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.

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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

Fit at 80: Overweight & Weak to Fitness Instructor

From Overweight & Weak to Fitness Instructor in Her 80s!

From Overweight & Weak to Fitness Instructor in Her 80s!

Sally Determan Fit at 80 from strength training

Sally Determan was nearing her 80th birthday feeling “old and out of shape.”

Off-balance, weak, and overweight, Sally felt like she was paying a big price for years of living an unhealthy lifestyle and little to no exercise.

Fast forward 3 years, Sally is in the best shape of her life and has newfound stamina and strength to help others live a healthier lifestyle! 

As Sally approached her 80th birthday, she noticed that she was getting tired easily and everyday tasks were becoming more difficult.

“I also grew concerned about falls.”

She knew a change was needed and she couldn’t spend the rest of her life slowly declining. So, she started with trying to lose weight.

Sally began her journey at Weight Watchers where she lost some of the excess weight and incorporated water cardio into her routine.

She knew she needed to do something to increase her muscle and bone strength (to prevent falls) but lacked the motivation and know-how to lift weights at home. 

“I HATED the idea of loud, busy, glitzy gyms, filled with lycra-wearing folks 40 or more years younger than me!”

She needed guidance, privacy, and accountability.

Shortly after, Sally saw The Perfect Workout online and realized there was a Falls Church studio (not a gym!), offering a free introductory session. She figured she had nothing to lose by giving it a try, and the idea of 20 minutes, twice a week fit into her schedule.

Sally joined The Perfect Workout in January 2017 and made wonderful progress in improving her strength, stamina, and weight management.

Infographic Strength Training

After all that she’s accomplished so far, Sally is proud of her ability to keep up — actually, lead — other water cardio participants who are ten to fifteen years younger than her. 

“The entire concept that I am a physical fitness guru is astonishing!”

Knowing how important it is to have someone lead her through your workouts, and fitness journey, Sally gives a lot of credit to the team at The Perfect Workout.

“Each of the four trainers with whom I've worked have been excellent — and fun.”

Now, Sally tells people about her slow-motion strength training workouts when they ask her how she got in such good shape. She explains the method, including the concept of going as long and as hard as your muscles permit — very slowly — and how little time it takes.

The Perfect Workout Client Quote

Her Anti-Aging Tool: Strength Training (age 80)

at 80 years young, strength training is her anti-aging tool

Strength Training Menlo Park CA

When you’re in your 20’s you worry about what your career will look like, who you’ll marry and how many kids you’ll have.

When you’re in your 40’s you worry about having enough saved up for retirement and where the kids will go to college, if they go to college.

When you’re in your 60’s you worry about being able to have the energy to travel, keep up with your grandkids, or be healthy enough to face the challenges old-age like Mom and Dad have.

What will you worry about when you’re 80?

If you’ve taken your health seriously like Christine Gandel, losing strength and declining with age won't be worries at the top of your list.

she wanted to get stronger, not softer.

Christine Gandel joined The Perfect Workout in 2014 while living in a senior living facility in Palo Alto, CA.

She began to notice she was getting a little bit “flabby” and needed to do something about it.

When she saw an ad for The Perfect Workout she thought to herself, “Well, I could do that. It's probably worth trying. I tried it and I liked it, and I've been in it ever since.”

After joining the program, Christine noticed changes right away.

“I was getting stronger and feeling like I could lift suitcases and put them in airplanes. That kind of stuff.”

She had been traveling from California to Montana quite a bit to see her daughter, so having the strength to be able to keep up with that lifestyle was important to her.

Personal Trainer Menlo Park CA

Partway through her time with the Menlo Park Studio, Christine had open heart surgery. She was only out for a month or two before bouncing back and working out again with her Personal Trainers.

An interesting study shows that seniors who “trained” for their surgeries, recovered faster.

And that’s exactly what Christine did. She didn’t know that she was going to have open-heart surgery, her goal was to get stronger. But having strengthened her body and immune system with slow-motion strength training, she was able to endure a serious surgery and recover quickly.

Fitness Trainer Menlo Park CA

she wanted to workout no matter what.

Shortly after regaining her pre-surgery strength, Christine made the move from California to Montana to be closer to her daughter.

The downside, The Perfect Workout didn’t have any studios in Montana.

Christine knew how vital her strength training routine was to her health and preventing age-related health issues, so she took it upon herself to try working out on her own.

She grabbed her copy of Fast Fitness at Home and did her best to perform slow-motion strength training at the gym in her new senior-living facility.

Strength Trainer Menlo Park CA

“It was easy to get on the machines and set the weights and do something. It wasn't easy to stick with it on a regular basis because I didn't have appointments.”

It was also challenging for Christine to know whether her form was right or when to raise the weights. When she was training in the Menlo Park studio she didn’t have to think about all of those things during her workouts.

She missed the coaching from her Trainer.

Christine had been working out on her own for about 4 months when COVID hit, which tilted in her favor when it came to exercising.

“Then you started the virtual workouts and I thought, Aha. This has been a blessing to be able to go back. I took it up right away.”

