T Nation

lifting and seniors

What would you recommend for a 71 year old male who wants to start training again and a 68 year old female who wants to start? They are both very active (xcountry skiing and cycling). I’m thinking it would be a program consisting of strenght and balance moves. Any suggestions/recommendations? Thanks in advance. Cheers.

Like anyone else, pretty much.

However, from what I understand, you’ll want to do an extensive warm up with elderly people as (stereotypically) they tend to have stiffer muscles than younger lifters.

If they’re active and don’t have any relevant medical conditions, then in terms of exercises I don’t think that there would be much (if any) difference from what I’d recommend for someone who was younger. A little less volume, perhaps, but your standard three sets of ten should work fine.

However, you will have to watch them very carefully to make sure that their balance is still good. If they’re skiing a lot they’re probably okay, but older people sometimes can have balance problems that younger ones don’t. So on anything like squats, go veeery slowly and make sure they’ve got the form down right.

And I’d pay special attention to the nutrition aspect as well. Being that much older, recovery isn’t going to be good. So make double-damn sure that they’re getting enough protein, and a PW shake, and all the essential supps (Vit C and E, fish and flax oil, a multi-vitamin, tribex for the man…perhaps some extra calcium). And maybe add in an extra recovery day to the rotation as well, depending.

My mother started lifting at the age of 65, on a more or less generic program, and her doctor couldn’t believe the results the next time she went in for a physical. All of her readings started to improve (not that she was in terrible condition to begin with or anything, but she was old) and she started to “age backwards” for a while. Visually, she took about 15 years off her appearance. So it’s definitely beneficial. Just take it slowly.

Great recommendations from Fat Panda and Char Dawg-

I would only add that they should keep the apparent cardio work that they are currently performing. Perhaps three days per week. Blood Pressure is a real problem for many seniors. Cardio does tend to lower blood pressure.

Also, if they are having trouble with their joints I recommend the following: Glucosamine, MSM, Fish Oil.