Programming advice for my elderly mom Programming advice for my elderly mom

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Thread: Programming advice for my elderly mom

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2018

    Default Programming advice for my elderly mom

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    Thousand Thanks in advance for guidance.

    My Mom: 92, 5'2", 106#, sarcopenic, balance issues, currently living independently in her own home and would like to ditch the cane.

    In January, I was able to get her to agree to try some RT at the Y. A trainer introduced her to the Cybex Row and Chest Press. Subsequently I was able to get her on the Leg Press and Lat Pulldown. Until recently she was very reluctant to add any weight but now has more confidence and willingness. The machines have a dial 0, 5, 15, and also weight plates.

    Current program: Walking and RT at the Y 3 days/week as follows:
    - walk 3 laps with cane (19 is a mile)
    - 3 sets of 5 on the Cybex seated row dial at 10, 15, 10, no weight plates used at this time
    - walk 1 lap
    - 3 sets of 5 on the Cybex seated press dial at 0, 10, 0, no weight plates used at this time
    - walk 1 lap
    - 3 sets of 5 on Cybex leg press 40, 45, 50 weight plates
    - walk 1 lap
    -3 sets of 5 on Cybex lat pull down dial at 10, 15, 10, no weight plates used at this time
    - walk 2 laps

    The program above moves slowly. It takes us about 45 minutes to get through it. She reports more fatigue the day after

    - progressive programming advice
    - how many sets and how many reps for row, press, lat, leg press are appropriate for her?
    - do I stick with 3-5s and try to increase resistance or do we do more reps/sets before increasing ? If so, how many reps/sets?
    - i don't have any illusions of ever getting her under a barbell but are there other machines or exercises we should consider adding?
    - should I get something to use on the machines to micro-load the increases?
    - any other thoughts or advise are welcome

    She has a hard time eating enough, but since Feb she is using a scoop of whey protein every morning.

    Lastly, I'm thankful I found SS and Barbell Prescription last fall when I quit working. Your knowledge is wonderful and your willingness to share it is greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    North Texas


    The most important thing you can have her do right now is to stop walking, and cut her back to 2 days a week. She's only got so much gas, and you need to think carefully about where to burn it. How much benefit does she get from walking vs. getting stronger? The people at the Y are no more qualified than you are to decide this, and she is your gal. She's tired at the end of all this shit, and we don't want her tired -- we want her stronger. Do the same stuff without the walking twice a week for 2 weeks and see how she feels. You will have to microload all of this, so tool up.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Chicago Burbs, IL


    Quote Originally Posted by Pattn View Post
    In January, I was able to get her to agree to try some RT at the Y.
    Well done! Any tips on how to you managed this would be welcome!

    Best of luck!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Kingwood TX


    On the Leg Press you might have to use a combination of rep progressions and load. I have a very aged and deconditioned 80+ year old guy I'm working with now and we Leg Press 2x/week.

    I actually use sets of 8-10 on the leg press rather than 5s for 3 work sets.


    Week 1, Day 1: 3 x 8 x 100 lbs
    Week 1, Day 2: 3 x 10 x 100 lbs (if possible)
    Week 2, Day 1: 3 x 8 x 110 lbs
    Week 2, Day 2: 3 x 10 x 110 lbs

    Someone else can explain it but it seems to work really well and I've been doing this with him for months and it's been working beautifully in terms of getting him stronger and keeping him recovered. I feel like 2 exposures to the load before going up in weight is a good idea. I don't think he could handle faster loading but he seems to be able to handle a slight increase in volume.
    I've done similar strategy with squats for like 10 years in the 3-5 rep range and it works there too.


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