I am preparing to train a female client who is 68 years old. I train mainly athletes who are in high school. I am wondering what considerations do you make when you are developing a program with their warm-up, exercises, and cool down? Her goal is to improve her strength. She prefers using free weights over machines. Any help and advice is appreciated.
Hi Tom Johnson,
While you called your client “older”, I wouldn’t make that distinction to HER. 🙂 If you’re used to training teens and young adults, the biggest difference is that adults over 60 need strength MORE than cardio. (Not speaking of cardiac rehab). Some women are naturally flexible and have always been that way.
I’d start with a proper strength, cardio, ROM and flexibility evaluation in the first session. Keep it short and simple because she WILL be sore. I’d also find out her athletic history: what she’s good at and drawn to. This is likely what she’s naturally good at. IOW: if she loves Yoga, probably flexible. Or if she loves running, probably good at cardio. My clients that HATE cardio are usually the heavier ones that need it..this will also give you insight into what her challenges and strengths may be moving forward with programming.
The biggest difference between young and older athletes is VOLUME! Whatever you are used to doing with kids, adults need much less. Less time too. If I do 20 minutes of footwork drills with a 20 year old, I may only do 10 with an adult.The bone and joint tissues you will be dealing with are 3x the age. Therefore, they need more care and attention. Go slower in progressions and let the client be your guide.
My warm up with these folks start with 5 minutes of tissue work/SMFR for everyone unless unable, then we may use a stick. Then, they will move on to something for ROM of shoulders, spine, core and hamstrings. Dynamic stretching movement. Then, onto activating glutes. This can take up to 10 minutes. Then, part 3 of the warmup is some type of dynamic movement specific to their sport or trouble areas. NOT something like walking on a treadmill… unless they are in a cold climate. They enjoy doing some of the same moves you probably do with the kids: knee lifts, walking frankensteins, skips, etc. and lots of hip flexor work gently. Then, onto lifting and strength. Usually a circuit of some sort lasting about 20-30minutes. To end, if needed, more hip flexor and a bit of static stretching depending on what that person needs: for 5-10 minutes max.
Hope that helps.