Now, Christine trains with us all the way from Bozeman, Montana. She’s been working hard at her twice a week regimen with her Trainer, Deja Osbourne from the Bay Area in California.

“We've worked out a good system. I've been able to go down to the gym and use some of the machines and use the weights. The kind of exercises that I'm doing are a lot more intense.”

She no longer has to wonder “how much weight I should do? When do I add weight or adjust the machines? Is my form correct? Did I just hit muscle success?”

That's one of the beautiful things about having a trainer with you whether it's in the studio or virtually. You don't necessarily need to think about what's going to get you to muscle success. You just have to push. You just have to be the one to do the work, but you don't need to think about all the details that go into it.

“I would love it if they had a studio here, but now that I can do it here, maybe I don't care.”

Personal Trainers Menlo Park CA

she wanted to avoid the struggle of old-age.

Christine’s bone density levels have been flirting with osteoporosis for as long as she can remember. Even though she’s never been officially diagnosed, it's always been on her mind.

“Hip fractures when you're 80 are not pleasant. I want to make sure that that doesn't happen.”

By doing slow-motion strength training, Christine is adding lean muscle-tissue and bone density to her body which fights sarcopenia, osteoporosis, immobility, balance issues, poor posture, and many more issues senior women face.

Personal Training Menlo Park CA

When Christine first joined The Perfect Workout her goal was to get stronger, not softer and that hasn’t changed one bit.

“When you get to be my age, you're worried about that pretty easily. I look at all the people around me because I do live in a senior living community and I see them limping around, and using walkers, and bad backs, and all this stuff. I think as long as I can do this and stay away from it, that's great.

At 80 years young, Christine has a lot of people telling her, “You don't look your age. You don't act your age.” and she intends to keep it that way with strength training as her anti-aging tool.

Fitness Training Menlo Park CA

The Perfect Workout offers the most sustainable strength training program and is something she can continue to do for as long as her body allows her to.

Now, that Christine can continue her workouts with a Personal Trainer, anywhere, anyplace, she doesn’t ever plan on stopping.

Cancer Survivor is Staying Strong, at age 81

81 year old cancer survivor is staying strong at the perfect workout

The day she took another fall was the day she decided to do something about it.

She needed to get stronger.

She knew she had to build muscle and improve her balance.

She made a plan to work with a Trainer to get there.

What she didn’t plan on was facing an unexpected battle with Cancer.

But that didn’t stop Kathe Petersdorf! She beat cancer, overcame multiple surgeries and returned to her workouts with a goal to get stronger than ever.

Kathe initially began her journey with The Perfect Workout to combat the falls she had previously taken. Knowing she’d get stronger and more stable, she worked consistently with The Perfect Workout Trainers to build up strength. What she was surprised to receive was coaching, connection and a friend in some of her most challenging times….

In this feature, we sit down with Kathe to hear her story of overcoming health scares and gaining more than just strength and balance at The Perfect Workout.

Watch the full interview with Kathe to hear her story!

When I asked Kathe what initially brought her into The Perfect Workout she answered bluntly.

“My age.”

She had taken a couple falls which quickly became motivation for her to do something to improve her strength. Kathe felt like it was time she started building muscle so that she didn’t keep falling, or experience something worse.

The Perfect Workout was something Kathe had heard of before but never took it too seriously until her decision to get stronger.

The first session was free and she thought, “Well let’s go take advantage of that and we’ll see what that’s all about.” The Danville studio was close to her, the workout only took 20 minutes and strength was guaranteed. Why wouldn’t she try it?

The first time she stepped foot into the training studio for her Introductory Session, Kathe was surprised at how different it was compared to the gyms she had been to before.

The workout space was small, intimate, clinically controlled and distraction free. Not your average gym with loud music, clanking weights and people checking themselves out in the mirror.

Then she met Nicole and Jennifer and they “sold” her on it, she said. “They were wonderful, and they still are wonderful.”

Kathe worked with a couple of different trainers, but the relationship she began to cultivate with Nicole Rhoades became such a special component of her 1-on-1 training.

Amidst the year and a half of training Kathe has been doing with us, she was faced with an unexpected battle with Cancer.

For almost three months, Kathe was hospitalized and had to have surgery where they removed her tumor, one of her kidneys, and her spleen. During that time she spent in the hospital, who stayed in touch with her? Nicole, her trainer.

“She was very personal with her contacts and I feel like she’s my good friend now. And she stayed in touch with me the whole time I was gone, which I appreciated.”

As Kathe and Nicole grew closer, despite the hiatus from working out, the plan was to always get back into the studio and continue getting stronger. “I knew I didn’t want to lose all the progress I had made so I said I’m coming back no matter what! And I did.”

"I knew I didn't want to lose all the progress I had made so I said I'm coming back no matter what! AND I DID!"

Once she was cleared to workout again, Kathe came back to the Danville studio and continued her twice a week slow-motion training sessions as part of her recovery plan. And then COVID-19 hit the Bay Area, hard.

