ROM and the Elderly ROM and the Elderly

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Thread: ROM and the Elderly

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    Denver, CO
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    49

    Default ROM and the Elderly

    I have a 74 year old client who I've trained for years. This morning, in the interest of providing maximal value, I asked him if there was anything I might be missing when it comes to our training together, or anything that could improve his experience. Ed, a retired pediatrician, wondered if my cuing him to Squat deeper, reach higher (Pulldowns), or extend further (EZ Curls; don't worry he DL's, Presses, and Benches also) compromised the safety of his joints. Seems like a reasonable question to me; I have wondered the same thing to myself in the midst of cuing him.

    He indicated that his tendons & ligaments felt more vulnerable at some of these end points of motion some of the time.

    Is there a place for the elderly to NOT go to a full range of motion to ensure safer joints? Are there any cases where this would be recommended?

    Another thought I have is that if his joints feel vulnerable, perhaps we should back off the weight until his body feels safe overall. And then continue with our normal, full ROM. Thoughts on this?

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Texas
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    1,519

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    It is not unusual for people to feel uncomfortable and shut down as they go into ROM they have neglected to use and lost strength from. That is a training problem, corrected by using the ROM and developing strength.

    If a person has developed actual pathology in the joints - bone spurs, for example - no, you don't push into that defect. Bony changes cannot be fixed by training and smashing soft tissue into them is a bad idea.

    That said, it is not clear if your post if you are working him into normal ROM or something beyond that. Why are you trying to get him to "extend further" on EZ curls? Further than what? Reach higher into pulldowns? Why? Relaxing and letting the joints/ligaments take the load is not the idea for anyone. Hypermobility is not a good thing. Not sure that this is what you're trying to get him to do, or what is actually going on. Perhaps you can clarify for us.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    Denver, CO
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    For years Ed was lifting with a full ROM. But b/c of some set backs (a couple years ago he slipped and fell, losing around 7 mos. training), he has had some strength loss, and ROM loss. I am not aware of any medical reasons why he is unable to go full ROM (like your bone spur example).

    When I say extend further in the EZ Curl, I am looking for elbows to be almost fulled extended (certianly not hyperextended). I am looking for the humerus and the forearms to almost be in a straight line. He is currently extended such that his elbows are at apprx. a 150 degree angle. On the Pulldowns, yes I am not looking for his joints to be relaxed, but again, a full extension such that his elbows are close to a 180 degree angle. Do you think that he should be going close to a 180 degree angle during these movements or should we trust his inclination to stay away from fully reaching up on a Pulldown and fully reaching down during a Curl? Again, we are assuming that we are keeping the joints tight and secure during these movements.

    Another option is to go lighter and reclaim full ROM. This is my hunch at the best option.

    Do you need more information?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    10,382

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScottyBuckeye View Post
    Another option is to go lighter and reclaim full ROM. This is my hunch at the best option.
    That probably is.

    Quote Originally Posted by ScottyBuckeye View Post
    Do you need more information?
    We are not in the room with this fellow. We'd need a lot more information than you could provide over a web forum to say anything definitive.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Denver, CO
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    Thank you Tom and Stef. I will proceed with lighter weights

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