Everyone benefits from strengthening muscles. I believe that as we grow older we gain even more benefit from load training. We must use caution when adding weight, repetitions, sets, or frequency as we grow older. Older adults who make progressive load training a regular habit will increase muscle mass, bone density, and overall metabolic function. Stronger muscles and bones contribute to better balance and decreases the likelihood of injuries from falls. I am expecting that my load training will enable me to live to 120 years old. Even if load training does not extend life it will improve quality.
Please observe the word "Progressions" in the title. Start with what you dan easily do and GRADUALLY work up to the recommended level of repititions and sets. Start with no weight if you need to and gradually add to that weight. You determine how much for the maximum weight. This is not a weight lifting competition. Lift what is comfortable. If and when you are comfortable adding more weight, that is part of the possible progression.
Load Training at Home
Wide Leg Squats - 12 Repetitions 3 Sets
Stand with feet wider than shoulders, knees slightly bent, toes turned outward. Hold a dumbbell with both hands in front of body.
INHALE: Squat until thighs are nearly parallel to the floor, sticking butt out as if sitting in a chair.
EXHALE: Squeeze glutes as you straighten legs to starting position to complete one rep.
Special Instructions Keep abs contracted. Make sure knees do not pass the line of the toes.
Lunges 20 Repetitions 6 Sets
Step 1 Starting Position: Stand with your feet together. Pull your shoulder blades toward your hips. Engage your abdominal/core muscles ("brace") to stabilize your spine.
Step 2 In preparation to step forward, slowly lift one foot off the floor and find your balance on the standing leg. Try not to move the standing foot and maintain balance without wobbling. Pause. Hold this position briefly before stepping forward. The raised foot should land on the heel first. Slowly shift your body weight onto the lead foot, placing it firmly on the floor. As you shift your body weight to the lead foot/leg, avoid the tendency to tilt or sway the upper body and try not to move the forward foot.
Step 3 As you step forward into the lunge, focus on a downward movement of your hips toward the floor. Avoid driving your hips forward. This will help control the forward movement of your shinbone over your foot. Continue lowering your body to a comfortable position or until your front thigh becomes parallel with the floor and your shinbone is in a slight forward lean. During the movement, slightly bend forward at your hips. Keep the back straight.
Step 4 Firmly push off with the front leg, activating both your thighs and butt muscles to return to your upright, starting position. We suggest you first learn how to perform single leg-stands on the ground before performing this forward lunge. Once you master the forward lunge, you can progress to doing a lunge using arm drivers and multi-directional glute activation lunges.
Dumbbell Calf Raises 20 Repetitions 3 Sets
Step 1: Stand with your torso upright holding two dumbbells in your hands by your sides. Place the ball of the foot on a sturdy and stable wooden board (that is around 2-3 inches tall) while your heels extend off and touch the floor. This will be your starting position.
Step 2: With the toes pointing either straight (to hit all parts equally), inwards (for emphasis on the outer head) or outwards (for emphasis on the inner head), raise the heels off the floor as you exhale by contracting the calves. Hold the top contraction for a second.
Step 3: As you inhale, go back to the starting position by slowly lowering the heels.
Upright Rows 15 Repetitions 3 Sets
Step 1: Grasp a dumbbell in each hand with a pronated (palms forward) grip that is slightly less than shoulder width. The dumbbells should be resting on top of your thighs. Your arms should be extended with a slight bend at the elbows and your back should be straight. This will be your starting position.
Step 2: Use your side shoulders to lift the dumbbells as you exhale. The dumbbells should be close to the body as you move it up and the elbows should drive the motion. Continue to lift them until they nearly touch your chin. Tip: Your elbows should drive the motion. As you lift the dumbbells, your elbows should always be higher than your forearms. Also, keep your torso stationary and pause for a second at the top of the movement.
Step 3: Lower the dumbbells back down slowly to the starting position. Inhale as you perform this portion of the movement.
Bent Over Flys 15 Repetitions 3 Sets
Step1: Set up for the exercise by grasping a pair of dumbbells with a neutral grip (palms facing each other) and standing with your feet around shoulder width apart.
