Best Exercises for Women over 60 + Workouts To Avoid

Best Exercises for Women over 60 and The Workouts To Avoid

Woman Running in athletic wear

One of the most common questions we get from someone beginning an exercise routine is “What are the best exercises for me?”

While there are tons of resources on the best exercises for losing weight or the best exercises for specific conditions, women in their 60s are in a unique time in their life. Not considered a young adult, but just barely considered a senior. This requires specific guidance.

So what are the best exercises for women over 60?

There are many factors to consider while answering this question: cardio vs. weight training, what to do and what not to do, how often to exercise, and what’s worked for real-life people.

In this article, we’ll cover it all.

If you’re a woman over 60 this is for you. If you’re not, well, stick around, you may be able to help someone who is.

Jump to a Topic:

woman over 60 lifting weights with a personal trainer

Should Women Over 60 Lift Weights?

Yes, women in their 60s (and all ages, really) should lift weights. Muscles aren’t a young man’s game. Men and women can gain both strength and muscle at all stages of life.

A big reason why this is so important is muscle mass decreases approximately 3–8% per decade after the age of 30 and this rate of decline is even higher after the age of 60. Muscle loss can also contribute to limited physical ability, low energy, and decreased metabolism.

Muscle Loss Over Time Infographic

Research shows there are enormous benefits of strength training for women 60 years or older such as:

  • stronger bones
  • improved balance
  • a lower fall risk
  • enhanced memory and focus
  • reduced blood pressure and blood glucose
  • increased protection against the development of many chronic diseases.

Should Women Over 60 Do Cardio?

The short answer – it depends on why you’re doing it. The long answer, we need to dive a little deeper…

Cardio is an aerobic activity that significantly increases the heart rate, thus conditioning the cardiovascular system. The most common cardio activities are walking, biking, running, and swimming.

Many people do cardio with the intent to achieve fat loss, which is not all that efficient. But many others do cardio to meet psychological and emotional needs.

Going for a walk or run can be a great way to decrease stress, clear your mind, enjoy nature and improve your overall feeling of well-being.

A potential problem is that cardio activities create more opportunities for getting injured. High-intensity cardio like running, sprinting, jumping, or anything that involves explosive movement involves high levels of force.

And we know that force is the leading cause of injury in exercise.

Force formula translated for exercise

Because women in their 60s are at higher risk of injury such as falling (WHO), some of these activities might want to be avoided.

Running, jumping or any high-impact activity can also be hard on the joints. Genetics and pre-existing conditions also play a part here. Some of us are blessed with knees that will never give out, making it possible to withstand activities like this, with little to no challenges.

While the rest of us experience joint issues, cartilage loss, or an injury that makes activities like this painful and unsustainable.

If you’re in the latter group, activities like walking and swimming might be ideal for you, especially in your 60s. Both create little to no impact on the joints – and they’re fun!

Slow-motion strength training (SMST) can produce cardiovascular conditioning, fat loss, and muscle strength gain. When doing SMST, there is no need to do cardio or aerobics. But if it's something you like to do, then choosing one that is most enjoyable and safest on the body is ideal.

To answer the question of whether or not women in their 60s should do cardio- here’s our answer:

  • If you’re doing it to lose weight, no. Focus on increasing lean muscle mass with effective strength training and nutrition. This is a much more efficient way to lose fat.
  • If you’re doing it to meet physiological or emotional needs and enjoy an activity that does not hurt or result in injury, then go for it!

As always, partner any aerobic activity with weight-bearing exercises to avoid accelerated muscle and bone loss.

Weekly exercise schedule Monday through Sunday

How Often Should a 60-Year Old Woman Exercise?

It is recommended for women over 60 to exercise twice a week.

When we say exercise, we specifically mean high-intensity strength training. Anything else is considered recreation… and it's important to have both. Read more about exercise vs. recreation to learn the distinction and why it's so important.

Because high-intensity exercise is so demanding on the body, it requires ample time to fully recover between training sessions. By taking more time than necessary to recover, you potentially miss out on time spent doing another results-producing training session!

Training once a week is a good option for some people. Compared to working out twice a week, once a week exercisers can expect to achieve approximately 70% of the results of those who train twice a week.

This may be ideal for someone who has extremely low energy levels, is battling multiple health issues, or has a budget best suited for once-a-week training.

Graph of the body's total recovery resources

On the days in between high-intensity workouts, it is okay to be active and move the body.

Remember when we talked about doing activities that meet psychological and emotional needs? Consider rest days a great opportunity to do those activities and avoid other high-intensity or strength training exercises.

In short, most women over 60 get the best results from working out twice a week, or once every 72-96 hours.

What Are The Best Exercises For Women Over 60?

The best exercises for women in their 60s are ones that are going to help build and maintain muscle mass. These exercises should also be safe on the joints and support bone strength.

Dr. Bocchicchio, a creator of slow resistance training, also states that exercise should be something we can retain throughout a lifetime.

The best exercises should be:

  • Safe: injury and pain-free
  • Efficient: can be achieved promptly, ideally 20 minutes, twice a week
  • Effective: achieve temporary muscle failure and produce measurable results
  • Sustainable: can be done for a lifetime

Several specific strength training exercises are beneficial for a 60-something woman, but we suggest focusing on these 5 impactful exercises: Leg Press, Chest Press, Lat Pulldown, Leg Curl & Abdominals.

Leg Press

The Leg Press Machine is an incredible piece of equipment because it allows you to fully target the biggest muscle groups in the body: the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves.

A study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine looked at bone density changes in women between 65 and 75 years old following a year of strength training.

During the study, the trend of bone loss that comes with age not only stopped but also reversed.

The leg press was the only major lower body exercise performed. In addition, it was credited with helping the lower back, as no direct exercise was performed for the lower back muscles. By improving bone density, the leg press reduces the risk of fractures in high-risk populations… that’s women over 60.

