know your starting condition would require one-on-one training. That said, the Three Month Foundation covers a lot of ground and by working through it you will learn the various movements and 1RMs needed to progress further. The movements and stresses are diverse enough to help correct imbalances and to expose the weak and strong areas, which will need more or less attention respectively in the future.

As presented in the introduction the example of the Three Month Plan you may download was executed by Maximus. The loads you can use and frequency with which you train will differ. It may take four or five months to work through all of the sessions - but that's OK. Do the work. Record the results. Notice things. This will set a foundation upon which you may build.

Below I have written out one of many possible ways to scale and adjust the first week of the plan to your own needs and equipment resources.

Day One:
10 minute Row @ Easy Pace
6-way BB Complex (6x Deadlift + 6x Row + 6x Hang Clean + 6x Front Squat + 6x Back Squat + 6x Push Press + 6x Push-up)
3 sets @ 75 ?????? 95#
OHS @ 35% of 1RM +
Ring Push-up
30-20-10 reps of each
Cool Down

This needs little scaling: adjust BB Complex weight to your needs, which could be 45# empty BB or 65#. Part of this Foundation plan is learning the movements and the appropriate loads. You may not know your OHS 1RM so again, test the water. Be aggressive but not greedy.

Day Two:
I might take a recovery day here: 45-75 minutes of low-impact aerobic activity @ easy pace

Day Three:
10 minute Row @ Easy Pace
Work up to Bench Press 1RM
6x2 Bench Press @ 80% 1RM
Rest 2 minutes between sets
Work up to Heavy TGU
4x1 (each) TGU @ 90% 1RM
8x (20sec Sprint/ 10sec Rest) AirDyne
Rest 2 minutes
8x (20sec Sprint/ 10sec Rest) AirDyne

You can do this as well, if you have the equipment. If you don't know the BP 1RM now is the time to learn - or get close enough with 3RM to make an accurate calculation to use for future percentages. For the TGU you can simply work up to a load that is tolerable with your non-dominant side and then execute the 4x1 (1 rep on each side per set). If you don't have an AirDyne a rowing machine or spin bike will do just fine. Don't be greedy during the opening intervals. Sandbag a little if you have to. Accelerate through them.

Day Four:
If recovered do the Wednesday workout from the plan. If not recovered, take a rest day or do a recovery workout similar to Day Two.

10 minute Row @ Easy Pace
5x Walking Lunge @ 2 x 53# DB + 5x Push Press @ 2 x 53# DB
50 Rounds

As written, this is the indoor variant - and done with an exceptionally heavy load - of a workout we often do at the track, which is 5x Walking Lunge + 5x Push Press for 400m. This can be done with 2x DBs 15-20# each, a empty barbell, a medicine ball, etc. Very strong medicine.

Day Five:
If you did the Lunge + PP session yesterday your legs might need a rest.

Day Six:
Do the Breathing Ladder scheduled for Thursday on the plan.
10 minute Row @ Easy Pace
KB Swing Breathing Ladder @ 53# KB

Use a lighter KB if necessary. This will depend on how well you know the movement, efficiency, back strength, etc.

Day Seven:
Full rest

Day Eight:
Start the week off right with the session originally scheduled for Friday the previous week.
10 min AirDyne @ easy pace
100x FSPP @ 45# +
100x Wall Ball @ 20# +
100x Ball Slam @ 20#
10 minute AirDyne as Active Rest
????AirDyne to Hell??????: Team AirDyne Ladder 50-40-30-20-10 calories

You can adjust this by using DBs to replace the BB for the FSPP, choose a lighter ball for the Wall Ball or Target Ball and same for the Ball Slam. If you don't have an AirDyne substitute a rowing machine and use the same calories for the target with each interval. If you use a spin bike you may have to adjust the calorie target but it will depend on how generously the bike awards the them. The first (50 cal) interval will take around five minutes if I recall correctly what I have seen on various spin bikes in gyms. If you don't have a partner to work while you rest then time how long your work interval took and rest 1:1 per interval.

Now, use the same ideas to adjust training intensity (load) and volume. Rest as you need to. You can only do what you can recover from. You could look ahead in each week and decide which workouts are important to you so you can protect them, i.e. recover beforehand so you do them with the maximum available resources. As an old guy myself I always obey the maxim, "When in doubt, rest." There is no pressure, no deadline. Stay healthy while improving your fitness and ultimately, health.

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