Tag Archives: seniors weight training

How Much Weight Should You Lift?

Although the question of how much weight you should lift is a simple one, the answer isn’t so simple. A lot depends on why you are lifting. Do you want to build strength, or just build muscle size?

Bill Geiger, MA, of Bodybuilding.com writes, “You can pick up a 20-pound bar, curl it 75 times, and, after a while, you’ll become fatigued and your arms will get pumped. You’ll certainly be sweating a lot. Conversely, you can pick up an 85-pound bar, curl it 8 times, then have to drop it because you can’t do any more reps. In both cases, you trained “hard.” But is one approach better than another?

It may surprise you to learn that the answer changes depending on your goal. If you’re looking to get as strong as possible, you’ll be using a heavier weight than someone who is trying to get as big as possible. And to improve muscular endurance, you’ll use an even lighter weight.

• Strength training means choosing weights that allow you to train in a rep range of 1-6.
• Building muscle mean choosing weights that allow you to train in a rep range of 8-12.
• Focusing on muscular endurance means choosing weights that allow you to train for at least 15 reps.

As a senior citizen, I need to lift weights as much as the next guy, but I do not want to break or tear anything. So, I observe the following rule, the weights should not exceed 30 percent to 40 percent of your normal body weight.

The above is NOT Tony about to lift that barbell

Lifting heavy weights compresses the discs of the spine; twisting and turning while lifting or using your back muscles instead of your leg and thigh muscles to lift large, heavy objects can lead to a herniated disk and a lifetime of back pain. If you weigh 150 pounds, you should not exercise with more than 60 pounds of weights because as you age, the spinal discs are not as flexible and the risk of a back injury increases.

I mentioned in previous posts that as a senior citizen, I now do what I call ‘old man’ reps, i.e., half the weight with twice as many reps. The idea behind this is to work and lubricate the connecting tissues as well as to exercise the actual muscle.



Filed under Uncategorized, weight-training

Weight Training Techniques for Seniors

One of my problems with most advice on working with weights is that it is written by young jocks for young jocks. I am a senior citizen and I don’t want to break or tear any parts of my body. If I tried to emulate some of the recommendations or workouts done by you younger guys and gals I think I would end up in the emergency room.

The principles of exercise change for seniors whether it is cardio or resistance work. I have written about seniors doing endurance sports and also seniors lifting weights.

Dr. Anthony Goodman, in the course I took called Lifelong Health, said that seniors should concentrate on using lower weights, but do higher reps because seniors want to strengthen their ligaments and tendons as well as the muscles. Ligaments and tendons weaken as we age and lead to injuries that can really slow you down. Strengthening ligaments can also protect you from common aging problems like Achilles tendon rupture, rotator cuff tears in the shoulder and hip and knee injuries.

Having said that, I am very pleased to pass on the bottom quarter of a recommendation from Dr. Doug McGuff as reported by Dr. Mercola on his fitness website in January of 2012. Although over a year old, it was news, welcome news, to me. I hope it will be to you, too. Sometimes old news is good news.

Dr. McGuff is explaining super-slow weight lifting. As you will see in his conclusion it is especially helpful for seniors.

Essentially, by aggressively working your muscle to fatigue, you’re stimulating the muscular adaptation that will improve the metabolic capability of the muscle and cause it to grow. McGuff recommends using four or five basic compound movements for your exercise set. These exercises can be done using either free weights or machines. The benefit of using a quality machine is that it will allow you to focus your mind on the effort, as opposed on the movement, because the movement is restricted by the structure of the machine.

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Filed under aging, endurance sports, seniors, Weight, weight-bearing exercise, weight-training

Add Weight Work to Your Cardio Exercise

As I said in About Me and elsewhere on the blog, I love to ride my bike and burn up calories, but don’t do very well on the weight work and building lean muscle mass. Usually, I get to the health club when the snow and ice comes in winter here in Chicago and I am no longer able to navigate my bicycle outdoors. But, when winter conditions start to dissolve, so does my interest in health club workouts. Weight no longer has been the rule.

I no longer think about a club visit like a kid having to eat his veggies

This year, however, I have resolved to continue to work out with weights even when I can ride my bike every day.

Tuesday is a good example. I rode 20 miles in the morning, ate, walked the dog and then went to the health club instead of going back out on the bike.

My new workout consists of five minutes on the rowing machine to get my heart started. I considered my roughly 2 hour bike ride as my cardio instead of 30 minutes on the rower.

Then I do three sets of my three ‘big muscle’ exercises. These include leg presses, lat pull downs and chest presses on a machine.

On the one hand these are the same exercises I did when I lost 50 pounds in 52 weeks. However, with my new information about senior workouts cutting down on the actual weights and increasing the reps to benefit the tendons and ligaments, I am no longer finished in 15 minutes as before.

I just did a workout and it lasted 45 minutes including the 5 on the rower.

The fact that I am still doing weight work two months after the start of winter has had an interesting side effect. I find my shirts slightly tighter and my pants a little looser. Not a bad thing.


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Filed under aging, Exercise, life challenges, Weight, weight-training