The leg press provides as much or more bang-for-the-buck as any one exercise does.

Chest Press

The chest press is a highly effective way to strengthen the pectorals (chest muscles), triceps, and anterior deltoids. These muscles are critical in lifting movements. Your anterior deltoids are responsible for lifting your arms in front of you.

Holding groceries, blow-drying your hair, lifting a suitcase into an overhead bin, or pushing a heavy door open are examples of activities that can become easier with stronger deltoids.

Chest Press Machine and Anatomy Graphic of muscles

Lat Pulldown

The lat pulldown could be considered the “leg press” of the upper body.
This exercise targets the Latissimus Dorsi (the “lats” or wings of the back), Trapezius (“traps” or upper back), Pectoralis Major (chest), Posterior Deltoids (shoulders), Biceps brachii (front of the upper arm)

Training the lats improves the shape of your back. As lean muscle tissue is added to the lats, it gives a ‘V’ shape to your back. Gaining muscle in your lats might help make the appearance of “love handles” become less noticeable.

The pulldown also helps improve aesthetics with your arms. The biceps and shoulders are key players in this exercise and will help make your upper arm muscles more defined.

Leg Curl

The hamstrings are large muscles that make up the back of your thighs and are the primary movers worked in the Leg Curl. In addition to the hamstrings, this power exercise also targets the calves.

These main muscles targeted by the Leg Curl are largely responsible for the appearance of your thighs and lower legs and train the muscles that are partly responsible for walking, squatting and bending the knee.

The hamstrings contract to provide knee flexion, which is the technical name for the movement
performed during the Leg Curl. Each hamstring is a group of four muscles that start on your pelvis (around the bottom of your buttocks), cover the backs of your thighs, and attach to the lower leg, just below your knee. The hamstrings have two major functions: to flex your knee and pull your thigh backward (hip extension).

This exercise is crucial in maintaining overall leg strength and function.

Leg Curl Machine and anatomical graphic of muscles

Abdominal Machine

The Abdominal Machine works – you guessed it – the abdominals, specifically the rectus abdominis. Believe it or not, the rectus abdominis does not exist only to make you look good in a bathing suit. It is also functionally significant. The abs are critical muscles for respiration.

In addition, they are major stabilization muscles. Strong abdominals help with balance and stability in everyday activities, sports (like golf and tennis) and can help to prevent falls.

By consistently doing these big five exercises, you strengthen all the major muscles in the body, creating and maintaining a strong foundation for future workouts and everyday activities.

Exercises Women Over 60 Should Avoid

Are there any exercises that women over 60 should not do? This is not an easy answer, and here’s why…

We know women in their sixties who are thriving, have more energy than ever and are just as strong as they were in their 30s. We also know women in their sixties with decades of injuries, are caretakers for others or are in a fragile state.

A quick Google search will tell you to avoid all heavy lifting or to walk and do water aerobics. We’re not going to do that.

It would be crazy to say that all women 60 to 69 should never do one type of exercise. But for some of the most common injuries or limitations we see in 60-year-old women, there are some exercises to be careful with.

Joint Issues

If you’re someone who experiences joint issues such as osteoarthritis or experiences chronic inflammation, high-impact movements like running, jumping, and burpees are probably not for you.

Shoulder Injury

Postural issues, limited range of motion, rotator cuff injuries – these should all be exercised with care and adjusted to account for the specific injury. Some exercises to avoid or alter are overhead press, skull crushers, full range of motion on chest exercises, pushups, lat pulldown, chest fly, and lateral raises.

We have worked with clients with ALL of these injuries. Most are capable of doing all exercises with alterations. If possible, avoid NOT doing these and work with someone who can help you safely accomplish a workout with a shoulder injury.

Knee Injuries

Injured knees are unfortunately very common in women over 60. However, this does not mean avoiding leg exercises. Finding a way to safely exercise the lower body is extremely important because working the biggest muscles in the body has the greatest overall effect on gaining muscle and bone density… and losing fat.

With that being said, it's vital to know how to do leg exercises with proper form to avoid further injury.

Exercises such as squats and lunges require very specific mechanics to be effective and safe. We recommend only doing those exercises if you’re very familiar with how to do them, or are working with a trained professional.

What about the exercises that are painful, no matter what? We’ve had clients over the years experience discomfort on the leg extension, despite alterations made to their range of motion, seat settings, and amount of resistance. So, we don’t do those!

Pain is a helpful indicator. Anything that hurts, besides the burning of muscles hitting temporary muscle failure, is your body’s way of saying, “Hey, something isn’t right.”

Listen to your body, and remember this rule of thumb: If the exercise isn't safe, it's not worth doing.

Woman over 60 recovering from exercise

The Perfect Workout Case Studies: Exercise Routines for Workouts for Women Age 60-69

For over 20 years we’ve helped more than 40,000 people improve their health and fitness – many being women in their 60s. Each person who works with us has a different body with limitations, a history of injuries, different wants, needs, and goals to achieve. This creates a need for customization.

Below are case studies of real clients and their ideal workouts based on their age, goals, limitations, and preferences. Identifying information has not been included to maintain client privacy.

Woman over 60 exercising with a personal trainer

Client A: Busy 64 Year Old Nurse With Multiple Injuries

64-year-old woman, from Orange County, CA
Works part-time-two 12 hours shifts as a nurse in addiction and psychiatric units. Also cares for her ill mother.

Goals:

  • Increase strength, lean muscle mass, endurance, flexibility, and improve posture
  • Strengthening of the upper body, lower body, strengthen around hips and knees.
  • Wants to be able to do everyday daily activities again without having to compensate for her injuries, ie. squat down, lift to a cabinet for a jar, reach under her sink.
  • Wants to be able to garden again.

