Dad has Parkinsons - wants to train once a week... with caveats Dad has Parkinsons - wants to train once a week... with caveats

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Thread: Dad has Parkinsons - wants to train once a week... with caveats

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    8

    Default Dad has Parkinsons - wants to train once a week... with caveats

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    Hi all,
    In the last couple of years my dad was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. He is apparently on a fairly rapid decline but thankfully his is also a doctor (General Practitioner) and has come to the revelation that some strength training will benefit him. He is 58

    He is not completely sold on the idea of a full training like with Starting Strength however. Maybe he will come around when he realises the true benefit but for now I will have him drive around to my house once a week to strength train. He also doesn't want to strength train the lower body but wants to do anaerobic exercise on a stationary bike (sprint training). I am happy to take what I have and do this on his terms as last thing I want is for him to not like what I am doing and not do it.

    His key identified areas of weakness are:
    • Grip strength
    • "Upper body" strength
    • "Core" strength


    I will definitely get him started on the deadlift, as this is the exercise that will give him most benefit. I was also thinking the press, but if he cannot press the bar overhead I will get him started on the bench press.

    I would really appreciate people chiming in on this, even if you have absolutely no experience in the matter, or your experience is parkinsons, old people, training once a week, not doing the squat - some guidance around number of sets would be fantastic - I definitely do not want to make him overly sore - thank you very much.

    My own experience is I squat 575, bench 315, deadlift 625 at 5'7 165lb so I do feel like I can guide him properly through technique.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    North Texas
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    50,056

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    How is his balance deteriorating?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    How is his balance deteriorating?
    When he is tired he seems to lose balance to one side, always the same side, but this is always late at night after working

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Posts
    31

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    here is a video about a person with Parkinsons and training that maybe helpful: You Can Do This: Training with Parkinson's--Greysteel Client Dan McEachin - YouTube

  5. #5
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    Sep 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by pd_oldguy View Post
    here is a video about a person with Parkinsons and training that maybe helpful: You Can Do This: Training with Parkinson's--Greysteel Client Dan McEachin - YouTube
    Thank you for sending that, I have forwarded to my dad as it will be good motivation for him

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Chiming in: I'm 59 and got my diagnosis of PD last June. Was a resting tremor your dad's first symptom? I ask because that was mine (right hand) and it is correlated with asymmetries on my right side in both squat and bench.

    Yes, strength training is definitely mitigating for my symptoms, but I did train for a few years before the diagnosis. I'm back in my garage gym, after giving up my membership at a black iron gym, and I'm experimenting with pin squat and pin bench press in an effort to address those asymmetries.

    My neuro seems fascinated when I talk about barbell training, to the exclusion of aerobic activity, so that may be a prejudice of most doctors that don't train themselves. Regarding meds: I tried Ropinirole first, and didn't tolerate it well, and didn't want to take it on training days. Then I switched to Levodopa/cardidopa, the gold standard of PD meds.

    Your own lifts are impressive so I don't doubt that you will be able to guide your dad. My PRS are very modest but, again, I am glad I trained before my diagnosis because it is mitigating my symptoms now.

    I've always had a collection of IronMind grippers, so when I noticed a lack of strength and dexterity in my right hand, that one with the tremor, I dusted them off and started using them again. They even have smaller grippers meant for pinch grip.

    That's all I have for now. Please forgive me, as I was somewhat taken aback when I saw the headline of your post. I have a son who's 30, who also trains very effectively, and thought it could have been him, posting about helping me. This is one of the first times I have posted about PD, but I am more than willing to continue chiming in if it will help, and as I collect my thoughts.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    527

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    starting strength coach development program
    I appreciate you sharing. I only see a neuro every 3-6 months. But I'll ask him if he heard about this. He's also a professor at Emory in Atlanta.

    For me, other than just taking the meds, I generally don't consume content about treatment, or follow social media related to PD, or attend events like "Moving Day", coincidentally today here in Atlanta. They help people worse off than me, but I'm not trying to embrace any diagnosis.

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