Older adults – Strength after Sixty


Older adult defined as ≥ 64 years+

  • Muscle strength decreases by more than 10% each decade (Lynch, Metter et al. 1999)
  • Weakness is associated with decreased bone mineral density (Bevier, Wiswell et al. 1989)
  • Strength training is important to reverse these age-related changes
  • Prevention over cure
  • Recommended levels of physical activity for ≥ 64 years+


Strength after Sixty:

“Doing squats won’t kill you even if you’re old”


  • Use functional strength training that incorporates balance and co-ordination
  • Progressive overload – The muscles of older adults need to be challenged in order to grow just as the muscles of younger adult
  • Neuromuscular training – take advantage coordination and complex movements to challenge the brain
  • Movement standards refer to Exercise technique guidelines 

Best Exercises:

  • Double leg Bridge: neuromuscular training of the pelvic gluteal activation sequence as well as spinal articulation and control.

  • Single Leg Bridge: Strength progression as well as isolation, balance and coordination.

  • Squats: The Squat is very important movement to get right as it mimics sitting down, jumping and many everyday life movements you need in order to live!
    • When you improve squat strength, you are developing strength in a sequence that the brain can immediately apply to similar movements, such as walking up stairs, because it shares a similar relative timing sequence.

  • Deadlift:  how often you would need to bend over in a day? We use this movement all the time and don’t think about it.
    • Performing this exercise in a control environment can improve your everyday ability to pick something off the floor

Resistance program:

  • Training program recommendations:
    • 8-10 exercises
    • 2 -3 sets of 6-12 repetitions of each exercise
    • 70-80% of the one repetition maximum (1-RM)
    • 2-3 times per week
    • Program length: for periods ranging from six weeks to two years.
  • Dosage and progression as per novices
  • Slow progression for those with:
    • Hypertension
    • Arthritis
    • cardiovasular disease
    • other conditions that limit function
  • Setting and supervision: initial instruction and performance in a supervised setting are important