Medical:

  • Arthritis/Joint Degeneration – neck, R-hip capsule
  • High Blood Pressure – well managed with medication
  • Joint injury – L-knee ligament, R-hip labrum tear
  • Spinal Injury – C-spine fused C3-6, surrounding discs herniated
  • Thyroid Condition – Hashimoto's thyroiditis
  • Surgeries – L-foot, hysterectomy
  • Low back pain

Customized Workout:

This Client trains 20 minutes, twice a week for maximum results in the shortest possible time.

Compound Row: Targets upper back muscles. Client performs an isometric hold, contracting the primary muscles and holding for approximately 2 minutes. This allows her to focus on working the major muscles without straining the neck, a common side effect of this exercise.

Chest Press (vertical grip): Targets chest and back of arms. Avoided for a long time due to spinal injury (neck). Recently introduced with very lightweight to gradual work on range of motion and resistance increase.

Hip Abduction: Targets outer gluteal muscles. Client performs the exercise for approximately 2 minutes, at a slightly lower intensity level to account for labrum tear and arthritis. Back support is included to adjust for spinal injuries.

Hip Adduction: Targets the inner thigh muscles. Client performs an isometric hold, contracting the primary muscles and holding for approximately 2 minutes. This allows her to maintain strength without moving the affected joint (hip)

Preacher Curl: Targets the upper arms and forearms. Client performs the exercise with a decreased range of motion (3-hole gap ~ 3-inch decrease).

Abdominal Machine: Targets abdominals. Client performs an isometric hold, contracting the abdominals for approximately 1:30-2 minutes. This helps her to engage and fatigue the muscles without overextension or flexion of the spine.

Leg Extension: Targets quadriceps and muscles surround the knee. Client performs this exercise about every 4-8 workouts adjusting for left knee ligament injury.

Leg Curl: Targets hamstrings. Client performs this exercise about every 4-8 workouts adjusting for left knee ligament injury.

Leg Press: Targets all major muscles in the lower body: glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves. Client performs the exercise with a limited range of motion (sitting further away from the footplate) to account for spinal injuries and knee injuries. Lumbar support is used.

Client B: Very Active Before Injuries

A 63-year-old woman from Chicago, IL
This client used to live a very active lifestyle: walked 20-25 miles a week, did yoga, weightlifting, and pilates.

Goals:

  • Reverse Osteoporosis
  • Be able to go on walks again
  • Build bone density and muscle in thighs and legs
  • Regain strength and fitness level she had before.
  • Improve muscle tone – shoulders, arms, thighs, calves. No timeline. Exercise pain-free!

Medical:

  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Osteoporosis/ Osteopenia
  • Tear in the labrum, where the biceps tendon connects. Doctor says to work on pulling motions*
    • the neck does not have complete ROM in her neck
    • pain when pressing or reaching right shoulder rotated forward

Customized Workout:

This Client trains 20 minutes, twice a week for maximum results in the shortest possible time.

Compound Row: Targets upper back muscles and arms and helps with *pulling motion. Client performs with palms facing toward each other to keep shoulder joints closed, decreased range of motion (5-hole gap ~ 5-inch decrease).

Hip Adduction: Targets the inner thigh muscles. Client performs an isometric hold, contracting the primary muscles and holding for approximately 1-2 minutes. This allows her to maintain strength without moving the affected joint (hip).

Time Static Crunch: Targets abdominals. Client performs isometric bodyweight exercise alternative to the machine that requires overhead positioning of the arms (shoulder injury).

Leg Press: Targets all major muscles in the lower body: glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves. Client performs exercise normally, along with lumbar support.

Client also does the following exercises with no major adjustments: Hip Abduction, Tricep Extension, Leg Extension, and Leg Curl.

Client C: New to Strength Training & Ready to Enjoy Retirement

A 63-year-old woman from Dallas, TX
Recently retired and wants to be able to enjoy vacationing and everyday activities without worrying about getting injured or not being able to “keep up.”

Goals:

  • Lose 50 pounds
  • Wants to be much healthier. Strengthen and tone all over. Get back into shape.
  • Be more active. Have the energy to do her daily activities without feeling winded or like she can't do it
  • She would love to enjoy an upcoming trip by walking everywhere (many steps)
  • Strengthening up legs, toning the upper and lower body
  • Wants to feel more confident and stronger to be able to enjoy life without worrying about hurting

Medical:

  • Two knee replacements
  • Scope on Left knee: scar tissue removed a bundle of nerve fibers located directly below patella
  • Occasional right shoulder pain

Customized Workout:

This Client trains 20 minutes, twice a week for maximum results in the shortest possible time.

Chest Press (Vertical Grip): Targets chest and back of arms. Client performs the exercise with a 4-hole gap, which decreases the range of motion and helps prevent additional shoulder pain. This exercise is performed each workout to help aid her goal of overall strengthening and fat loss.

Abdominal Machine: Targets abdominals. Client performs the exercise with legs out from behind the stabilizing pads and lifts knees slightly up toward the chest. This helps to prevent any additional strain on the knee and can help achieve better muscle-mind connection.

Leg Extension: Targets thighs and muscles surrounding the knee. Client performs exercise normally but does so with caution to avoid any knee pain. This exercise is particularly important to help strengthen her legs for walking and maintain strength around the knee.

Leg Press: Targets all major muscles in the lower body: glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves. Feet are placed higher up on the footplate, creating a more open and easier angle on the knee joints. Client occasionally performs an isometric hold toward the lower turnaround of the exercise when experiencing pain or pulling sensations in the knee. This exercise is performed each workout to help aid her goal of overall strengthening and fat loss.

Tricep Rope Pulldown: Targets triceps. Client often performs this exercise instead of Tricep Extension due to shoulder pain in a raised position.

Client also does the following exercises with no major adjustments: Lat Pulldown, Leg Curl Hip Abduction, Hip Adduction, Preacher Curl, and Compound Row.

