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Weight training for senior citizens: My dad wants to get on it (Read 483 times)


fear the Col Sanders

    Paging Tchuck et al:

     

    I consider myself pretty well versed in free weights but I am a little confused with this problem.  My dear old dad (73 years young) realizes he needs to start doing some resistance training.  He is an active guy (loves his garden in the summer and does a brisk 30 minute walk just about every day) but he has never lifted.

     

    I realize that he will probably need to use the machines at the gym but I'm still not sure which ones would be best for him.  I normally stay away from most of them and I have no idea about 70+ year olds lifting.

     

    So... thoughts on a good whole body type of workout?  Thoughts on which machines would be good?  I realize we need to ease him slowly into this so I'm hoping for some input.

     

    Thanks for the help!

    Just because I look dumb doesn't mean I'm not...


    Queen of 3rd Place

      Many years ago I volunteered to teach strength training for senior women at the Y. The women responded well, most of them weren't particularly active, I was impressed!  More recently, I have read scientific papers describing data showing that people in their 70s, 80s and up make nice strength gains with resistance exercise.

       

      Proceed the same way you would for any beginner, start with ridiculously light weights so you can make sure he does the movement correctly, gradually add sets and weight. I'm a big believer in free weights and multiple-joint movements but have not studied weight training for a long time. With your dad being so active, moving around the garden and all, I would think he's a good candidate for at least trying the free weights. Maybe it's something you can do together, how cool would that be?

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        I don't have any experience with weights, but it seems to me that 70+ year olds have the same muscles, tendons, and bones as anybody else.

         

        That said, I have had discussions with a bodybuilder.  Anybody, regardless of age, starting weightlifting should get advice from an experienced weightlifter to learn correct technique to prevent injury.

        DoppleBock


          Not sure - The main thing that happens as we age is it is harder to build muscle - Sure it can be done, just a slow process.  It also takes longer to recover.

           

          Whatever he does I would suggest 50% effort the 1st couple weeks with concentration on proper form.  Then slow increase the effort while he continues to focus on proper form.  I would not ever suggest 100% effort for his age ~ maybe work up to 80% effort.

          http://a-big-horse.blogspot.com/ 

          2013 Goals ~ Mar < 3:00, 5M < 29, 10k < 35  

           


          Old , Ugly and slow

            There are people who still compete in powerlifting past 80.

            If he gardens he may still have good flexibility which is important in lifting

            I would start out with deadlifts and over head press and a few more moves.

            I agree start light and learn good form.

            pr's 5k 20.08, 5 mile 31:20, 10k  41.19  all done in the 80's

             

            2014goals   1300  miles  , 190 pounds , deadlift 400 touch my toes


            A Saucy Wench

              I agree, no reason to stick to machines.  The benefit of machines is reduced risk of doing something like dropping the weights, however by only training in one plane of motion you dont develop the stabilizer muscles that truly protect your joints....something even MORE important in seniors.  I would rather see a senior lifting 5 lbs overhead press with dumbbells than 25 lbs with a machine.

               

              Plus, my personal experience is that while you have reduced risk of certain acute (instant) injuries with machines, you have higher risk of chronic injuries from either muscle imbalance or the machines not matching your personal mechanics.

               

              You really cant beat pushups, squats, deadlift and pullups (or pulldowns as the more intro friendly) for a good basic full body.  Focus on range of motion and proper form and no straining.

              I have become Death, the destroyer of electronic gadgets

               

              "When I got too tired to run anymore I just pretended I wasnt tired and kept running anyway" - dd, age 7

                Paging Tchuck et al:

                 

                I consider myself pretty well versed in free weights but I am a little confused with this problem.  My dear old dad (73 years young) realizes he needs to start doing some resistance training.  He is an active guy (loves his garden in the summer and does a brisk 30 minute walk just about every day) but he has never lifted.

                 

                I realize that he will probably need to use the machines at the gym but I'm still not sure which ones would be best for him.  I normally stay away from most of them and I have no idea about 70+ year olds lifting.

                 

                So... thoughts on a good whole body type of workout?  Thoughts on which machines would be good?  I realize we need to ease him slowly into this so I'm hoping for some input.

