August 11, 2009
by Kym Burke
Personal training and program design have come a long way since we began our careers some 24 years ago. What we do today bears little resemblance to what we did back then, particularly for baby boomers and seniors. What was thought to be safe and effective back then has proven to be anything but!
For starters, we have learned how the isolation approach towards strength training places far too much stress on individual joints. This often results in overuse injuries such as shoulder-impingement syndrome and patella-femoral syndrome. This style of training can clearly make you bigger and stronger, but at what price, especially for boomers and seniors? It also fails to address one’s ability to produce force while maintaining balance through functional ranges of motion. A more integrated approach towards one’s resistance-based training not only includes traditional weight-lifting exercises, but also non-traditional exercises that utilize one’s own bodyweight, medicine balls, stability balls and resistance bands.
Another major change since the 70’s is how we “warm-up” for our formal exercise sessions. The old school of thought had us running on a treadmill or riding a stationary bicycle to increase our core temperature. While increasing your core temperature is fine, it won’t prepare the body’s structure and tissues for the loads and movement patterns seen during a formal exercise session.
We have also seen a major change in our client’s posture. At least 90% of our clients need anti-sitting training. If we were to allow our clients to perform their exercise regimes with their newly acquired poor posture, we would be seeing a lot more injury. An appropriately designed movement preparation will not only raise one’s core temperature, but also optimize the muscle’s length-tension relationship, therefore optimizing neuromuscular function and, ultimately, movement. With the use of a foam roller and passive, active, and even dynamic stretching, we can effectively prepare our bodies for movement.
Finally, our profession as a whole is experiencing a paradigm shift. We no longer see ourselves as exercise specialists, but rather movement specialists. We have always understood the importance of movement in maintaining good health as we age. We now must consider not only how much we move, but rather, how we move. If we move well, we can move for a long time and with good intensity. This is the secret to having great posture and staying fit for the long haul.
If I can be of any further assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.