What are good workouts for old people

Senior training: tips for the elderly | Counselor, help

Senior training: The training planning and training recommendations for older and older people do not differ significantly from those for healthy adults of younger age. In any case, just taking into account the calendar age has little effect on a person's actual performance. Training programs for seniors must therefore be created particularly individually.

Senior training requires good planning

Ultimately, the key to planning senior training is:

Because if these points are taken into account, very different body and performance profiles result for the individual. These are mainly due to the long history resulting from the old age (Gottlob, 2001; Wagner, 2005). A 60-year-old athlete can be far more resilient than a 40-year-old beginner.

Exercise programs for seniors

The goals can also vary greatly. If one of them still wants to successfully take part in senior competitions and, for example, take to the track in an Ironman or marathon, the other only wants to do something for his health.

Often there are also individual clinical pictures, e.g. frequent complaints of the musculoskeletal system, which must be specifically taken into account. The creation of the training programs in this group must therefore be carried out individually. It is therefore necessary to ask the athlete carefully before starting training.

All indicators that speak against strength training or special exercises must be determined. One example is diseases of certain joints. In the case of acute injuries or illnesses, coordination with the treating doctor and / or the physiotherapist is necessary.

If the strength training participant is unclear about their performance status, the start of the training should be preceded by a medical examination. Depending on age and level of performance, longer recovery times must be observed when training with older people.

Strength training for seniors

The same applies to strength training with the elderly and the elderly: Great effects can only be achieved with great resistance. Extensive physiological adjustments can only be achieved with loads that correspond to at least 70% of the maximum force (Gottlob, 2001; Wagner, 2005). The methods of muscle building training are seen as the most suitable way to counteract a reduction in muscle mass in the aging process (cf. Mayer et al., 2003).

The personal goal should always be to strive to get better! Intermittent training breaks, e.g. B. due to illness or work obligations, lead to significant global or partial muscular performance deficits (Zimmermann, 2002).

It is therefore particularly important for older people to build up a certain “reserve” of strength and muscle mass through muscle building training. The exercise loads must therefore be constantly adapted to the progress of the training. Older people in particular, however, are reluctant to do so. The impulse to increase the exercise loads often comes from the trainer.

Strong Seniors: Strength training for the elderly and old

The right choice of resistance is also crucial for strength training for seniors

It is not uncommon for this to sensitize the athlete to the right choice of resistance and to motivate them for higher loads (Wagner, 2005). It is not uncommon for athletes to misjudge the painful execution of an exercise when using high training loads. The strenuous execution of movements is equated with an unclean exercise technique. In contrast, it is easy to see that the trainee is actually being overwhelmed.

It shows up in a recognizably unclean exercise technique - e.g. B. Evasive movements and gaining momentum to facilitate the exercise. In this case, you can react immediately by reducing the exercise load. One of the main tasks of the trainer is to make sure that older and old athletes train with the correct and sufficiently high resistance!

Senior training with partner

In practice, it is definitely advantageous to organize senior training in such a way that you train together with a partner. Because in the group of older athletes, a training partner can have a motivating effect. On the one hand, it can stimulate the regular and important adjustment or increase of the exercise resistance. On the other hand, a fixed appointment with a training partner supports the "sense of duty" to appear in training at the agreed time. And exercising regularly is a basis for success even in old age.

Only through regular exercise in the weight room can performance be maintained or the strength level improved. Training with a partner also has a positive effect on maintaining and leading social relationships. These often decrease with age and then mostly concentrate on a few family members or friendships of the same age.

Senior training with free weights

When training together, new and extra-family relationships between generations can develop, which help to keep yourself mentally fit. An important aspect when practicing with a partner is also safety - especially for the exercises with free weights that are particularly recommended in senior training (keyword: balance and balance).

A training partner provides support in the event of premature muscle failure and helps with the lowering of the dumbbell in order to avoid injuries. A competent training partner not only brings security, he can also monitor compliance with the correct exercise technique and give corrective advice (Wagner et al., 2010).

Training recommendations for seniors

The training recommendations for senior training do not differ significantly from those for healthy adults of younger age. Due to the high age and the resulting long history, however, there are very different body and performance profiles for the individual. Training programs for the elderly must therefore be created particularly individually. In practice, trainers must pay particular attention to training with the correct and sufficiently high resistance.

Andreas Wagner M.A

The tip from the Trainingsworld editorial team: Ideal for seniors


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  1. Gottlob, A. (2001). Differentiated strength training. With a focus on the spine. Munich, Jena: Urban & Fischer.
  2. Mayer, F., Gollhofer, A. & Berg, A. (2003). Strength training with the elderly and the chronically ill. German magazine for sports medicine, 54 (3), 88-94.
  3. Wagner, A. (2005). Machines vs. free weights. An empirical study of two different strength training methods in older adults (unpublished master's thesis). Frankfurt am Main: J. W. Goethe University, Institute for Sports Science.
  4. Wagner, A., Mühlenhoff, S., Sebastian & Sandig, D. (2010). Weight training in cycling. Methods and exercises for improving performance and prevention. Urban & Fischer at Elsevier: Munich. www.krafttraining-im-radsport.de