Being the first in the country to officially implement the shelter-at home orders, the Danville studio temporarily closed down.

What would happen to all the progress she’d been gaining back? Would her health have to be put on hold again? Not this time.

Nicole and the Bay Area team didn’t waste any time keeping their clients on track- and Virtual Personal Training was born.

I asked Kathe what her initial thoughts were when we had to close the studio doors and said, “Hey, we’re going to train you virtually!”

She had questions– like we all did— Is Virtual Training going to do for me what the Studio workouts did, without the machines?

“I trusted Nicole, and I know she’d had experience in doing this. A lot of experience.” But there were still a lot of unanswered questions.

After actually trying a Virtual Personal Training Session, she was put at ease. “I have my weights and we workout. I feel like I’m okay. I feel like everything’s going to be OKAY. I still feel like I’m working out, and Nicole makes it worthwhile. I can hardly wait to get back into the studio, however!”

"I feel like everything's going to be OKAY. I still feel like I'm working out, and Nichole make it worthwhile."

I agreed with her that we all miss the machines, miss the studio and miss seeing each other each week. But, this is what we have to do now, to make sure we don’t lose progress and to make sure that we stay healthy and we stay strong.

Each of our Trainers are Certified and go through an extensive and immersive training process. Most personal training certifications do not require any hands-on training to get certified. At The Perfect Workout, our certification goes beyond books and heavily involves hands-on training with real people.

We test our trainers’ knowledge and expertise with numerous written and practical exams. All Personal Trainers are AED/CPR certified and are required to complete continuing education as part of their employment with The Perfect Workout.

Kathe had expressed to Nicole she was worried she wouldn’t be getting enough of a workout during her Virtual Sessions, Nicole talked about the workout and the exercises were explained in detail.

“The thing that I like about that is she explains which muscles I’m supposed to be using and feeling and that’s been very helpful.”

Now she thinks, “I am getting enough of a workout,” by doing this.

I asked her what makes her feel like she’s getting enough of a workout.

“I’m tired!” We laughed at this because that generally speaks for itself. If you’ve ever experienced slow-motion strength training you know how challenging it is!

Kathe explained that the workout tires out her muscles (muscle success) like the machines did and it just makes sense to her the approach they’ve been taking. Despite having very little equipment- a 3, 5, and an 8 lb dumbbell seem to do the trick!

I reiterated that was what the workout is all about– hitting that moment of temporary muscle failure and how cool it is that they can achieve that together over a Virtual connection.

One of the most surprising parts about our Virtual Training sessions is the ability to fatigue the muscles with bodyweight or lighter weights, like Kathe’s 5 lb dumbbells. After lifting heavy weights on Nautilus machines, it's very surprising how heavy we can make a little dumbbell feel.

Kathe opened up to me about another concern she had with Virtual Training before beginning. “Am I going to pay all that money and just workout at home?” But now that she’s been training Virtually for over a month now and she’s experienced our method in a different way, she feels like “Yeah, that is okay!”

I know one of the biggest questions that comes up for a lot of clients before trying virtual training is, “How is the trainer gonna be able to correct me and coach my form if they’re not right here in the room with me?” I asked Kathe what that experience had been like for her–

“Oh, she corrects me! She’s good at that. I carry my iPad around with me, wherever, whatever I’m doing on the floor or standing up. And if she can’t see me, she let’s me know and I move it ‘til she can. It’s been good. Trouble is, I wanna chit-chat ‘cus there’s nobody here to talk to… “

We agreed that working with a Trainer virtually, as opposed to working out alone or following along with a video had some added bonuses. It’s like seeing an old friend again. You get to maintain that connection, even if it is through an iPad.

“Do you think you could do this workout on your own without the coaching from your trainer?” I asked Kathe.

“No, and I don’t want to. Primarily because she corrects me if I’m not doing it right. She pays a lot of attention to me.”

"Do you think you could do this workout on your own without the coaching from your trainer?"

"No, and I don't want to. Primarily because she corrects me if I'm not doing it right. She pays a lot of attention to me."

I realized that the relationship Kathe had with her Trainer was a really important piece of the puzzle for her.. In more ways than one.

  • She was able to maintain that connection they established in the studio
  • She got personalization in her workouts and support on the days in between
  • She trusted that her Trainer would coach her and push her, more than she could herself.

We chatted a little bit more about her plans to continue Virtual Training until the studios back up. After all, we’re all at the mercy of this change, but not working out is not an option.

“Kathe is so remarkable! She works hard and laughs through it! She is a true joy and works to reach her goals!” – Nicole Rhoades (Kathe's trainer)

Before we signed off, Kathe surprised me with a goal she had in mind. “I want to be your poster child because I’m 81.” — which honestly shocked me because she looks SO GOOD and youthful. I would have never guessed she was 81.

She continued, “Then when I’ve accomplished the poster child, I’m going to take classes and I’m going to start teaching and working in the studio.”

How’s THAT for a goal?!

Not currently training? What goals are you missing out on by putting your workouts on pause?

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