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Monday, June 27, 2011

Training Older Adults

One of the favorite questions clients like to ask me is "how old is your oldest client?".  I will not divulge this client's name, but I will say currently my oldest client is 88 years old (soon to be 89).  After answering the question I inevitably get another question... "what do you have an 88 year old do?"

Which I answer "STOP TALKING AND GET BACK TO WORK!!"...  I mean, "I have them perform the same movements you do!".

I treat every client the same way when I first meet with them.  I put every client through an assessment which includes Squats, Pullups, Pushups and Situps.  These four movements are the most basic fundamental movements humans perform.  How an individual performs these movements tells me a lot about their fitness level.  Most importantly, EVERY person can perform these movements.  Some may need to modify the movement, but they can still be performed.

How I progress an individual beyond the initial assessment is based on a few factors.

  • Mobility:  Some individuals have glaring mobility issues that limits their ability to perform certain movements with proper form.  These issues need to be addressed before adding any load to the movement.
  • Strength:  If an individual does not have the strength to perform a movement correctly then there is no need to add an exterior load until they have developed competency in the movement.
  • Individual Goals:  GPP (General Physical Preparedness) is important for everybody, so there are some fundamental movements everybody should perform.  Beyond GPP an individual's goals are the next thing I look at when designing and progressing them through a program.
You will notice the list above does not mention age.  To me age is not a factor.  My oldest client is one of my fittest clients.  I have worked with numerous individuals who cannot do half the things this client can do.

Never think you are "too old" to do something.  Age will never limit you!

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