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.
Everyone has given you some great advice and I agree with them. One of the classes I teach is a Sit and Be Fit Class where the ages range from 60 to 89. My main focus is always to try and make them feel comfortable and safe in their movements. Plus having the ability to modify when needed due to health issues is key.
There is so much you can do just having her sit in a chair or using the chair for support. We use weights, bands and a small ball during our workouts. I try to break it up so sometimes we are standing and other times we are sitting. So for example, we will sit in chair with the ball between our back and the back rest of the chair and perform crunches. Another time we will be standing and I will have them perform Woodchops holding the ball. As for her fear of squats and lunges, perform high knees or while sitting wrap the band around the legs and do side step outs.
If you want to talk more, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Hope some of this helps. Good Luck.
I think you’ve gotten some good suggestions already. Sounds like she may have valid concerns for not wanting to do certain exercises, or she simply may not be ready to change. I’d like to add that sometimes we need to respect the client’s wishes to avoid certain exercises, even if we feel those exercises would be beneficial to them. It pushes us to think outside the box and get creative.
Your client may appreciate some alternatives for core off the floor–such as resistance bands or cables, or even TRX (I use this a lot with that age group since you can adjust their feet so easily to make the exercise easier or more challenging). For legs, perhaps the stability ball against the wall. Or, even having her sit down on a bench or chair and standing up–she may not realize that that functional move is really a squat. Try to find something she likes, and then perhaps as you build your connection with her she may try the things you want her to do.
Sometimes I find a little give and take is necessary. Good luck with her–I would give it some time and see if it works out.
Thank you all for your great comments and resources. I am checking them all out! I am already starting to modify my workouts with her and think outside the mat! In many ways, however, I think she is just stubborn.
BTW, I am also a nutritionist, and I don’t think she is truly committed to losing weight. She rolls around in her head what she needs to do but isn’t willing to problem solve on a micro level the barrier(s) that are preventing her from eating too much. She has a portion control issue. I can open the door for her, but I cannot walk through it.
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.