You can use both. Just like training any client, you don’t want to do the same thing all the time of the body will plateau, so it’s best to rely on an undulating periodization. One thing to be aware of, don’t underestimate how much someone larger can lift. They are used to moving the added weight on their limbs, so they can often handle larger weights than expected.
Hi Jean Anne. In my opinion, there is no right or wrong answer here. You use what works for the particular client that you’re working with. I think that too often in our profession people subscribed to a singular methodology or school of thought on how to train a certain class of clients or demographic and they use that same method with all clients in that demographic whether or not it’s the best for that particular person.
I have trained lots of overweight and obese clients and have had great results by challenging them within their own personal abilities. Remember that all humans, and that and that includes the overweight, improve their strength, health and fitness through the “Overload Principle.” Applying that principle entails a methodical and progressive increase in the intensity of exercise over time. In the instance of your question regarding the use of weight, this means that overtime the person will use progressively heavier weight (of course to a limit) as well as being ‘overloaded’ or challenged in other ways such as increasing workload through increased repetitions or sets etc.
I published a short article on this very subject and would be happy to share it with you if you send me your email address.
I hope that this helps.
Hi Jean Anne,
the main goal is to create more metabolically active tissue (muscles), and while this can be accomplished to a point with lighter weights, research shows that you need to overload sufficiently to generate this adaptive response.
Ultimately, how you train the person depends on the fitness assessments and where he/she is on that continuum. As many overweight people are often deconditioned, it is important to work on stability and integrity of movement first before worrying too much about load and repetitions.
There shouldn’t be one answer for everyone. Everybody reacts a little different to a given stimuli. The goal is to FIND what works best for a given individual. Keeping track of a program and only changing 1 variable at a time (to determine if that variable change improves a programs results) is the key to constructing the solution to an individuals program needs.