Step 2: Bend slightly at the knees and bring your torso forward by bending at the waist.
Step 3: Keep your head up and your eyes facing forward. Each elbow should be slightly bent and the dumbbells should be directly under your chest. The dumbbells should not be touching. This is the starting position.
Step 4: Moving only at the shoulders, raise your arms in a semi-circular motion out to your sides until your arms are parallel to the floor. Keep the slight bend in your elbows throughout the movement.
Step 5: Squeeze your shoulder blades at the height of the movement and then begin slowly lowering the dumbbells back to the starting position.
Lying Dumbbell Presses 10 Repetitions 3 Sets
Step 1: Lie down on a flat bench with a dumbbell in each hand resting on top of your thighs. The palms of your hands will be facing each other.
Step 2: Then, using your thighs to help raise the dumbbells up, lift the dumbbells one at a time so that you can hold them in front of you at shoulder width.
Step 3: Once at shoulder width, rotate your wrists forward so that the palms of your hands are facing away from you. The dumbbells should be just to the sides of your chest, with your upper arm and forearm creating a 90 degree angle. Be sure to maintain full control of the dumbbells at all times. This will be your starting position.
Step 4: Then, as you breathe out, use your chest to push the dumbbells up. Lock your arms at the top of the lift and squeeze your chest, hold for a second and then begin coming down slowly. Tip: Ideally, lowering the weight should take about twice as long as raising it.
Caution:When you are done, do not drop the dumbbells next to you as this is dangerous to your rotator cuff in your shoulders and others working out around you.
Just lift your legs from the floor bending at the knees, twist your wrists so that the palms of your hands are facing each other and place the dumbbells on top of your thighs. When both dumbbells are touching your thighs simultaneously push your upper torso up (while pressing the dumbbells on your thighs) and also perform a slight kick forward with your legs (keeping the dumbbells on top of the thighs). By doing this combined movement, momentum will help you get back to a sitting position with both dumbbells still on top of your thighs. At this moment you can place the dumbbells on the floor.
Dumbbell Flys 10 Repetitions 3 Sets
Step 1: Lie down on a flat bench with a dumbbell on each hand resting on top of your thighs. The palms of your hand will be facing each other.
Step 2: Then using your thighs to help raise the dumbbells, lift the dumbbells one at a time so you can hold them in front of you at shoulder width with the palms of your hands facing each other. Raise the dumbbells up like you're pressing them, but stop and hold just before you lock out. This will be your starting position.
Step 3: With a slight bend on your elbows in order to prevent stress at the biceps tendon, lower your arms out at both sides in a wide arc until you feel a stretch on your chest. Breathe in as you perform this portion of the movement. Tip: Keep in mind that throughout the movement, the arms should remain stationary; the movement should only occur at the shoulder joint.
Step 4: Return your arms back to the starting position as you squeeze your chest muscles and breathe out. Tip: Make sure to use the same arc of motion used to lower the weights.
Step 5: Hold for a second at the contracted position.
Dumbbell Bent Over Rows 12 Repetitions - 3 Sets
Step 1: Holding a dumbbell in each hand, stand with the knees slightly bent. Keeping your back flat, bend forward at the hip joint.
Step 2: Exhale and lift both arms to the side, maintaining a slight bend in the elbows and squeezing your shoulder blades together.
Step 3: Then, with control, lower the dumbbells back toward the ground.
Single Arm Dumbbell Rows 12 Repetitions - 3 Sets
Step 1: Place the right leg forward, bend your torso forward from the waist until your upper body is parallel to the floor, and place your right hand on right knee for support.
Step 2: Use the left hand to pick up the dumbbell on the floor and hold the weight while keeping your lower back straight. The palm of the hand should be facing your torso. This will be your starting position.
Step 3: Pull the resistance straight up to the side of your chest, keeping your upper arm close to your side and keeping the torso stationary. Breathe out as you perform this step. Tip: Concentrate on squeezing the back muscles once you reach the full contracted position. Also, make sure that the force is performed with the back muscles and not the arms. Finally, the upper torso should remain stationary and only the arms should move. The forearms should do no other work except for holding the dumbbell; therefore do not try to pull the dumbbell up using the forearms.
