Over our 20 years in the fitness industry we have worked with hundreds of different people. They have ranged in age from children to the elderly and in ability levels from total beginners to professional athletes. However, the group we have worked with most has been the adult fitness population in the age range of 40-70 and all the various fitness levels within this group.
We have witnessed the various fitness trends this group has followed over the years, often developing only one element of fitness at best, and usually leaving the exerciser with little to no results, overuse injuries and a plateau in their fitness level. Frustration builds and the adult exerciser hops from one trend to the next hoping to “find something that works”.
The fitness needs of an adult continue to evolve. We are currently in the middle of an obesity epidemic. Today’s adult exerciser has changed – the gym may be their ONLY physical activity for the week and the beginner arrives in worse shape than seen even 10 years ago. Their lives have changed, and their goals have changed.
To service this ever-growing population, we as fitness professionals must focus on 8 key areas.
1) Movement Screening and Program Design:
We must have a baseline assessment that allows us to get a global view on how each person moves. This allows us to create programs that are individualized and specific to that person’s goals. Program design needs to be based on an assessment and a system. If you’re not assessing – you’re guessing.
2) Mobility and Movement Preparation:
Activate muscles, stretch tight muscles and improve movement. Prepare the body to perform.
3) Corrective Exercise:
Do you know anyone who has ever had a shoulder or back injury? I’m sure you do – they are some of the most common musculoskeletal problems of today. Let’s start implementing some basic strategies to make the body resilient in these oft-injured areas.
4) Speed, power and elasticity training:
We need to develop power and speed in ALL populations. Power is lost faster than strength, especially as we age — let’s develop it through sound training practices.
5) Core Training:
The scientific literature supports the need for core training. We need to develop actual core stability that has a direct transfer to all other movement patterns and activities. Today’s core training is about static and dynamic stabilization, not thousands of crunches in an “ab class”
6) Resistance Training:
Still the most important part of a program — but we need to focus on function, linked system strength and real-world strength. Science has shown that a higher frequency exposure to training each muscle group and movement pattern, along with exposure to various rep ranges outperforms the old-fashioned “once a week, three sets of ten” approach for today’s client. We need to focus on function, movement competency and capacity.
7) Metabolic Training:
21st Century cardio – the ability to do higher levels of work – and sustain that output over time — not just the ability to work at a level where you can “hold a conversation”.
If you have a training strategy – you need a recovery and regeneration strategy. Life is too demanding to just assume that not coming to the gym is optimal for your results. We have too much science available to ignore. Your ability to progress will always be limited by your ability to recover.
Enjoy your new workout.