April 07, 2015 | John Paul Catanzaro
My eldest client is 87 years young. I’ve seen her twice a week since 1998. At the time, she was experiencing signs of osteopenia and her doctor recommended weight-bearing exercise. I got the call and her bone health has not been an issue ever since.
She’s doing well not only structurally but functionally. It’s very evident when you compare her condition to others of her age. She told me that most of her friends use either a cane or a walker, or are in a wheelchair. In fact, dear friends of hers came over the day for a visit. The wife was using a cane and the husband was using a walker. My client noticed that one of his shoelaces were undone, so she squatted down and tied them up for him. The couple stared in amazement. They would have struggled to perform such a simple task.
What’s been the secret to her physical success? In two words: consistent exercise. With regards to resistance training, I have her on the following 4-day rotation:
A. Potty Training*
B. Side Step-Up
C. One-Leg Calf Raise
D. Split Squat
F. Forward Ball Roll
G. California Press
H. Supine Bridge
I. Ab Crunch
J. Lower Russian Twist
* To learn about potty training, read my article Weight Training as a Tool.
B. Squat Press
C. Squat Pull
D. Iron Cross
E. Romanian Deadlift
F. Bent-Over Row
G. Overhead Squat
H. Side Bridge
I. McGill Crunch
A. Swiss Ball Squat
B1. Lying Dumbbell Triceps Extension
B2. Lying Dumbbell Press
B3. Incline Dumbbell Curl
C. Supine Hip Extension
D. Supine Unsupported Pelvic Tilt
E. Side-Lying Dumbbell External Rotation
F. Prone Cobra
A. Forward Step-Up
B. Rear-Foot-Elevated Split Squat
C. 1¼ Dumbbell Squat
D. Arnold Press
E. Zottman Curl
F. Bent-Over One-Arm Lateral Raise
G. Saxon Bend
H1. Seated Reverse-Grip Wrist Curl
H2. Seated Wrist Curl
She normally performs 1-2 sets of 10-12 reps per exercise. The tempo will vary depending on the movement, and rest intervals are typically short, around 30 seconds between sets.
Each workout begins with dynamic stretching and ends with static stretching as well as some soft-tissue work. A training session will take no more than 30-40 minutes from start to finish.
She’ll go for walks as often as possible when the weather permits, and when the weather does not cooperate, she has a treadmill and rower at her disposal.
A dynamic stretching circuit is performed every day, and often twice a day, regardless of whether she trains or not. She swears that it keeps her mobile and without it, she would quickly stiffen up. By the way, this is the dynamic circuit that is demonstrated in my Warm-Up to Strength Training presentation.
Age is only a number and no matter what that number is, your body will do what you tell it to. You can tell your body to be 87 years old, or you can tell it to be 87 years “young” like my client has. The choice is yours.