Tag: seniors

Get Your Butt in the Gym to do Strength Training for Cyclists Over 50

As a nearly 60-year old cyclist, I hate to see “over 50” and “senior” in the same headline.

One of the cycling benefits for seniors is building increased endurance.

But the reality is that bicycling is a non-weight-bearing sport, which means your bone density and muscular strength don’t necessarily develop while you’re on the bike.

Strength training, lifting heavy things, not only helps with your strength and endurance off the bike, lifting weights has immense benefits: increased strength, cardiovascular capacity, balance, bone health, and injury prevention.

Even if you’re not a bike rider, weight training for older people provides huge benefits: more endurance, balance, and speed, and better injury prevention.

While endurance is a cycling benefit for seniors, strength training for cyclists over 50 increases strength, cardiovascular capacity, balance, bone health, and injury prevention.
Photo by Coen van de Broek on Unsplash

Women, especially, benefit from strength training at any age. My 83-year-old mother does strength training twice a week and talks about how it helps her with movement and balance.

“When we talk about bone health and falls, we talk about three factors: fall, fragility and force,” says Matt Sedgley, sports medicine physician with the MedStar Orthopaedic Institute. “Participating in weight-bearing and resistance-training exercises helps develop muscle mass. This may help treat fragility conditions like osteoporosis. So if you fall you have stronger bone density. It may also lead to more cushioning when you do fall.”

Washington Post

Strength Training for Cyclists over 50 Means Heavier Weights

Cycling offers so many benefits to seniors (anyone over 50).

But we need to keep building strength as we age.

I see a lot of older adults in the gym doing the same routine on the same machines every day with very light weights.

If you are just starting a strength training program for cyclists over 50, machines can be a good place to start since they are stable.

However, the more you use bands, dumbbells, kettlebells, and other free weights, you will utilize stabilizer muscles, build core strength, balance, and stability.

This kind of stabilization is one of the cycling benefits for seniors.

The key, though, is lifting heavy weights with fewer repetitions.

In fact, this article recommends older adults get after their training by gradually increasing their weights and reducing the reps.

In terms of actual exercise selection, following the NSCA’s (National Strength and Conditioning Association) recommendations of implementing multi-joint exercises at moderate intensities of 40-60% 1RM is a great place to start, and the efficacy of several different methods such as resistance bands, pneumatic machines and plate-loaded machines have all proven to be both safe and effective. The NSCA’s position stand on resistance training in older adults recommends an individualized and periodized approach to resistance training, eventually working towards 2 to 3 sets of 1 to 2 multi-joint exercises per muscle group at 70-85% one-rep maximum (1RM) two to three days per week.

Daniel Flahie

The Cycling Benefits for Seniors Includes Increased Strength, Endurance

  1. Focus on free weights, bands, suspension straps. Anything that is multi-joint and multi-purpose. For example, doing a Pallof press with bands or an exercise ball works your chest and shoulder muscles as well as your core.
  2. Start light and easy. Your body needs time to adjust to the new demands you’re placing on it! For the first three or so weeks, you shouldn’t feel exhausted after a strength workout, not even “really tired.” You should be aware you used your muscles in a new way, but you should feel no worse than taking a good walk.
  3. Focus on a full-body workout, with an emphasis on your hip joint. Do deadlifts, squats, single-leg split squats, lateral squats, hip hinges.
While endurance is a cycling benefit for seniors, strength training for cyclists over 50 increases strength, cardiovascular capacity, balance, bone health, and injury prevention.
Photo by Kaur Kristjan on Unsplash

Questions About the Cycling Benefits for Seniors?

Strength training is an invaluable part of our bike training programs, especially as we age.

Better endurance, strength, and injury-prevention are just some of the cycling benefits for seniors.

I’ve lifted a lot in my lifetime, but as I get older, I’m spending more specific time in the gym.

I’m deadlifting more than I ever have, and I’m doing a lot of core and posterior chain work.

Plus, I focus on kettlebell training with swings, snatches, lateral lunges, and Turkish Get-Ups.

While endurance is a cycling benefit for seniors, strength training for cyclists over 50 increases strength, cardiovascular capacity, balance, bone health, and injury prevention.
Photo by Kaur Kristjan on Unsplash

What do you think you need to work on? Do you need some help creating a program that works for your individual needs?

What questions do you have about cycling training?

Weight Training for Older Cyclists and Runners Brings Better Health, Bone Strength, and Mobility

Joan MacDonald was 70 years young when she started working out to deal with high blood pressure and acid reflux.

Now look at her!

Weight training for older cyclists and runners provides more endurance, better injury prevention, balance, bone strength.

Mike Harrington went to a personal trainer at 69-years-young to deal with weight gain and improve his golf game.

He recently set a world record for 80 plus for planking: 10 minutes. I can’t do that at 56!

Weight training for older cyclists and runners provides more endurance, better injury prevention, balance, bone strength.

Ruth is 103. Yes, you read that right. 103 years young.

Her trainer talks about working her legs to create additional balance and strength.

Legs, glutes, lower back, and abdominals are the foundation for all of the strength work for older adults, especially runners and cyclists.

You Can Start Strength Training at Any Age

No matter how old you are, it’s never too late to build your strength with weight training.

And the benefits are immense: increased strength, cardiovascular capacity, balance, bone health, and injury prevention.

