As one advances in age, significant muscle loss (sarcopenia) and strength loss is usually accompanied. In fact, by the age of 50, most have lost 10% of their total muscle, and muscle strength declines by nearly 15% in the 6th and 7th decade. Sounds like some pretty dooming news; on the other hand, one’s ability to benefit from a strength program does not decrease with age. Individuals can still benefit from significant gains in muscle strength, muscle mass, functional capacity, and fall prevention to name a few.
I’ve had the distinct opportunity to work with many senior citizens in a strength program, and I must say that I’ve enjoyed working with them more than anyone else (with a couple exceptions). I’ve witnessed how much stronger they can get, significant increases in mobility, and the joy they get from having a better functional capacity. What I’ve learned from working with them, is that one doesn’t need to have the most creative, cutting-edge program to benefit from resistance training. I think many people get caught up in the trends (including myself), and we forget how basic movements are probably the most beneficial. So when we train our elderly clients (all clients for that matter) we try to be “brilliant at the basics,” a quote from Michael Boyle.
Tanaka, R. S. (2001). Exercise Prescription for the Elderly: Current Recommendations. Sports Med , 809-818.
– Coach Street