I Taught a 64-yo Woman to Squat, Deadlift and Press Today
She took coaching well, and was displaying good form. Her weights weren't bad for a detrained female.
When we were done, she started crying. "For so long I thought I was...over," she said.
"Nope. You're just getting started."
I'm going to the ER now, but I think the best medicine of the day is already behind me.
Sully, this might be the entire forum's best post ever. Well done, sir.
Hey Sully, please elaborate. Was she able to do a full squat with the bar or did you have to work her on the leg press before she could work with the bar? does she have some sort of athletic background?
Nice work, chief! You clear out all your fancy equipment in the lab, and build a lifting platform in there instead?
I had her start with the dry squat, just like Rip teaches it, and she went down to parallel. This was a concern, because she has some hip arthritis, but as it turned out she did fine with it. So the leg press wasn't necessary...a good thing, since I don't have one. And without any coaching at all she automatically pointed her toes out to 30 deg, let her femurs track over her feet, and came out of the hole with hip drive. She was very freaked out watching Marilyn and I do low-bar squats, but once I got her under the 10-lb bar she understood--the bar's not going anywhere. I put her on the 25-lb bar and she did fine, aside from some mild flexibity issues at her shoulder. Went just below parallel. She wanted to do the 45-lb bar but I said no. She pressed 45 lbs easy, but needed some patient coaching on her form. Like a lot of people, she wants to throw the bar behind her rather that move forward under it.
Originally Posted by Carlos Daniel
The deadlift is utterly alien to her. (Pick a heavy barbell up off the floor? What, are you crazy? Who does that? ) That will take a little more work, but we made huge progress and she pulled 85 lbs. Her form kept going to hell at the top and on the way down. It took me a bit to figure out what was wrong, until I realized it was her chest position. I cued it at the bottom of course (chest up!), but I failed to realize that her problem at the top and on the way down was that she was letting her chest down. Once I sussed it and cue'd her on it, the dead cleaned up immensely. In fact, it was kinda cool to watch how that one little cue--tap at the top of the sternum--basically unfucked her lift by 90%.
Having Marilyn there was huge. Marilyn is younger than her by 13 years, but still, she is a woman over 50, and watching her deadlift and squat big weight was a great example for our friend.
She had been very active in the past with (I think) running and nautilus and dumbells and yoga and whatnot, but had given up quite some time ago because of detraining and arthritis. Eventually she got to into the "well, now I'm too old to do anything about it" headspace. I think an hour under the bar fixed that. She was ecstatic when she left. I hope she sticks with it. We'll see.
Last edited by Jonathon Sullivan; 04-08-2012 at 10:21 PM.
Don't tempt me. I am seriously thinking about how I can do more of this. I want to teach seniors how to squat. I'm just glad my first foray wasn't a disaster.
Originally Posted by tertius
It's a great feeling, isn't it?
I'd just note that the feelings of surprise at competence are not confined to older people (whatever you call "older"). There are people of 30 or so who have not done a squat since they were toddlers.
Side note: I haven't coached any seniors, but I've taught people from age 14 through middle age, and I've found that the DL usually poses more coaching challenges than the squat. I find it pretty easy to coach the squat now that I use Rip's teaching method, actually. Which is weird, because, before taking the seminar, I'd always thought of the DL as rather intuitive and the squat as much more technical. Anyway, just throwing out the possibility that her issues there may have had nothing to do with age. The DL might just be harder to learn for people who do not already have a good intuitive sense of and control over their backs. And the cues often have to be more individually tailored in the DL because the important form criteria are... less mechanically straightforward in the DL, for lack of a better way to put it at the moment.