Women, especially, benefit from strength training at any age.

My 83-year-old mother does strength training twice a week and talks about how it helps her with movement and balance.

Weight training for older cyclists and runners provides huge benefits: more endurance, balance, and speed, and better injury prevention.

Muscle Loss Will Happen, But It Can be Negated, Reversed

Loss of muscle starts around age 30 and accelerates after 50, according to research posted in this Washington Post article.

In older adults, the loss of strength and muscle mass can lead to a loss of balance, mobility, and increase the likelihood of falls and bone breaks.

And that can lead to many other problems, including a fear of getting around in case of a fall.

“When we talk about bone health and falls, we talk about three factors: fall, fragility and force,” says Matt Sedgley, sports medicine physician with the MedStar Orthopaedic Institute. “Participating in weight-bearing and resistance-training exercises helps develop muscle mass. This may help treat fragility conditions like osteoporosis. So if you fall you have stronger bone density. It may also lead to more cushioning when you do fall.”

Washington Post

Washington Post

Strength Training for Older Adults Means Heavier Weights

I see a lot of older adults in the gym doing the same routine on the same machines every day with very light weights.

Machines can be a good place to start, though, since they are safe.

Weight training for older cyclists and runners means using bands and free weights to utilize stabilizer muscles, core strength, and to build balance and stability.

In fact, this article recommends older adults get after their training with gradually increasing their weights and reducing the reps.

In terms of actual exercise selection, following the NSCA’s (National Strength and Conditioning Association) recommendations of implementing multi-joint exercises at moderate intensities of 40-60% 1RM is a great place to start, and the efficacy of several different methods such as resistance bands, pneumatic machines and plate-loaded machines have all proven to be both safe and effective. The NSCA’s position stand on resistance training in older adults recommends an individualized and periodized approach to resistance training, eventually working towards 2 to 3 sets of 1 to 2 multi-joint exercises per muscle group at 70-85% one rep maximum (1RM) two to three days per week.

Daniel Flahie

Daniel Flahie

Weight Training for Older Cyclists and Runners: What to Do?

  1. Focus on free weights, bands, suspension straps. Anything that is multi-joint and multi-purpose. For example, doing a pallof press with bands works your chest and shoulder muscles as well as your core.
  2. Start light and easy. Your body needs time to adjust to the new demands you’re placing on it! For the first three or so weeks, you shouldn’t feel exhausted after a strength workout, not even “really tired.” You should be aware you used your muscles in a new way, but you should feel no worse than taking a good walk.

Questions About Weight Training for Older Cyclists and Runners???

We can create bodyweight workouts, gym workouts, as well as cardio and yoga routines.

Most of my clients at the WAC are older adults, and there’s nothing quite like seeing people at the start of their journey, then starting to really move and get stronger.

When we started working together, my 70-something client could barely bend her hips and knees. Within several months, she was doing squats and finding new mobility to move.

One of the best parts of my job as a trainer at the WAC is working with older members who are strength training. 

Most of the time, we’re building strength with slightly bigger weights and fewer reps than they’re used to. And the cool part is how they and their muscles respond to the strength training!

There are multiple goals for older people and strength training: muscular strength, increased mobility, as well as self-confidence and injury prevention. 

By their early 40s already, most adults start losing muscle mass at about five percent a decade. And this decline means an increased mortality risk. 

Losing muscle also makes getting out of a chair or walking up a flight of stairs more difficult. Decreased bone density – which increases with strength training – makes it more easy for older adults to break bones. 

But strength training can change all of that, if it’s done correctly and with enough stress on the muscles.

A 2016 analysis from the Penn State College of Medicine found adults over 65 who strength trained at least twice a week had “46 percent lower odds of death for any reason than those who did not. They had 41 percent lower odds of cardiac death and 19 percent lower odds of dying from cancer.”

This study says, “Done regularly (e.g., 2 to 3 days per week), these exercises build muscle strength and muscle mass and preserve bone density, independence, and vitality with age. In addition, strength training also has the ability to reduce the risk of osteoporosis and the signs and symptoms of numerous chronic diseases such as heart disease, arthritis, and type 2 diabetes, while also improving sleep and reducing depression.”

Other research shown that progressive resistance training – gradually increasing the weight, number of repetitions, or number sets – can create big increases in muscle strength for older women and men. 

What To Do For Strength Training for Older Adults?

Start with body weight exercises, like air squats, wall pushups, and some knee planks. You might even try the TRX straps, which work your core as well as body muscles. 

Then gradually progress to dumbbells, using light weights and doing three sets of 12 to 15 times movements. Resistance bands and the TRX are also great options for you. 

Regardless of the weight, practice good form. Ask a trainer for help if you need it. 

Strength training is critical for everyone, but especially for older adults.
Strength training is critical for everyone, but especially for older adults.

Just Resistance Training as Strength Training for Older Adults? 

If your schedule allows it, do three days a week of strength training. It’s also important to work with your mobility and balance. Yoga classes are great for both. 

Endurance training, like walking, running, cycling, rowing, or using an elliptical, is also important as endurance training for older people has been shown to provide equally big health benefits. 

Got Questions?

What are your questions about strength training or endurance sports training?

I’d be happy to set up a free training session to help you find exercises that work for you!