Hi, I have a 69-year-old female client whom I’ve just started working with. She wants to lose about 20 pounds, and tone and strengthen. While I understand that our hormone profile changes as we age, especially after menopause (and she’s had a hysterectomy), and the trim silhouette we had when we were younger, if at an ideal weight, can be more challenging to maintain. I get it.
Nonetheless, my client doesn’t want to do planks, push-ups, Russian twists or really anything on the floor to tighten her core. She also doesn’t want to do squats or lunges because she doesn’t want to aggravate her hip bursitis.
I’m a bit frustrated coming up with exercises to strengthen her core and back. She also says she knows what she needs to do to lose weight — it’s a portion control issue, she says — but have a feeling that she’s not up for problem solving her weight issue. Any suggestions for exercises or how to deal with her to maintain a positive client relationship. Thanks.
I have had this trouble before with clients. In fact, I have this problem with my Mother. I completely understand the challenges this can cause.
When it came to working with my Mother, the best solution we came up with together was to do a lot of exercises for other muscles while sitting on a exercise ball.
It was the right solution for my Mother, but it was something we did have to approach together. I basically had to explain to her why core is so important but still be empathetic with her fear of laying down on the floor for a workout.
I personally think, this may be an oppertunity to build a great relationship with this client based on trust. Allow her to have input but still be firm in the fact that core work is needed and approach the issue together and find something that interests her.
I did group training at a senior home for a while and with all the hip replacements and lack of mobility, we did our entire workout sitting in a chair or moving around the chair.
I have also done stuff with very obese clients that had major self image issues and were uncomfrotable sitting on the floor where we worked out doing a lot of fun cardio work but i would ask them to hold a medicine ball and hold it in a variety of different ways.
There is a lot you can do, it can just be challenging and frustrating when you have someone that is stubborn. But there are solutions. Let me know if you need any suggestions for exercises and i hope you and your client make progress!
Hi Jayne. There are other ways to work your client’s core without having to be on the floor. It sounds like mobility (getting up and down off the floor) may be the real ‘unspoken’ issue for your client. That being said, since you indicate your client says that ‘she knows what she needs to do to lose weight,’ my question is “why did she hire you?” If your client is unwilling to take any of your professional advice and guidance here, the question needs to be asked “what are you actually doing?” If the client has certain exercises, movements and positions that exacerbate existing conditions, or cause pain, then I would find other ways to accomplish what you’re trying to accomplish. That’s our role as their trainer. But if I have a client that is not willing to do any of what I’m recommending, even with modifications, then the client and I need to reconsider what my role is in that type of relationship.
Another thing to consider is, can she work out in a swimming pool? The resistance properties of water can make for a good strength workout, while the bouyancy reduces stress on the joints. She might feel less pain by doing pool walking and other lower body exercises that would otherwise aggravate her hips.