Although machine training and free-weight training offer certain advantages, other forms of resistance equipment can produce excellent results as well. Weight training equipment intimidates some older adults. For others, budget constraints make membership in a fitness facility or the purchase of strength training equipment impractical. The exercise procedures described in this chapter should enhance your clients’ strength training experiences and reduce the likelihood of injury, and they are inexpensive. These alternatives to free-weight and machine exercises will be especially helpful to instructors who value resistance training for older clients but have limited access to expensive equipment. Many exercise options are available to enthusiastic and creative instructors who realize that resistance training can significantly improve the quality of life for senior men and women.
Planning Your Program
We have grouped both the bodyweight and the elastic band exercises by muscle areas worked and have arranged them from the less challenging to the more challenging. Instruct your clients to move through the ranges of joint movement shown in the exercises and to perform them in a slow, controlled manner. If some individuals initially cannot perform the entire range of movement, encourage them to move gradually toward the full range, unless doing so will aggravate an existing joint or muscle condition.
Because people vary widely in strength, no specific prescription—for number of reps or thickness of elastic bands—applies to all clients. Before prescribing an exercise, consider the potential difficulty that your client will have in performing the exercise, as well as the resistance that he or she must overcome. Table 6.1 provides some helpful guidelines for tailoring the exercises to each client.