Step 4: Lower the resistance straight down to the starting position. Breathe in as you perform this step.
Toes to Ceiling Raises 25 rep-sets
Step 1: Lie on flat bench.
Step 2: Grasp the sides of bench next to your head to aid stability.
Step 3: Keeping your back flat, raise your legs, straight up, so your toes point to the ceiling.
Step 4: Leading with your heels and using your abdominal muscles, raise your lower body straight up. Your legs should not swing forward but should remain verticle throughout the movement.
Step 5: Lower your hips to the bench, keeping your legs in the same verticle position.
Bent Knee Tucks 25 rep-sets
Step 1: Sit sideways on a bench grasping the side.
Step 2: Lean back and straighten your legs, using your hands to help keep balanced.
Step 3: Keeping your abs tight and your legs straight, bring your knees to your chest and then push them out again so your legs are straight.
Note: Do not touch the floor with your feet between reps, but rather, keep the tension in your abdominal area.
Triceps Kickbacks 15 Repetitions - 3 Sets
Step 1: Starting Position: Hold a dumbbell in your left hand. Stand in a split-stance position with your right leg forward. Keep your weight evenly distributed through the heels of both feet. Brace your abdominal and core muscles to stabilize the spine. Place your right hand on your right thigh. Slowly lean forward, shifting most of your upper extremity body weight into the right side. Pull your shoulder blades down and back. Your head should be aligned with your spine. Maintain these engagements throughout the exercise.
Step 2: Bend your left elbow bringing your left upper arm parallel to, and close to, your torso. Your forearm should hang vertical to the floor.
Step 3: Upward Phase: Exhale and slowly straighten your elbow. Your upper arm should remain stationary next to your torso. Do not allow the upper arm to rise during the movement. Do not allow the low back to sag or your torso to rotate.
Step 4: Downward Phase: Inhale and slowly bend your elbow, returning your arm to starting position. Do not allow your torso to change position. Keep your upper arm parallel and close to your torso.
Seated Dumbbell Extensions 15 Repetitions - 3 Sets
Step 1: Grab a dumbbell and either sit on a military press bench or a utility bench that has a back support on it as you place the dumbbells upright on top of your thighs or stand up straight.
Step 2: Clean the dumbbell up to bring it to shoulder height and then extend the arm over your head so that the whole arm is perpendicular to the floor and next to your head. The dumbbell should be on top of you. The other hand can be kept fully extended to the side, by the waist, supporting the upper arm that has the dumbbell or grabbing a fixed surface.
Step 3: Rotate the wrist so that the palm of your hand is facing forward and the pinkie is facing the ceiling. This will be your starting position.
Step 4: Slowly lower the dumbbell behind your head as you hold the upper arm stationary. Inhale as you perform this movement and pause when your triceps are fully stretched.
Step 5: Return to the starting position by flexing your triceps as you breathe out. Tip: It is imperative that only the forearm moves. The upper arm should remain at all times stationary next to your head.
Standing Hammer Curls 12 Repetitions - 3 Sets
Step 1: Stand up with your torso upright and a dumbbell on each hand being held at arms length. The elbows should be close to the torso.
Step 2: The palms of the hands should be facing your torso. This will be your starting position.
Step 3: Now, while holding your upper arm stationary, exhale and curl the weight forward while contracting the biceps. Continue to raise the weight until the biceps are fully contracted and the dumbbell is at shoulder level. Hold the contracted position for a brief moment as you squeeze the biceps. Tip: Focus on keeping the elbow stationary and only moving your forearm.
Step 4: After the brief pause, inhale and slowly begin the lower the dumbbells back down to the starting position.
Seated Alternating Curls 12 Repetitions - 3 Sets
Step 1: Sitting on a bench, hold a pair of dumbbells at your sides with your arms fully extended and your palms facing in front of you.
Step 2: Bending at the elbow, curl one dumbbell toward your shoulder.
Step 3: Pause, then lower the arm to the starting position.
Step 4: Alternate arms.
