Surprisingly, many people don’t see powerlifting as an achievable senior fitness program. Most think of it as a sport that only fits young buffs. In reality, more and more seniors are becoming aware of the enormous health benefits of powerlifting. In fact, powerlifting seniors across the globe are setting world records in this kind of athletics. Whether they want it as a physical activity or to compete, there’s no reason why seniors can’t train for it. Fitness experts say that they can simply do minor alterations to the routines so they fit the elderly.
Powerlifting is a powerful anti-depressant.
Powerlifting as a senior fitness program has the same training with that of younger lifters. This routine encompasses squat, bench press, and deadlift. Adults older than 50 need a certified personal trainer to map out a program carefully. This is to ensure that the routine has minimal volume and intensity. The elderly will be able to learn the lifts gradually while increasing their training volume tolerance. This is also to ensure safe training.
Basic powerlifting training involves squat and bench press 3 times a week. Trainers also encourage a rest day in between training sessions. Then, seniors can do the deadlift on 1 of these 3 sessions. When they combine the 3 routines together, they must follow it with a 2-day rest.
Personal trainers will base the sets, weights, and repetitions according to the senior’s gender, age, and background. According to them, starting light is the key even if it means lifting a broomstick on day 1. While it appears to be funny, this is actually the right way for seniors to do powerlifting. Additionally, a 1994 study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology backs this. They advised keeping the repetitions to no more than 5 each set. This limits the fatigue while allowing the senior lifter to focus on technique. For beginners, they can do 3 per set. They can then add volume as they increase their exercise tolerance.
Seniors who want to compete in powerlifting may need additional training. First, they need to figure out what category they fall into. The International Powerlifting Federation classifies senior powerlifting into masters categories. Masters I include those who are 40 to 49 year-olds. The Masters II is for 50 to 59 year-olds. Thirdly, the Masters III is for 60 to 69 year-olds. Lastly, Masters IV is for 70 year-olds and older.
Great thing then that there is not much that boosts testosterone and muscle mass like powerlifting does!
Seniors face many issues as they age, and doing powerlifting as a senior fitness program can help improve these. Some of these include the decrease in hormones and loss of muscle mass also known as sarcopenia. However, sarcopenia is not merely due to ageing itself. The Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine points to the decline in activity as the cause of it. On the other hand, testosterone levels decrease in both genders as they age. Men tend to have sharper decreases in these hormones than women. Great thing then that there is not much that boosts testosterone and muscle mass like powerlifting does!
Strengthening the skeleton
Loss of bone strength is another thing that happens as people age. This circumstance is more common in women than in men. Perhaps this is the reason why many senior women are beginning to consider powerlifting as their physical exercise. The American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation published a study in 2001 about strength training. According to it, resistance and strength training increases bone mineral density.
It helps reduce depression
Powerlifting is a powerful anti-depressant. It is among the many exercises that help prevent episodes of depression according to a study spearheaded by Professor Samuel Harvey.
It provides a supportive environment
A lot of senior powerlifters says that they enjoy the more supportive environment that the sport provides. This is in comparison to the other gym sessions they had. Further, they say that everyone gets excited when they are able to lift their best. This provides ongoing motivation.
It gives a sense of achievement
For seniors, it gives a sense of achievement to be able to lift in their later years. It is like making a smart choice to do something about ageing rather than to decline powerlessly.
It makes the body stronger
Generally, powerlifting makes the senior trainees feel good about themselves inside and out. They are just so happy! In fact, it helps them to know that they can do so much more beyond what many might think.
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