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Sample Class: S.O.S. (Seniors on Strength)

by Carey Fraley on May 18, 2010

Class Take-Out

Teach a class designed for the active older adult who simply wants to stay active.

Are you looking for a class that helps older-adult participants with balance, coordination, agility, flexibility and strength training? Seniors on Strength (S.O.S.) is a dynamic combination of strength development and cardiovascular conditioning for the active older adult. Mixing in some simple choreography blocks, sequenced for easy recall, will round out your class.

S.O.S. Details

TOTAL TIME: 55–60 minutes

FORMAT: cardiovascular training mixed with strength, balance and coordination exercises

MUSIC: 128–132 beats per minute

EQUIPMENT: stability balls and resistance tubing with handles

Warm-Up (8–10 minutes)

Begin with dynamic-range-of-motion moves to increase blood flow, elevate heart rates and body core temperatures and prepare joints.

  1. Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Plié, and lift stability ball to hips. Reach above head and lean right (R), lower ball in center, and roll shoulders back. Repeat L (keeping chest lifted). Repeat on both sides.
  2. Step-tap R, L (feet wide), and swing ball low, side to side.
  3. Step-tap, taking ball high R, low L (thigh), 4x.
  4. Pivot R, toe-heel, 4x, holding ball forward and in.
  5. With back heel on floor, sweep ball forward and pull in, 4x; squeeze shoulder blades toward spine.
  6. Lift and lower back heel (calf stretch), keeping ball close to thigh.
  7. Shift weight forward (on front foot) and hold; rock backward and forward; pivot to face front.
  8. Repeat moves 1 and 7, L lead.
  9. Perform easy lunge R, L, taking ball to floor.
Main Workout (35 minutes)

Strength: Standing With Ball

  1. From easy lunge, roll ball R, L, R, and hold; L, R, L, and hold; R, L, R, and hold; L, R, L, and hold; lift R heel, pivot L and hold.
  2. Lunge down and up (L), R hand on ball, 4x slowly, 7x tempo.
  3. Pivot center on counts 7–8, coming to plié position, both hands on ball.
  4. Plié 8x slowly.
  5. Repeat moves 1–2, L lead, pivot R.
  6. Repeat lunge combo; pivot to face front.
  7. Plié 4x slowly, to standing.

Cardio: Standing With Ball

  1. Step-touch R, L, R, L, travel forward (ball swings low, side to side); step-touch R, L, R, L, travel back (figure-eight with ball).
  2. Double step-touch R, L, R (make small circles); march out, out, in, in (press ball down and center).
  3. Rock-step forward and back, L, 2x; knee-lift hold; extend knee, and march L, R.
  4. Side-rock L, 4x.
  5. Repeat moves 1–4, L lead.
  6. Repeat R, L.

Strength: Seated With Tubing

Sit tall and slightly forward on ball.
  1. Biceps curl with tubing under feet. Double curl (palms up) slow, 8x; singles R, L, tempo, 8x; double 1 count up, 3 counts down, 8x; singles R, L, tempo, 8x (chest lifted, abdominals firm).
  2. Hip abduction—step out, in, R, 4x; L, 4x; R, 2x; L, 2x; alternate R, L, 8x; repeat (tubing under feet, cross hand-to-hand taut, hands on outer thighs). Knee remains over bridge of foot.
  3. Lawn mower pull (back row), 8x, each side, then descending reps (4x, 2x).
  4. Repeat move 2, L lead.
  5. Toe taps out and in, 8x (feet hip width apart); heel taps out and in, 8x.
  6. Uncross tubing, place handles at hips and stand (4 counts).
  7. Perform squats slowly, halfway down, up, 4x.
  8. Anchor tubing with L hand, grasp handle R and extend arm overhead for triceps extension, 8x (2 counts out, 2 counts in), 8x (tempo) and 8x (1 count out, 3 counts in).
  9. Place tubing about mid-upper back, choke up, palms down, arms just below shoulder, elbows bent at 90 degrees. Press forward and in for chest press; repeat.
  10. Repeat move 8, L lead.
  11. Hold tubing in front at shoulder level, palms down, elbows at 90 degrees. Adduct scapulae and pull elbows back.

Cardio: No Equipment

  1. Step-touch R, L, R, L, travel forward; step-touch R, L, R, L, travel back.
  2. Double step-touch R, L, R; march out, out, in, in.
  3. Rock-step front and back, L, 2x, knee-lift hold, extend, and march L, R.
  4. Side rock L, 4x.
  5. Step together, step-touch, 4x R, 4x L; 2x.
  6. Repeat moves 1–5, L lead.

Repeat entire sequence.

Strength: Seated/Supine With Ball
Sit tall, abdominals contracted, head in line with spine.

Seated Curl-Back

  1. Start seated with feet on floor, ball on knees. Inhale; exhale: roll back (form C shape), roll ball knee to thigh; inhale: hold; exhale: roll ball up to knees and ankles.
  2. Roll back to supine position, grasping thighs if needed.

Gluteal Extension

  1. With arms at 45 degrees, palms facing down, place feet on ball, knees bent, hands on floor, palms down for stability.
  2. Lift hips (4 counts up, 4 counts down), knees bent.

One-Legged Bicycle

  1. Place lower legs and heels on ball, knees slightly bent, hands behind head with fingers spread wide (do not grip or pull head).
  2. Curl up, rotate R, pull R knee forward to 90 degrees at hip and knee, keeping L leg on ball. Bring rib toward opposite hip. Switch sides, 8x.
Cool-Down/Stretch (approximately 5–10 minutes)

Hip and Glute Stretch

  1. Place calves and heels on ball (knees at 90 degrees), rotate legs R, center, L, center.
  2. Cross R ankle over L thigh, and roll ball in toward hips.
  3. Repeat above, then roll to side and to all-fours position.

Spinal Balance/Back Strength/Stretch

  1. From all fours, hands directly below shoulders and knees below hips, extend R arm and L leg; hold 5–20 seconds. Switch sides.
  2. Perform yoga cat stretch.

Balance With Ball

  1. Plié down, up (ball is low, center, high, center; hold and circle ball R and abduct L leg; hold). Switch sides, and repeat.

Stretch Seated on Ball

  1. Sit forward on ball, extend R heel on floor, L hand on L thigh, press chest forward and reach R arm to shoulder level for hamstring stretch.
  2. Raise up, draw R foot in, cross over L, arms extended to shoulder level, rotate R (balance challenge). Return to center, feet wide.
  3. With feet wide, hands on thighs, press forward with flat back to inner-thigh stretch. Walk feet in.
  4. Switch sides.
  5. With feet hip width apart, hands on thighs, round lower back, and then elongate spine by lifting chest. Repeat.

Add additional stretches and relaxation if time allows.

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About the Author

Carey Fraley IDEA Author/Presenter

Carey Fraley owns Fitnessesities Instructor Training and has trained instructors since 1982. She is the senior program director for the Sports Mall Fitness Center in Salt Lake City and the district in...