Summary

You might be thinking, all the roads we’ve taken in this article have led to slow-motion strength training. And while that might be mostly true, it's not the only thing a woman over 60 should ever do to move her body or achieve overall wellness.

Women over 60 can and should be exercising. For the purpose of exercise, high-intensity weight training is recommended. It's safe, effective, efficient, and sustainable for just about every age and injury.

Women over 60 should do cardio activities that bring them joy, stress relief, and socialization. These activities should be safe for the body and not interfere with the true purpose of exercise.

Exercising twice a week is recommended to get maximum strength training results. All other recreation should be done on a desired basis.

The best exercises for women over 60 are compound movements that target the biggest muscle groups in the body, such as leg press and lat pulldown. These help to build and maintain muscle mass, increase bone density, and help with fat loss.

Injuries and limitations should be considered when exercising. Working with a trained professional like a Certified Personal Trainer is ideal when working out around injuries. However, pain is a key indicator of when NOT to do a certain exercise or movement. So, use your best judgement.

The Perfect Workout team with in studio and virtual personal training

If you want more information on how to incorporate slow-motion strength training into your workout routine, we have a free introductory session. If you’d like to know more about how to work with a trainer online, get a free consultation call with a Personal Trainer.

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  1. Rhodes, E. C., Martin, A. D., Taunton, J. E., Donnelly, M., Warren, J., & Elliot, J. (2000). Effects of one year of resistance training on the relation between muscular strength and bone density in elderly women. British journal of sports medicine, 34(1), 18-22.
  2. Paw, M.J., Chin, A., Van Uffelen, J.G., Riphagen, I., & Van Mechelen, W. (2008). The functional effects of physical exercise training in frail older people: a systematic review. Sports Medicine, 38(9), 781-793.
  3. Wayne L. Westcott, Ph.D. (and others) Effects of Regular and Slow Speed Resistance Training on Muscle Strength, Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 2001, Vol 41, Iss 2. Pp 154-158
  4. The Nautilus Book, Ellington Darden, Ph.D., Copyright 1990 Contemporary Books, Chicago, IL, P. 85
  5. Body Defining, Ellington Darden, Ph.D., Copyright 1996 Contemporary Books, Chicago, IL, Pp 19,34,35 4 Peterson JA. Total Conditioning: A Case Study. Athletic Journal. Vol. 56: 40-55, 1975

Strong and Healthy: All the Things She Loves at 67

Strong and Healthy:
Doing all the Things She Loves at 67

Strong and Healthy woman on bicycle

Being outdoors runs through Linda’s blood. In fact, she met her husband on the ski slopes.

Over the years their lives have revolved around activities such as scuba diving, kayaking, water skiing, snow skiing, hiking, and biking. Linda is an avid gardener and their sons are both Eagle Scouts. The entire McChesney family loves being outdoors and has learned many important life lessons in their adventures together.

But her outdoor adventurers were quickly halted when Linda broke her knee in a snow skiing accident.

Shortly after, she learned that she had low bone density and was facing a battle with osteoporosis

“The experience of being immobilized for months was depressing and gave me a glimpse of a future without the things I loved doing most. Something I took for granted. That revelation and the desire for a full recovery from my injury started my serious search for a sustainable exercise program.”

Testimonial from a strong and healthy woman

Linda had been to gyms, had a personal trainer, even joined one particular gym because her friends were all there. But none of that ever stuck. One day, she saw an advertisement in the paper for The Perfect Workout, but she was skeptical…

“We’ve been taught that more is better so what could I possibly gain in 20 minutes of exercise?”

Skepticism aside, Linda ultimately joined The Perfect Workout in 2016. 

“It turns out that with the right plan and a personal trainer to instruct you, guide you, encourage you, and monitor your progress, you have a lot to gain! The program is exceptional but the personal trainers have been essential to my success. Each one has taught me something new about my body, how it works, and how to take care of it. They are partners helping me reach my individual best.”

Quote from a strong and healthy woman

Like many clients during the pandemic, Linda began Virtual workouts. The studio workouts were working for her and she doubted that she could get a solid workout at home. 

Once more, her skepticism has proven wrong. 

“I cannot say enough great things about my Virtual Trainer, Kerry Borgen, who challenges me weekly! I take her when I travel. She’s flexible when I have to move my workout due to watching grandchildren during the pandemic. She’s tough, she’s compassionate, and she’s taught me to be a stronger person, physically and mentally.”

Because of her trainer and 20-minute, twice a week workouts, Linda feels like she can really “play” with her three young grandsons.

In the past couple of years, Linda gained the strength and energy to hike the Grand Canyon, from North to South rim, and enjoy mountain biking in Sedona, AZ.

“The Perfect Workout is PERFECT and the greatest testament to that is me at 67. Healthy, strong, and doing all the things I love. Osteoporosis is on the run and my knee healed beautifully.

This past year has given us many things to be thankful for and The Perfect Workout is high on my list.”

Strength Training: Exercise for ALL Ages

Strength Training for all Ages

Women sitting down after strength training session

My friend recently decided to “retire” from playing full-court basketball. Since his 43rd birthday, he’s suffered a few aches, pains, and minor injuries after each day of full-court games with younger friends. He is now going to opt for half-court games with friends, which involves much less running. “Full-court basketball is a young man’s game,” he told me. “I had to stop playing at some point.”

Full-court basketball, all-nighters, dying one’s hair pink…there are some things that we enjoy in our teens and early 20s but aren’t a good fit for adulthood. Strength training…is NOT one of those things.

Strength training is a lifelong exercise choice. It’s safe and effective, regardless of age. The goals people have for strength training generally change with age. However, the probability of reaching those goals doesn’t change. Whether 35 or 95 years old, strength training will improve your health and fitness.

A Workout For All Ages

Whether you're a busy mom looking for something quick and efficient, or a senior in need of a safe way to exercise you age, we have a program for you. While each body is unique, our principles of exercise remain the same – this allows us to serve people of all ages and abilities. Select your age range below to learn more about The Perfect Workout for you.

