There’s no free lunch, not in biology, not in physics, and not in life. In this vid I cover some of those realities with additional text/thoughts below the vid and offer some possible resources and additional thoughts.

8 time Mr Olympia Ronnie Coleman can hardly walk and is going through extensive rehab after multiples surgeries. PL legend Ed Cohen had double hip replacement a few years back ( and squatted 688×3 @ 50+ years old raw after his rehab!) which does not seem to have gotten much attention in the strength world. A bunch of strength athletes have needed various surgeries to repair extensive damage.

But if you ask Ronnie, or Ed, would they change anything? According to them no. Lesson here is, pushing the human body to its very edges of performance and tolerances can and often does come with a price. There’s fair amount people can do to reduce the risks, and or minimize the damage, but the human body will only take so much for some long. As Ronnie said on via his Intragram account:

So you guy’s still wanna be like me, you still want to have the same work ethic as I had? Well as you can see I’m 8 X Mr Olympia and I can’t walk. I endured an 11 hour major back surgery last Tuesday.”

But:

Do I have any regrets? If I had a chance to do it all over again would I change anything? Yes if I had a chance to do it all over again I would change one thing. That is when I squatted that 800lbs I would do 4 reps instead of 2, that is my only regret in my career. Those 2 reps I did still haunts me today because I know I had 4 in me but the coward in me only did 2. That is my only regret.

Here’s Ed discussing his surgery with Ryan Spencer:

 
Two, If you don’t learn to train smart vs hard as you age, expect an accumulation of injuries to put you out of the game at some point. Personally, while I have the utmost respect for that 0.1% of people like Ed and Ronnie who had the ability to take their training to where they did, I have no interest in that level of injuries to attain it. Your mileage may vary. But one can make excellent progress and reduce the risk of injuries, overtraining and other stuff best avoided if they learn to train smarter vs harder…
 
In addition to watching the vid I made above on that topic, here’s some additional thoughts, options, and resources toward training smarter and more science based that can increase your chances of staying in the game longer while reducing the risk of injuries that kill progress:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
4 Comments
  1. Howard Moore 5 years ago

    Another great little article by Will Brink. I should take cognizance of this, especially as I’m 71 years old and still training like the devil, but nothing has started falling off yet! Thanks Will.

  2. Michael English 5 years ago

    Hi Will, good reminder for everyone to do a personal reality check. I just had rotator cuff surgery for an injury while grappling. It may have been prompted by my doing 2-3 classes/night for 5 days in a row, rolling and sparring every night. While I may have been able to do that when I was younger, at 62 I don’t recover as quickly so I’ll have to reassess that as I rehab. When I first started lifting in at a karate club in the late 70‘s, we had the early Naulitus machines with pre-exhaust at every station. After a few months of that with very good gains, I hit a plateau so I switched to free weights and followed Mike Mentzer’s heavy Duty program. He also incorporated pre-exhaust, which I have stuck with because it works very well for me. As I aged, I grew to appreciate how it allows a muscle to be thoroughly worked using a lighter weight on the 2nd compound exercise and thus, is easier on the joints. Most of my injuries have come when I didn’t warm up sufficiently so going forward, when I am pressed for time, I will shorten the meat of the workout but not the warm up. I will also incorporate a lot more accessory and stabilizer training. Thanks again.

  3. makster 5 years ago

    Thanks for the vid Will. Luckily I’ll hit 60 this year with very few issues, but I can see where this could be a big issue for some.

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