Power Training For Senior Citizens & Older Adults

Power Training For Seniors

We all know, the muscle mass diminish as we age, which leads to progressive loss in our muscle strength. But many of us might not know that the power dwindles even more rapidly. Whereas strength is an important factor, but your capacity to produce power is more critical to your ability to carry on the activities of everyday living.

Read on to learn what Power Training is? How to do Power-Training with examples, tips & VIDEOS, especially for beginners, older adults & seniors.

To understand the difference between strength & power, just consider this everyday-living example: A senior citizen who has sufficient strength can in all likely hood cross an extremely busy intersection with relative ease. In comparison, a senior citizen who is able to produce more power can cross the same intersection faster before the light changes.

Effect Of Power & Strength Training On Every Day Physical Functions

A study published in the Journal of Gerontology, Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences in 2003 analyzed the effects of a sixteen-week exercise program on the physical activities. In this study 39 subjects between the ages of 65 & 90 participated. They were randomly divided in three groups.

(ii) Control Group: Participants were asked to continue their usual activity with no intervention.

(ii) Second Group: Participants were performed a sixteen-week strength-training routine of traditional resistance exercises 3 days per week.

(iii) Third group performed were instructed to perform eight weeks of traditional strength training followed by 8 weeks of power training.

It was found at the end of the sixteen weeks, the power-training group exhibited greater improvements in physical function. (Source).   

Power Training For Senior Citizens & Older Adults

Most people, including senior citizens & older adults, can benefit from power training. You can include power-training exercises into your workout routine, provided you are already doing exercises and have a good foundation of strength. Moreover, if you have joint pain, instability or joint inflammation then you should not do power training.

You can do power training in various ways, but performing the usual resistance exercises is a great way to begin. Here are some good tips to start including power training into senior fitness workout programs:

(i) Choose both upper- and lower-body types of exercises that you are already performing well.

(ii) Practice to perform the exercise quickly during the concentric phase & slowly, in a controlled manner during the eccentric phase.

(iii) Select multi-joint exercises that mimic activities of daily living.

Examples Of Power Exercises

Upper Body: Pushups

Move into the downward phase slowly in a controlled manner (e.g., for 3 counts). Next, do the upward phase rapidly (e.g., 1 count). Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Note: The beginners & seniors can watch this video to learn proper technique of doing pushups. Note: For power do the upward movement quickly & downward movement slowly.

Lower Body: Body-weight Squat

Move into the downward phase slowly in a controlled manner (e.g., for 3 counts). Next, stand up rapidly (e.g., 1 count). Perform the desired number of repetitions.

Note: The beginners & seniors can watch this video to learn proper technique of doing squats. Note: For power do the upward movement quickly & downward movement slowly.

Important: Power Training Tips

(i) Like traditional strength training, power training can be done on 2 to 3 nonconsecutive days in a week. Keep the exercise intensity somewhere between 20-80% of your 1-RM. Do 1 to 3 sets of six to 12 repetitions. Be sure to start conservatively and progressively increase intensity, reps & sets as you gain power & strength.

(ii) Select some strength exercise, which you can do comfortably. Perform it’s concentric & eccentric contractions in the manner as stated in the above two examples to increase your functional power.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I enjoy your website and practiced most of your recommendations. May I ask for advise: A month ago I had heart bypass operation, with the result that I lost 16 pounds body mass and strength. Can you recommend a workout program by which I shall regain some of my strength and stamina in a reasonsble time. I am 67 years old, walk a lot but are hesitant to do other exercises at this stage. Thank you

    • Hi Carl, There is no one plan that can fit all. It depends on many things such as your fitness, strength, endurance levels and medical conditions. The one recommendation I can give you is start with very-very light weights/low reps and increase them as you gain strength & endurance. Of course after taking clearance from your surgeon/doctor.

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