                 

                Thanks for the help!

                 

                I don't see why he shouldn't just do free weights really light.  Will you be there with him?  One thing that I always enjoyed was lifting weights with my brother after we both graduated college.  We would do the same free weight routine.

                 

                You two could workout together, because it might be a lot of fun.

                  If you know your way around a weight room I would start him out with squats and deadlifts. The main reason for people not to do these is poor technique, but if you can teach him then it's fine. As with anyone starting out go easy on the weights for a few weeks at least just to get used to the action. Then you can figure out what's a good weight for him to lift.

                   

                  Lots of people seem to think that they should not do weights because they're "not strong enough".... but there's a bit of a catch-22 problem there Smile

                    I found a book in the library with a name like "Weight training for those over 50"  something like that- had lots of good suggestions. Basically start with small weights- it had recommendations based on age and some strength tests.

                     

                     

                    MTA: Strength training past 50 - Wescott & Baechle


                    fear the Col Sanders

                      Thanks for the feedback.  Great suggestions.  I am a big fan of free weights + compound movements.  I guess I wasn't sure how it would go with straight to free weights.  I will start him with the basics: squats, deads, presses of sorts, etc.  I am, however, wondering if he should start with rack pulls instead of full dead lifts but we shall see.

                       

                      Part of my reasoning for starting with the machines is that they are less inhabited by bicep monkeys.  I think my dad may get uncomfortable around the younguns.  As an aside, one of my gym favorites is waiting for the squat rack because there is some kid doing bicep curls in the rack.

                       

                      I really hope he takes to it.  I think it would be totally fun to get some lifting in with him.  Major fish out of water for him but I'll cross my fingers.

                       

                      Thanks again.

                      Just because I look dumb doesn't mean I'm not...

                      MonkeyBunny


                        Check if your dads medical plan includes Silver Sneakers. its free and offered by the YMCA and the classes are geared towards seniors.

                         

                        When was his last physical?

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                          I assist with senior weight training at the gym/pool where I work. We use both machines and free weights. Starting super light, and making sure of good form, is how we do everyone. First time with a particular exercise, they do one set, 8 reps, and see how it feels. The goal is a comfortable challenge - soreness and pain are not good. We work up to 1 set of 15 reps. When that's easy, we add a second set, starting with 8 reps. Once two sets of 15 reps are easy, then we up the weight, and drop back to 8-12 reps. Going for 15 reps is light enough for an overall workout, since we meet twice a week, and that way don't have to worry about upper body/lower body, etc. We always end with abs and gentle stretching. Most of the workouts also have several balance routines in them - very important, the older we get. I glad your dad wants to start!

                          Marathons are habit-forming...

                          "I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength."

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                          fear the Col Sanders

                            Check if your dads medical plan includes Silver Sneakers. its free and offered by the YMCA and the classes are geared towards seniors.

                             

                            When was his last physical?

                             

                            As a matter of fact, Silver Sneakers is what initiated this whole discussion.  It is a sweet deal.  He gets access to any of the local Golds and 24 hour fitness locations (among others).  Maybe that is one of the few perks of getting old (besides from saying whatever the hell you want whenever you want).

                             

                            Good question about the physical.  I will have to ask.

                            Just because I look dumb doesn't mean I'm not...


                            fear the Col Sanders

                              I assist with senior weight training at the gym/pool where I work. We use both machines and free weights. Starting super light, and making sure of good form, is how we do everyone. First time with a particular exercise, they do one set, 8 reps, and see how it feels. The goal is a comfortable challenge - soreness and pain are not good. We work up to 1 set of 15 reps. When that's easy, we add a second set, starting with 8 reps. Once two sets of 15 reps are easy, then we up the weight, and drop back to 8-12 reps. Going for 15 reps is light enough for an overall workout, since we meet twice a week, and that way don't have to worry about upper body/lower body, etc. We always end with abs and gentle stretching. Most of the workouts also have several balance routines in them - very important, the older we get. I glad your dad wants to start!

                               

                              Thanks.  I was wondering about sets/reps.

                               

                              What kind of ab and balance work do you do?

                              Just because I look dumb doesn't mean I'm not...