Before we get to talking results, let’s talk safety. Strength training, especially using The Perfect Workout’s slow-speed method, is extremely cautious. Injuries in exercise and sports are caused by an excess of force on tendons, ligaments, bones, or other tissues in the body. The lack of bouncing, jumping, and rapid movements make strength training an activity with very little force, even when a very challenging weight is used. While the exercises are challenging, they do not put an extreme level of stress on the body. 

If strength training was dangerous, the highest risk population for experiencing injuries would likely be older adults. Therefore, let’s look at the injury rate for older adults who strength train. A research article published in the journal Sports Medicine discussed the results of 22 studies with adults, 75 years old and older. Out of the 880 older adults who strength trained in these studies, only one person had a negative health experience. Just one person! The conclusion: strength training is very safe and highly unlikely to cause injury. 

Safety is important, but we also want results. Strength training leads to many health and fitness benefits. The needs and goals for strength training often differ with age. Let’s discuss what strength training offers people at the various stages in their lives.

Strength Training in Your Twenties and Thirties

Strength training provides a range of benefits for younger adults. Men and women can gain strength and muscle within two months. That muscle also enhances male and female attractiveness, according to studies on physical characteristics that men and women find appealing.

Adult athletes also benefit from strength training. Long distance times, sprint speed, and vertical jump all improve after a few months of training. In addition to performance, athletes also become more resistant to injury.

Strength Training in Your Forties and Fifties

The same athletic benefits apply to adults in their 40s and 50s. In addition to the aforementioned running benefits, men and women can improve their golf game through strength training. Three months of strength training increases driving distance by seven percent while also reducing the risk of common golf injuries (i.e. lower back pain). 

Reducing or preventing lower back pain, plus enhanced strength and muscle, are benefits for all adults in this age range. Other important benefits are preventing age-related weight gain, improving sleep quality, and reducing the risk of chronic diseases that often occur in this age range. Examples of those diseases include heart disease, many types of cancers, and type 2 diabetes.

young man strength training with dumbbell

Strength Training in Your Sixties and Afterwards

Muscles aren’t a “young man’s game.” Men and women of all ages can gain both strength and muscle. The previously mentioned research article from the journal Sports Medicine showed that just 1-3 days of strength training per week led to big improvements in strength and muscle size for adults who are 75 years old or older. Other benefits frequently experienced by those 60 years or older are stronger bones, improved balance, a lower fall risk, enhanced memory and focus, reduced blood pressure and blood glucose, and increased protection against the development of many chronic diseases.

man strength training with a dumbbell

Strength training offers a wide array of benefits, for fitness and health. While you might eventually retire from all-night parties and playing full-court basketball, there’s no need to retire from strength training. Strength training is safe and healthful exercise for life.

  • Alvarez, M., Sedano, S., Cuadrado, G., & Redondo, J.C. (2012). Effects of an 18-week strength training program on low-handicap golfers performance. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 26(4), 1110-1121. 
  • Grgic, J., Garofolini, A., Orazem, J., Sabol, F., Schoenfeld, B.J., & Pedisic, Z. (2020). Effects of resistance training on muscle size and strength in very elderly adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Sports Medicine, 1-17.
  • Nickols-Richardson, S. M., Miller, L. E., Wootten, D. F., Ramp, W. K., & Herbert, W. G. (2007). Concentric and eccentric isokinetic resistance training similarly increases muscular strength, fat-free soft tissue mass, and specific bone mineral measurements in young women. Osteoporosis international, 18(6), 789-796.
  • Paw, M.J., Chin, A., Van Uffelen, J.G., Riphagen, I., & Van Mechelen, W. (2008). The functional effects of physical exercise training in frail older people: a systematic review. Sports Medicine, 38(9), 781-793.
  • Sell, A., Lukazsweski, A.W., & Townsley, M. (2017). Cues of upper body strength account for most of the variance in men’s bodily attractiveness. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 284(1869).
  • Singh, D. (1993). Adaptive significance of female physical attractiveness: role of waist-to-hip ratio. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65(2), 293-307.
  • Winett, R.A. & Carpinelli, R.N. (2002). Potential health-related benefits of resistance training. Preventive Medicine, 33(5), 503-513.

Strong Bodies Are Built in 20 Minutes (age 66)

this 66 year old proves strong bodies are built in 20 minutes

Bob Jones, 66, was recently crowned “Client of the Month” at the Long Beach studio and the progress he made during 2020 (the craziest year ever) says it all.

Bob was referred into The Perfect Workout by his friend Cathy, a fellow client in November, 2019.

He came in with a vision to live a healthier life.

And the Long Beach team made that vision a reality through accountability, support, and a science-backed workout: slow-motion strength training.

Bob has been fully committed to his 20 minute, twice a week workouts. When his studio temporarily closed down during the first wave of the pandemic, he pivoted to Virtual Training with his trainers, never risking his health or his progress.

When the Long Beach studio reopened its doors for In-Studio Training, Bob hadn’t lost any progress. In fact, he was able to lift heavier on some exercises and his range of motion improved on others.

Bob joined The Perfect Workout to get healthier and improve his quality of life. Although there’s nothing stopping him now, we’re happy to say he’s hit some major goals in just one year:

  • he’s physically stronger
  • he’s lost 12 pounds 
  • has better endurance hiking and bicycling
  • has better posture and balance


“I owe this to my personal trainer Ray. He pushes and encourages me to do my best. I highly recommend The Perfect Workout.”

Make time for Health, or Make Time for Being Sick

Make time for health, or make time for being sick

Nobody schedules time to “Be Sick” on their calendar!

But as our client Marcia says, “If you don’t make time for being well, you make time for being sick.”

