Train for strength and power at any age
Strength training is routinely emphasized by fitness professionals and for good reason: it is good for your bones, good for your overall health, and it can be fun! Strength training builds muscle, which is a main factor for sports and everyday tasks. Routinely practicing strength training can help us achieve life’s demands like carrying groceries or picking up grandkids, and becomes increasingly important as we age.
After the age of 50, muscle mass is lost at a rate of 1 – 2 percent per year. This decline in muscle mass, called sarcopenia, is partly due to reduced activity and decreases in the hormones that help build and maintain muscle mass. With the loss of muscle mass, there is also a loss of strength and power. So it is important to train for both strength and power to reduce the risk of injuries and remain active.
In performance, strength is the amount of force you can generate, and power is how fast you can generate that force. A deadlift — hip-dominant movement that works the glutes, hamstrings, core, back, and trapezius muscles — is an example of strength. It is a slow, controlled movement, often with added weight. Whereas, throwing a baseball or jumping over a puddle represent power exercises. The ‘explosive’ speed at which they are performed require parts of the body, like muscles and tendons, to work together in quick fashion.
Strength and power training programs can be customized for a person of any age to remain effective and reduce the risk of injury. For example, a 70-year old gentleman whose goal is to throw a baseball with his grandson would benefit from strength and power training. Throughout his training program, he may progress to lifting a light weight at the speed of his throw.
Additional examples of power exercises include throwing a medicine ball, box jumps, and other plyometrics. For groups with joint pain or mobility considerations, the power can be modified: for example, tossing a small medicine ball may be more effective than jumping or doing explosive push-ups.
Exercises are best done with the guidance of a performance coach who can supervise for excellent form, as well as dictate frequency and rest, both crucial to remaining healthy and increasing strength over time.
For those with no intention of throwing a baseball or jumping over a puddle, strength and power training is still an important part of performance conditioning and upkeep. Tahoe winters require walkin on snow and ice. Those slippery surfaces require balance and fast, powerful movements to avoid injury and resist falls. Strength and power training is feasible at any age, and produces a meaningful advantage for movement in daily life.
Kyler Crouse is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with Barton Performance. He specializes in athletic performance training and offers individualized training and exercise programs to the Lake Tahoe community. To meet with Kyler and get started on an exercise program that fits your needs, stop by the Barton Center for Orthopedics & Wellness at 2170B South Avenue in South Lake Tahoe or visit BartonHealth.org.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.