Load Training at the Gym
Smith Machine Squats 12 Repetitions - 3 Sets
Step 1: Stand on machine platform
Step 2: Stand straight and go up as far as possible on your toes.
Step 3: Lower, stretching your calves as far as they will go.
Standing Calf machine Heel Raises 25 Repetitions - 3 Sets
Prep: Position your feet on the platform and shoulders under the pads.
Step 1: Go straight up on your toes as far as you can go.
Step 2: Lower you body, stretching your calves as far as they will go.
Low Pulley Bench Kickbacks 15 Repetitions - 3 Sets
Prep: Kneel on one leg on a flat bench and strap pulley cuff on ankle. Rise up so you can swing your leg back without touching the floor.
Step 1: Start with you leg to pull forward.
Step 2: Swing leg back until parallel to the floor.
Step 3: Bring leg back to the forward position.
Lateral Raises 15 Repetitions - 3 Sets
Step 1: Stand with feet shoulder width apart and dumbbells held in front.
Step 2: With elbows slightly bent raise dumbbells until arms are slightly above shoulder level.
Step 3: Bring back down with control.
Lat-Machine Pulldowns 15 Repetitions - 3 Sets
Step 1: Sit on chair with knees secured under the pad.
Step 2: While sitting straight bring the bar down, in front, to shoulder level.
Step 3: Squeeze back and shoulder muscles.
Step 4: Return bar back to starting poistion with control.
Captain's Knee Raises 25 Repetitions - 2 Sets
Step 1: Place forarms on the arm rests and grasp the handles and press your back against the backrest.
Step 2: Lift your legs, bending your knees, using only abdominal muscles.
Step 3: Lower your legs with control.
Incline Dumbbell Presses 12 Repetitions - 3 Sets
Prep: Adjust bench to 35 degrees. Lie back on bench with dumbbells at shoulder level.
Step 1: Press the dumbbells straight up toward the ceiling.
Step 2: Lower them with control.
Incline Dumbbell Curls 12 Repetitions - 3 Sets
Prep: Sit on incline bench, with 45-60 degree incline. Hold dumbbells at sides with palms facing forward.
Step 1: Curl weights up to shoulder level by bending arms at elbows.
Step 2: Lower them under control.
Lying Triceps Barbell Extensions 12 Repetitions - 3 Sets
Prep: Lie flat on bench, looking up, feet on floor, bring barbell into straight up position with arms locked.
Step 1: Bending elbows and keeping upper arms still, lower the weight to your forhead.
Step 2: Push the weight back up.
Leg Curls 15 Repetitions - 3 Sets
Step 1: Place first ankle against the pad.
Step 2: Bend your leg until the roller reaches top position.
Step 3: Lower leg under control.
Seated Calf Machine Heel Raises 13 Repetitions - 3 Sets,/p>
Step 1: Sit on bench and slide knees under pad.
Step 2: Lift the pad by going up on your toes.
Step 3: Lower your heels below the footrests.
Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Presses 15 Repetitions - 3 Sets
Prep: Do not round your back. Hoist dumbbells to soulder level.
Step 1: Push up until elbows arealmost locked.
Step 2: Lower to shoulder level.
Bent Over Flys 15 Repetitions - 3 Sets
Step 1: Stand with feet shoulder width apart, dumbbells in hand.
Step 2: Bend forward until your upper back is near parallel to the floor (do not arch your back, stick you butt out, pull stomach in and look ahead).
Step 3: With elbows slightly bent raise both arms until they are level with shoulders. (Keep body stable and move only arms)
Step 4: Bring back down under control.
Low Pulley Rows 12 Repetitions - 3 Sets
Step 1: Sit on the chair, rest feet on the footrest, grasp the handle and sit back. Keep your back arched and not rounded.
Step 2: Pull the handle to your lower chest.
Step 3: Squeeze your back muscles.
Step 4: Lower the weight but keep some resistance into the next repetition.
Reverse Crunches 25 rep-sets
Prep: Use a flat bench with buttock jsut over the end and feet on the floor. Lie back, grasp the sides of the bench with both hands. Keep knees bent.
Step 1: Brings legs forward to upper body.