So, schedule 20 minutes on your calendar this week to “Be Healthy.” and keep reading for more…

Marcia Farrar wanted to get stronger for her active and adventurous lifestyle. As an avid international traveler she wanted to have the strength to lift her luggage into the overhead bin on her flights.

As well as traveling, Marcia wanted to be able to keep up with the adventures of grandparenting. With two growing granddaughters it's important to her to be able to play with them, keep up with their high energy and have the strength to lift them up.

But Marcia was missing the strength to be able to do all of those long-term.

She knew she needed to start strength-training but the typical gym atmosphere was not a good fit for her. Hearing limitations made it challenging for Marcia to hear in a big gym with loud music and a lot of background noise.

And frankly, she just didn’t care for the gym in general.

“I didn't like the circuit having to wait for things. Also I would be so close to my house, I would see people that I know and then I would start talking with people. And then I would be there for like two hours!”

She needed something that would get her stronger, cater to her needs and not take hours out of her day.

In April 2017 Marcia heard an ad on the radio talking about a workout that was 20 minutes, twice a week.

“I thought, wow, that sounds pretty good. Anything that I have to do three times a week, it's so much more difficult than twice a week. And 20 minutes was also a great length of time for a workout.”

So she joined the Walnut Creek studio at The Perfect Workout and has been with us ever since.

Personal Trainers Walnut Creek CA

Adventures in her 60's

Marcia’s been with The Perfect Workout for over 3 years and has become stronger in all areas. Strength training has helped her continue her adventures of swimming, hiking, and traveling.

“I feel stronger, especially arm strength. Carrying groceries, riding a bicycle, I can go up hills a little further than I used to. I just feel like I have more energy.”

Marcia is a member of a senior hiking club where she goes on 6-9 mile hikes with others in their 60s and 70s.

Her 20 minute strength training sessions have helped her keep up with her hiking crew and have given her the ability to maintain the activities she loves.

“I have more stamina for those things. All of it was enhanced.”

Virtual Strength Training Client on a stand up paddleboard in Walnut Creek, CA

Consistency in her workouts

In her 3 years of slow-motion strength training at The Perfect Workout, Marcia has not missed a single session (except for being out of town- which we now have a solution for that!).

And this included working out through two foot surgeries. Each time she was operated on, she was able to return immediately to her workouts to which her trainer adapted to her recovery and customized the workout.

Being able to continue with her personal training sessions during a time where it's common and convenient to be sedentary, helped Marcia mentally, physically, and emotionally.

“Just to know that I was staying fit while I was convalescing- because I couldn't walk distances- was good for me.”

Every trainer Marcia has worked with has treated her as an individual and personalized the experience for her specific needs.

“There's some things- I have arthritis in my hands, they'll give me a splint or something on top of certain equipment. [They] will modify exercises or think of new ones for me for a greater challenge. [They] make sure that I'm safe.”

Personal Training Walnut Creek CA

Her lifetime health plan

By working out with a Personal Trainer and using our slow-motion method, Marcia knows she’s doing something safe, yet challenging and in such a brief, convenient way.

“It's well worth the expense. It's really worth it because if you don't make time for being well, then you have to make time for being sick. I need to keep doing this for maintenance. It's a lifetime thing. You don't just do it for a short term goal. This is a lifetime health plan.

At The Perfect Workout we know you want to avoid age-related pain, injury or health issues, and keep up with loved ones.

But in order to do that, you need to get stronger, gain energy, and have a workout you can stick with.

Making a Lifelong Passion Possible Again (age 66)

at 66, strength training is making a lifelong passion possible again

male client of the perfect workout smiling for the camera

Rich Turner’s passion was running. But after 25 years and thousands of miles, injuries from running started to shut his body down.

After giving up his love of running and undergoing knee surgeries, Rich Turner had come to terms that running might not ever be possible for him again.

Now, 10 years later at age 66, he’s gained the strength and the stamina to run every day. A gift he never expected to get.

For almost three years, Rich has been training at The Perfect Workout Del Mar, Ca.

He had recently retired and had been toying around with the idea of getting into strength training. Rich had been a lifelong runner and had learned that we lose strength and muscle over time, even though he wasn’t necessarily feeling it or seeing it yet. He wanted the ability to maintain an active lifestyle, especially now that he had entered retirement.

Knowing that he needed to start building strength, having a knee issue and being turned off from typical gyms became the perfect storm for him to try The Perfect Workout.

The idea of going to a “gym” was a pretty big deterrent for Rich. His previous experiences with major gyms- being crowded, loud, lots of overlap on equipment, and often a young crowd– well needless to say over time, he became less and less likely to go to one.

The only gym membership he had was at a 24-hour Fitness and all he ever used it for was a shower so he could run at lunch or before work!

Gyms were the antithesis of his experience, as he put it. He felt like it was a grind, something people forced themselves to do. The environment was not at all what he was looking for.

rich turner male client standing in front a building

“I needed something where I could focus and concentrate just on whatever my personal objectives were, and not necessarily so I can gauge them against a 25-year-old standing next to me on the same machine.”

Rich remembered seeing ads for The Perfect Workout and realized how close the Del Mar studio was to his home and that the workout was only 20 minutes. The convenience of it ultimately sparked his decision to come in for his Intro session.

“The first session is great! There was a lot of conversation, a little bit of an interview on goals, we had a lot of time on each of the apparatus (Nautilus machines) as well. We were able to talk about how each exercise was addressing what muscle groups and how this would proceed in future sessions.”

Rich loved his first session, loved the vibe of the studio and could see that the pace of the session would be to his liking. It was the fit he was hoping for.

After going through the workout and the coaching from his Trainer, he realized the hardest part was simply getting to the studio for the first time.

The hardest part for any of us! Trying anything new can be as easy as taking that first step through the doors of our studios… and it's worth it.

Because the second you enter the studio or show up on a zoom call for your Introductory Session, you’re walked through everything, every step of the way. That’s one of the most valuable aspects in what we provide with our 1-on-1 training. You don’t have to think about it, you don’t have to know any of this, we’ll teach you what you need to know and hold your hand throughout the process.

