July 1, 2019
In this newsletter . . .
What exercises should we, as seniors, choose? Really, the basic exercises remain about the same at every age, except for possible adjustments for individual medical reasons. Though intensity or workout duration may lessen as we age.
As an example, the Gray Iron Fitness Beginners’ Routine for Seniors is about the same as the beginners’ program (with just a couple of tweaks) at Ed Yarick’s gym, from way back in the 1950s. My first gym membership. Age didn’t matter. Young or old. A beginner was a beginner.
Why Yarick’s? Superstars like Steve Reeves trained there. And some of the strongest men in the world often lifted there. You couldn’t ask for a better trainer/coach than Ed Yarick.
The first workout at Yarick’s was an
orientation, doing one set of about 12 reps of two exercises per body part. You learned to exhale on the push or pull (the concentric contraction) of a movement; you inhaled on the return (the eccentric contraction). The weights were controlled in a steady up and down motion. No swinging or “cheating” them up, as many beginners will do, trying to use more weight than they can properly handle.
If the old ways were so darned good, why did I bother to tweak them at all?
Back in the 1950s, cardio usually wasn’t a part of the training. Most new gym members in those days were guys on the skinny side who just wanted to put on muscle. You pumped iron and ate like a horse. If you stuck with it, you packed on weight, most of it muscle. It worked.
Today, there are still some skinny guys around, wanting to add bulk. But most beginners nowadays, young or old, have the opposite problem: they start out being
overweight. The sedentary life has taken its toll. So reasonable cardio — when added to pumping iron — helps trim them down.
The trick is to do enough cardio to exercise heart and lungs, but not so much that it becomes catabolic. In other words, you want to build muscle and also trim fat.
Another tweak is that in Yarick’s day the vast majority of beginners were young men and a few young women. Because of their youth, they could be pushed faster and harder. Following the first workout orientation, the second workout jumped to two sets per exercise. Then it was three sets at the third session. You worked out three days a week (usually Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays) and that ended the first week of training. Starting week two, the quest began to lift heavier weights and pack on muscle.
Pushing seniors like you would an 18-
year old is foolish. They’re likely to get discouraged or even injured. Allow their progress to be gradual and they’ll be fine. So you push, but push gently.
See what I mean here. It’s absolutely free.
To your lasting fitness,
Senior Exercise Central
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The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter is a free publication sent twice monthly to subscribers. The purpose is to provide honest and realistic fitness information for people age 50 and above.
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