Step 2: Lower legs with control.
Cable Crossovers 15 Repetitions - 3 Sets
Prep: While holding both handles, stand with back to machine and feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, with arms drifted back into a position that stretches your chest.
Step 1: Push handles together in a "hugging tree" motion.
Step 2: Allow hands to drift back again under control.
Preacher Bench Barbell Curls 15 Repetitions - 3 Sets
Prep: Grab bar or handles with palms up and back of upper arms resting on pad.
Step 1: Curl up.
Step 2: Lower the weight with control.
Triceps Pushdowns 12 Repetitions - 3 Sets
Prep: Grab handle, palms down, and lower to chest level with feet shoulder width apart.
Step 1: Moving lower arms only, press the handle down until your arms are straight.
Step 2: Squeeze handle and them return handle back to the chest level.
Relaxation and Stretching
After some trial and error I have chosen the following as my preferred practice for relaxing and focusing. The exercises include Tai Chi movements and Yoga postures. Being a devout Christian, my spiritual actions center on the Atonement of Jesus Christ and use His teachings as my guide. Also, I have thought that the spiritual aspects of Tai Chi and even Yoga originated from the same religious traditions which fostered the beliefs and practices of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. A person may use Tai Chi and Yoga without any spiritual connections. Apply Eastern religions thought, or apply Christian religious thought to the spiritual aspects of these two exercise methods. However a person approaches these exercises, the time spent participating will enhance physical and emotional well-being.
Greatest benefit derives from practicing one of these exercise forms on a daily basis.
I like to pick and choose movements and postures to use as a break from long stints in front of the computer, after strenuous gardening, at times when I feel stiff and sore, or when I am feeling stressed.
Tai Chi Movements
Parting the Wild Horse's Mane
White Crane Separates It's Wings
Brush and Push
Hands Strum the Lute
Repulse Monkey Steps Back
Grasping Bird's Tail
Press and Lift
Box Upon His Ears
Snake Creeps Down
Fair Lady Works the Shuttle
Picking Up the Needle
Fan Through the Back
Turn Chop With Fists
Parry Block Punch
Yoga Postures for the very stiff
Find your breath
1. Be Aware - Start by being aware of your natural breath. Observe your breathing: is it short and shallow, or long and deep? 2. Inhale Through Your Nose - Fill your abdomen and notice how it expands like a balloon. Once your belly is full, allow the breath to expand into your rib cage, widening the gap between your ribs. 3. Exhale Top Down - As you exhale, release the air from top to bottom, from your rib cage down to your abdomen. 4. Focus on Temperature - Notice the coolness of the inhalation, and warmness of the exhalation. 5. Even Breaths - Focus on taking even inhalations and exhalations. 6. Use Your Nose - Try ujjayi (nose) breathing. This simple breathing simultaneously builds energy and aids in relaxation. To use ujjayi breath you both inhale and exhale through the nose. The key is to constrict the back of your throat as you exhale. Also known as ocean breathing, when done properly, your breath should sound like the waves of an ocean.
Stretch one arm at a time
Stretch to the floor
Bridge with head on pillow
Stretch arms over head
Relax, legs on chair head on pillow
Slow simple breathing
Yoga Postures for beginners
Mountain and tree
Cow and eagle
Standing forward bend
Half shoulder stand
Plough with chair
Slow simple breathing
Yoga Postures - Advanced
Triangle Forward Bend
Wide Angle Pose to Chair
Half Shoulder Stand Against Wall
Plough with chair
5 Cleansing Breaths then Deep Breathing
I have placed cardio at the end to indicate it's relation to your other exercise needs. Use it as a means to warm up but not wear out before load training. Whether you like to walk, jog, run, bike, swim etc, I suggest that you use your favorite as a warm up for ten to fifteen minutes before you undertake your load training. Work up to this if need be. Gain does not require pain. Pain will slow down your ability to gain. Pain indicates injury. Injury requires healing. Stop exercise before you injure yourself. Be consistent and persistent with your exercise. Small incremental changes, consistently accomplished will safely and comfortably lead you to the healthiest, strongest, most energetic body you have ever had.