Strength Training for an Older Female Population

Maureen 2Maureen 1So as you likely can see, I am new to the whole idea of blogging and am still getting my feet wet and adding to my content. One of my clients the other day had read my blog after she had left one of our 1-1 sessions. She really enjoyed the content, but asked when I was going to address exercise in an older population.

She had a great point. Up until now I had focused on running, strength training, nutrition, and even the benefits of children exercising. She wanted me to focus not on running, but on how important it is to strength train even into your 80’s. Well we know from numerous other studies that of course maintaining and preserving muscle mass, which we lose as we get older, is important for overall health and wellness.

With that said I recently received a study http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/26972635/in my inbox about a study done on fitness in an older population. The study put twenty five “physically independent” older women through a resistance training program. They women performed two different types of resistance training programs, pyramidal and straight set training. (While not the purpose of the blog post, please see below for an example of both types of training systems).  Measurements were taken on many important health factors, such as C-reactive protein (the measure on inflammation in the body), glucose, and overall cholesterol levels including triglycerides. These numbers were taken three times over the duration of the study.

The two groups trained over 12 weeks using the two different training protocols, in two phases of 8 weeks in each training period. Both groups showed huge improvements in all of the tests mentioned above. The results of this study showed that there was no difference between the two training systems.

The message here is that it does not necessarily matter what structure the workouts and training come in, but rather that one is consistently doing something physical, and in a way that is challenging.

I know from working with the client that is shown in the photo, as well as some of my older clients, that exercise, sometimes vigorous, has really benefitted her as well as other clients overcome some health issues and continue to maintain independence, all the while becoming stronger and healthier even at an advanced age.

Note: In a pyramid strength training system, the workout typically calls for increasing the weight on each set, while subsequently decreasing the repetitions you do.

Pyramid Training Example

Set #1 50lbs 10 repetitions

Set #2 75lbs 8 repetitions

Set #3 100lbs 6 repetitions

Straight Set Training Example

Set #1 50lbs 10 repetitions

Set #2 50lbs 10 repetitions

Set #3 50lbs 10 repetitions