Rich agreed and made a really interesting observation about himself and many of the other clients he got to know at the Del Mar studio.

"There are a lot of people who have been very successful. A number of people have led companies, done interesting things.. but we all seem to have something in common:

We need to be led."

Having been a leader himself, Rich found he really wanted to be led too.

“It’s very, very helpful to just hand the baton over to Tim (trainer) and just say, ‘I’m going to kind of blank out here and do exactly what you tell me for 20 minutes.’”

He continued to tell me how helpful it is to be led, and some of that comes with the ability to develop trust with the Trainer. He felt like it was really important to believe that the Trainer knew what they were doing. And it was evident that the Trainers in the Del Mar studio did indeed know what they were doing from that very first session.

“If someone is leading you confidently in doing something you know is helpful, there’s really a relationship that developed, and that has made this a must-do part of my schedule. I’m really grateful for that…This is what has worked for me. I’m really happy to do it.”

Knowing that Rich was NOT a fan of the “gym atmosphere” I asked him what he thought about our studio since it's vastly different than any gym out there.

Rich admitted that within the first 5 minutes he didn’t really know what to expect, but he didn’t expect much because there wasn’t a lot going on visually (this is by design).

For anyone who’s never stepped foot into any of our studios, you may have a hard time picturing this, but it is the complete opposite from everything that was described as a “gym” earlier. It’s small, it’s intimate, it’s clinical. There’s no music. There’s no mirrors. There’s essentially no distractions. It’s just 1-on-1 training so you can come in, complete an exceptional workout, and get on with the rest of your day.

One thing that we DO have in our studios are our client success stories. Like many first-time clients, Rich found himself reading through the countless client stories on the wall with accounts of struggles turning to wins and photos of clients who were stronger, leaner, and conquering mountains… literally.

“They were motivational to me. I picked the ones that seemed the least likely to have been true and the most remarkable as goals — There was only one guy at the time that had reached 600 lbs on the Leg Press. The reality of it hit me, you’ve got to be goal-oriented and set some goals.”

Marshall Gurley Client Testimonial

Originally Rich didn’t have any concrete goals when he began with us. He simply knew he needed to strength train for his overall health and to preserve his strength as he got older. But after seeing what was possible to accomplish, he set out to conquer the heaviest weight on the Leg Press.

The Leg Press is a machine that works the biggest muscle groups in the body: the glutes, quads and hamstrings, so naturally it can be the most difficult for many of us. It's not about the number of pounds you push on the machine, it's about seeing the increase in your ability to push more and more, and Rich saw a potential win there.

He started pushing about 225lbs and felt like it would take decades to get up to 400lbs, let alone 600! He laughed because at the time his slim, fit, female trainer was pushing 480lbs– but it encouraged him more than anything! With her coaching and his determination, Rich got up to 480lbs and eventually was pushing past his goal with 645lbs on the Leg Press.

But what about right now? In this time of COVID-19, we don’t have access to the machines. So what was Rich doing to keep his legs strong? Virtual Training.

"The Virtual is different. It's very difficult. The difficulty factor has not changed."

Grace, Rich’s wife, also trains with us and both of them have been continuing their progress with Virtual sessions. He let me know how fortunate he felt that they already had some pieces of exercise equipment at home including a Bowflex dumbbell set, which we use in our studios as well.

“It’s been amazing to watch the development of exercises around the few pieces of equipment that we have. We have a little bit of the MacGyver-esque creativity going on.”

This actually became the inspiration for a No Excuses Workout Program called the MacGyver!

“I will just say that from a psychological, emotional health standpoint, the ability to still look forward to regular workouts, to feel completely drained and a little bit sore, knowing you’re still working on the same muscle groups… I feel it’s been a dramatic benefit to us.”

And we are thrilled that this option to train from anywhere, anytime will continue to be an option for Rich and his wife. They travel often and sometimes it can be for one or two months at a time. It’s hard to simulate their in-studio workouts at home, on their own– not to mention they often feel sluggish and out of shape from the adventures of vacation.

“If we had minimal equipment and still maintain our two times a week virtually.. To me, that would really, really be worth it. I’m very encouraged that this exists now.”

I have personally been trained virtually by one of our Certified Trainers and can vouch for the difficulty level. So, I asked Rich what made it challenging for him?

He told me how amazing it is how difficult we can make some basic isometric exercises. The added challenge of needing to balance on your own adds a level of difficulty. He mentioned that he and Tim, his Trainer, are constantly dialing in how to make the right adjustments to the exercises and the amount of resistance used.

I pointed out to Rich that he was very much still being “led” like he was in the studio.

He agreed wholeheartedly, saying there was absolutely no way he could do it on his own. Having a trainer there to do all of the planning, explaining, adjusting and most importantly coaching, makes all the difference.

Earlier in our conversation, Rich had mentioned he gets a lot of psychological and emotional benefits from doing slow-motion strength training. I pointed out that he’s clearly gained strength going from leg pressing 225 to 600 lbs, but I wanted to know what other results he’s seen.

How has The Perfect Workout really helped him?

“There’s been muscle definition that I hadn’t had, maybe ever. But [added] strength in doing normal activity… A normal activity around here is landscaping.”

He went on to tell me how much yard work he does on his property. After retirement, rather than downsizing, the Turners upsized and got a home with landscaping that required a lot of maintenance. Luckily, hauling concrete blocks, laying irrigation and carrying plants has become a hobby of his… And now he has the strength and stamina to do it!

Rich turner working out virtually in his garage

Rich had mentioned earlier that he was previously into running, but it became apparent that running was once a big part of his life. For 25 years he was an avid runner and was also active in biking, swimming and triathlons. Toward the end of that stage of life and after thousands of miles of running, injuries began to shut his body down. But the passion was still there…

After his first six months at The Perfect Workout, Rich felt like he might be able to reintroduce running back into this life.

