Taranaki gym encourages seniors to lift weights

Seniors in Taranaki are proving it’s never too late to build strength, busting out deadlifts and squats at a community gym group.

“A deadlift of twice your body weight, even within this demographic, is totally achievable for most people if they’re really into strength training,” says Dane Carr, head coach of the Lion’s Den Gym & Fitness Centre.

Photo: Dan Carr

Starting in your 30s, muscle mass, bone density, and tendon strength go into a “slow and steady decline,” Carr tells Kathryn Ryan, and the only real way to counteract that is with strength training. resistance

In the past, weightlifting was seen only for those young or already fit, he says, but lifting weights is the most efficient way to progressively strengthen a body of any age.

“It really doesn’t matter when you start. You might not get as strong, but you’ll see all the same benefits and strength gains regardless of age.

“We’ve gotten members with early-onset osteoporosis and things like that and after a year of training, that bone density starts to come back.

“The biggest thing we see all the time is an older person comes in who can’t move that well, struggles to get out of a chair and things like that, their knees hurt when they push the lawnmower. Six months to a year later, They are squatting all the way.The knee pain is not worse, if not better.

“When you deadlift or squat with some resistance, you’re strengthening the musculature from your feet to your head, training your body as a kind of synergistic machine to make everything stronger.”

Any form of exercise involves risk, Carr says, and there are many misconceptions about the dangers of resistance training.

The importance of perfect technique tends to be overemphasized, he says, while the danger of increasing the weight you lift too quickly is emphasized.

“The human body has an incredible ability to adapt to anything. We as humans exist all over the planet doing all kinds of variations of movements and exercises and daily tasks for the body to adapt. [The problem is] if you hit it too fast.

“If you lift too much weight, too soon, don’t rest enough between sets, don’t rest enough between sessions, this can slowly build up fatigue in your body, which could cause potential injury… This is extremely rare if you do a training program of adequate strength and well thought out with adequate increases in weight.”

The three main exercises Carr teaches seniors to build full-body strength are squats, leg presses, and deadlifts, usually in that order.

“If you had knee surgery six months ago, you’re not necessarily going to be squatting…everybody’s going to do their own variation.”

Dane Carr - head trainer at ions Den Gym in Taranaki

Dane Carr – head trainer at ions Den Gym in Taranaki
Photo: @domvilly

In 2018, when Carr started trying to attract seniors to Lion’s Den, he thought weightlifting would be a “tough sell,” so he offered a Pilates-style strength class at first.

“We did it for eight weeks. We gained their trust, we got their buy-in. And then we naturally progressed to start using some weights and then bars. From there, word just spread. And all his friends started coming.”

Lion’s Den regulars now include women in their 60s and 70s who can deadlift and squat with medium body weight, and one in her late 60s has deadlifted over 100 pounds.

“A deadlift of twice your body weight, even within this demographic, is totally achievable for most people if you really stick to strength training… These feats that look very impressive they can achieve most people if they are just consistent and train for many years.

“If you can lift 60 pounds or 100 pounds or whatever off the floor, you just think about how much easier it is to go and do the day-to-day chores in the yard, push the lawnmower, play with your grandkids. That’s what” we really achieve with strength. Strength is for everyone.”

Carr doesn’t understand why other gym trainers are afraid to work with the elderly.

“A lot of younger people have this impression that they’re super fragile [but]sometimes their bodies just need a little more training to regain that resilience.

“These are people who have lived lives. They’ve been through tough things. They’ve been through harder things because they’ve had more life experience than a lot of us young coaches have. So there was no doubt in my mind. given that this demographic of people had the right mindset to go there and get caught if they wanted to.”

To find other weight-based gym programs geared toward larger bodies, Carr recommends people look into what’s offered in their local community.

“Strength training is becoming much more popular, socially acceptable and normal, and everyone is starting to see the benefits, so it should be more and more easy to find in your communities.”

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Image Source : www.rnz.co.nz

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