About 20 weeks after getting his left knee replaced, Steve is effortlessly crouching down for a full range of motion deadlift (video here: https://www.instagram.com/p/B34KdSAjeVJ/). Albeit light, we’ve now reincorporated box squat, split stance, deadlift, and a variety of other structural lifts (which he couldn’t perform well even before becoming a surgical candidate) into the mix.
Many injuries, degenerative conditions, and accumulated damage can make function and movement seem like an impossible artifact of our youth which we’ll never regain, especially in our 60s or 70s. But through intelligent progressions and consistent strengthening, we can become more fit, more functional, more pain free, than we were long ago.
People notice an ache or a tweak in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and say “this shouldn’t be a problem; it never bothered me before.” Au contraire, it was always gathering momentum, building damage, to the day you finally took notice. Organs, limbs, joints may degrade from 100% integrity and you notice nothing. They may degrade to 90% and you notice nothing. They may gradually erode to 70% of optimal function and you still notice nothing. In fact, this happens with kidney function, pancreatic function, heart function, brain function, and liver function with a lot of people all the time.
Likewise, we can build the body up beneficially in ways which may not be that noticeable today. In the same way you may not notice an erosion from 100% to 65% when gradual, you'll likely not notice the improvement from 65% to 68% even if rapid. But one day, when all your peers are bedridden and incapable of ascending a flight of stairs, you’ll notice the sum of your training.