Keep in mind, he hadn’t been running for eight or ten years at this point and had gone through knee surgeries. The idea of getting back into it was difficult, and he assumed it would be painful. And although it was tough to pick back up again, he was able to do it.

He began with walk-runs, then intervals, then he was up and running.

“I found that – and I attribute it to much stronger fully developed leg muscles both quads and hamstrings and everything around it – I was able to do 10 minutes on my first run, 20 minutes after a week, 30-35 minutes after two or three weeks and now I’m running everyday about 35 minutes.”

Having loved running for 25 years, the ability to get that back to him was amazing. “That was so much better than being able to lift up a couple of cement blocks.”

“The ability to be free to do an activity that was such a big part of my life for so long – I was racing all the time. … I loved doing it and now I love doing it again.

"If nothing else happens - the ability to go back and run and feel that again - PRICELESS."

Slow-Motion Strength Training has the power to do more than just increase your strength. It has the power to add years to your life and improve the quality of those years.

What could you gain by adding two, 20-minute workouts to your week?

After 3 Knee Surgeries: Climbed Mount Picchu

kelly climbed mount picchu with the perfect workout's help!

female client at the top of a mountain posing for the camera

Other workouts didn’t cut it for her, and she wasn’t seeing results. But the personalized training with The Perfect Workout set her on a new path. “I had never worked with a personal trainer before, and it’s been amazing having someone who’s really watching my form and looking out for me.”

“I was a non-believer.” When Kelly Gaynor first heard about The Perfect Workout on the radio two years ago, she thought it was too good to be true. How could 20 minutes, twice a week make a difference? Still, Kelly was intrigued. She stopped into the Walnut Creek studio for her first workout, and asked some tough questions about slow-motion strength training and what the average client looks like. “She looks like you,” the trainers told her. Knowing that she fit in to The Perfect Workout environment put Kelly at ease, and made her confident that she could do the training. Trying slow-motion strength training for that first day was a challenge, but Kelly faced it head-on, and she’s been a believer ever since.

One of the biggest things Kelly was looking for in a workout was something that would keep her youthful as she got older. “As one ages, you see people who are older and you know you’re going there. They can’t do things they used to do. I didn’t want that to be my future.” At 61, she knew she needed to keep active. Other workouts didn’t cut it for her, and she wasn’t seeing results. But the personalized training with The Perfect Workout set her on a new path. “I had never worked with a personal trainer before, and it’s been amazing having someone who’s really watching my form and looking out for me.”

Kelly had torn her ACL and had three knee surgeries in the past, so she prioritizes safety when working out. Her two trainers, Rob and Danica, always respond to her needs and adjust each exercise to make sure she isn’t straining or hurting herself. Their care and motivation have paid off. When she started with The Perfect Workout, Kelly could lift 155 lbs. on the leg press. Today, she can lift 235! She’s also gone from 50 to 75 lbs. on the lat pull down, and increased significantly on every other machine.

Kelly’s newfound strength paid off when she traveled to Peru recently to climb to the famous valley of Machu Picchu. “It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I had never hiked before, and this is one of the toughest hikes in the world!” But because of her newfound muscle and energy, she knew she could conquer it. A few times on the trek, her husband suggested they turn around, but Kelly wasn’t having it. Eventually, she reached the top and it was all worth it. Ultimately, she climbed over 2,100 feet—the equivalent of climbing the Empire State Building 1.7 times. “Thank you Danica Cramer, Rob Wight, and The Perfect Workout. You helped me climb Machu Picchu!”

“From my first visit, I was hooked!”

"from my first visit, i was hooked!"

margo a female client who is 60 years old

For anyone who's considering slow-motion strength training, Margo says, “You have to try it. It's something wonderful to do for yourself. The Perfect Workout is worth it to me. It's my health! I'm turning 60 in July, and this is not the time to backslide!”

Margo Smith came to The Perfect Workout in November of 2011 to rehabilitate her knee. “I had spent the previous year very restricted,” she says. “I had a torn meniscus in my left knee from attending a fitness bootcamp.

The surgery didn't go well, and I was left with only 40% cartilage in one knee, or what is known as ‘bone on bone.' After doing physical therapy for a year, I knew I wanted to get a trainer, particularly one who was aware of what to do with my knee.” She had already done her homework on The Perfect Workout after reading some articles about it. Her husband, an engineer and former triathlete, did some research, too. “He told me, ‘This makes sense.' “

When she went in for her introductory session, Margo says, “I had such a good feeling about everyone. They knew what they were doing. They were very well-educated and well-prepared. Plus, I had read the testimonials beforehand.” The one-on-one aspect was a big draw, and she and trainer Kim Van Loon got right down to business, being very careful about her knee.

“No matter which trainer I'm working with, I know I have their undivided attention every time. They're there, focused, and helping me. They're giving me 100%, and I feel I need to give them 100%.” Margo calls her current trainer, Ryan, “The Workout Whisperer” because he gets in her head and urges her on. “He gets more out of me than I think I have to give. He knows what I can do and helps me achieve the most I can on any given day.”

It's that personal touch that helped Margo get some great results fairly quickly. She lost 10 pounds, went down a size, gained muscle tone, and lost inches off her waist. More important, she says, “There was a big difference in the shape of my body.

Everything fits better and looks better. I never had upper body fat, but in that year off, my tops got tight in the arms. I have shape in my biceps and legs now! All in all, I look better.” The key is consistency. Margo never misses a workout, and she makes every workout count.

It's paying off in the studio, where she's now leg pressing 300 pounds, as well as outside. She's able to hike, walk, dance, and scuba dive – things she wasn't doing during her knee rehabilitation. Margo says, “I am so grateful to the trainers. Both for the training and that they've become friends. I appreciate them.”

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