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  • Writer's pictureRipon Physio Co.

Strength Training for the 'Older Adult'

The older adult like your grandmother or grandfather would benefit from strength training.

Strength training for older people is to reduce the loss of muscle mass and strength (it's called sarcopenia for those medical nerds 👀), indirectly linking to maintain or improve motor function.


Firstly, who is in the elderly bracket? It used to be 45 years..with modern technology, evidence-based information and improved healthcare (each can and will always improve), it's now give or take 60 years old! It still depends on where you read, though! When you're reading, remember you are the one who should be able to spot the articles weakness and strengths to ensure good, reliable, valid and high-quality content.

When I say weakness, what does that even mean?

Articles are based on a hierarchical level of evidence, so there's a systematic review, meta-analysis, randomised control trials and so on. Then there are the parameters of the actual article, is there bias (what type of bias??), who funded it, the researcher's relationship to the participants and so on. I could go on for days.

The end result is to get informed of the correct evidence-based information before jumping on the bandwagon of "drinking this special 2 Litres of juice day will make my osteoarthritis go away"... No. It doesn't work like that. Balance is everything, but sometimes you may need to push yourself in a certain direction to get that balance back.

The age of 30 is when strength begins to decrease. 🤦🏼‍♀️

At the end of the day, if you don't practice it will go. For me, I was able to do double the current deadlifts pre-coronavirus, but I haven't been training, got lazy, enjoyed my Netflix life too much & now I'm struggling to do 50% of the weights I used to be able to do. There's no such thing as "I'm too old". If you believe you're 80 years old, then you start to mentally plant negative seeds of small things like, "ah, I'm 80, not 21 anymore. I can't do that". Well, you can do it once you build the FOUNDATIONS again. If you're weak and start flying with the weights, you will hurt yourself. Always go to a physiotherapist for the correct diagnosis and management of your issue. You may think you have this and that, but again, physiotherapist studied conditions for years & have the ability to provide evidence-based practice.


Back to OA after that tangent:

~ Increasing strength

Increasing motor units, firing rate, muscle spindles, Actin & myosin, type 1 & type 2 fibres

~ High-Intensity Load Training is good

60-80% 1RPM at low repetitions

~All major muscle groups, especially the Glutes (that's your bum muscles!), thighs (Quadriceps) & core!

~Train 3 to 4 times a week (under supervision!)

It's more effective to do an exercise 5/6 times in the right way than 30 in the wrong because you can recruit the wrong primary muscles & then you can be using secondary muscles that shouldn't be taking on the weight in that form.

~Have a mix of exercises (walking/Nordic walking/strength/Pilates)

~ Improved Lifestyle

After my rehabilitation with a physiotherapist, maybe I will take those stairs after all! It will be good for me.

~Improves postural control

~ Clearer mentality

Being sharper and clear mind

~Strength training has a positive effect on Cardiovascular disorders, metastasis, diabetes, osteoarthritis and osteoporosis (McDermot,2006) (J.Latham,2009).

Falls and injuries increase when you get older. Raymond J, 2008, RCT, found 30% of people fall after the age of 65 years. So the end goal is to be fit, nice balanced diet and good mental health with a strong support system!


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