Member Feature Marshal Ryan

Member Feature
Marshal ryan

Member Feature
Marshal ryan

member strength training post surgery doing bar dips

Marshal Ryan’s wife finally enticed him to try The Perfect Workout after she’d been doing the workout for six months…

“She kept bragging about how great The Perfect Workout was and I saw that she was getting toned up.

At first, I didn’t think it was for me. I thought, ‘What could they possibly do in 20 minutes?’

My wife kept telling me, ‘It's harder than you think.’ So I agreed finally to try it out.”

“I was aging, sitting behind a desk, and gaining weight.

I wanted to lose a few inches and get a little stronger, but I really didn't want to go to the gym and spend hours doing it.

After going through the Introductory Workout I could see that it was harder than what I had imagined and it would fit my schedule. So, I signed up right then.

Since sticking with it, I’ve lost about 20-25 pounds and several inches in my waist… and certainly gained strength. And I just feel better.”

When it comes to working with his trainers, Marshal knows he’s in good hands…

“You develop a friendship and a rhythm to it. Gary knows me, he knows what to expect out of me. He pushes me (and I expect him to push me)… it's just a good working relationship.

The trainers know how to position you properly in the machines, you're not using those twitch muscles to jerk around a lot. It really is structured as a slow-motion exercise.

I like that especially since I am getting older. I don't break stuff!”

Eight months into The Perfect Workout Marshal had seen a lot of results. But he had a spinal stenosis nerve issue on his spinal cord which locked down his right-hand side and was severely painful. Doctors said he needed to have neck fusion surgery…

“I took a couple of months off of my workouts during the pandemic to get the surgery done and it took five or six months to recover. I returned in December 2020 and Gary helped me ease back into it.

I was able to rehabilitate here, and now we're almost up to where I was in weights before the surgery.

I have worked out in gyms before, and to me, this is much more. It works without having to spend hours in the gym.

I love it. It's worth every penny to me and I look forward to it. It's part of my routine and I don't feel like the week is complete without it.”

Marshal Ryan, 64
Colleyville, TX

If you’re a current member and you’d like to share how The Perfect Workout has helped you achieve results- inside and out, please apply by filling out this form.

If you are new to The Perfect Workout, try a workout with us and Book a FREE Introductory Session.

How much protein do I need to build muscle

How much protein do you need to build muscle?

How much protein do you need to build muscle?

How much protein do you need to build muscle with different types of food

Hitting that point of temporary muscle failure on each exercise is the most important factor in getting benefits from strength training, in our opinion.

But, it's not the only factor that can affect results.

Have you ever asked, “How much protein do I need to build muscle?” In this article, we deep dive into the importance of protein, how much you need to gain muscle, how to get enough protein, and more. Let’s get into it…

Jump to Topic:
The Effects of Protein
How Much Protein is Enough?
High Protein Intake
Too Much Protein
How to Get Enough Protein
Protein Pays Off

The Effects of Protein

Protein intake affects how much lean muscle you gain from exercise. If eating more protein enables more muscle growth, then any additional protein to your usual diet should help, right?

It’s not quite that simple.

Researchers have discovered a phenomenon called the “protein change theory.” If you want to gain more strength and muscle by adding protein to a typical diet, there’s evidence you can’t just add a little more to make a difference.

Research has shown the increase in your diet must be significant.

The protein change theory was created after researchers noticed conflicting results of studies.

In studies when strength trainees increased their habitual protein intake, some gained strength and muscle, and others saw no change.

When looking closer at how much the intake was increased between those who got stronger and those who didn’t, a clear answer stood out:

  • Studies showing noticeable strength and muscle gains averaged a protein consumption increase of 60%.
  • Studies with small increases, such as those under 20%, led to no changes.

In terms of actual amounts, a 60% increase for a person who eats 50 grams of protein per day is jumping to a daily amount of 80 grams (which translates to about five more ounces of meat per day, considering an ounce contains 6-7 grams of protein).

To maximize muscle and strength growth, protein intake can have an effect. According to the protein change theory, a large increase, perhaps as much as two-thirds of your current intake, may be needed to notice extra results (depending on how much protein you’re already eating).

Otherwise, any change in protein consumption may not make as much of an impact on your strength or appearance.

A scoop of protein powder is how much you need

How Much Protein Is Enough?

Although many people normally eat a diet that provides sufficient protein that can provide for good strength training results, some people do not.

One recent study looking at protein intake with people who strength trained found that if enough protein isn't consumed, muscle development will be limited.

So how much is enough? In this study, the trainees ate one of three amounts of protein relative to their body weight:

  • 0.86 grams per kilogram of body weight per day
  • 1.4 g per kg/day
  • 2.4 g per kg/day.

The group eating 0.86 grams per kg/day developed less muscle than the 1.4 and 2.4 gram groups. Eating 0.86 grams per kg was not enough to help post-workout muscles rebuild to an optimal extent.

On the other hand, the 2.4 g group actually had an abnormally high rate of amino acid oxidation (breakdown), meaning that there was a large excess of protein. While 0.86 g was not enough, 2.4 g was too much.

The researchers concluded that a person who strength trains should consume a minimum of 1.3 g per kg of body weight per day.

To translate this formula into pounds, you can figure out your daily minimum by multiplying your weight by 0.7.

For example a:

  • 100 lb person x 0.7 = 70 grams of protein per day
  • 150 lb person, this is 105 grams per day
  • 200 lb person, this is 140 grams per day
  • 250 lb person, this is 175 grams per day

High-Protein Intake

According to the Journal of Nutrition, a high-protein intake is helpful for several reasons. A higher protein intake:

A high-protein diet is helpful for maximizing your physique, health, and physical function. But is there such a thing as too much?

Is There Such a Thing As Too Much Protein?

Earlier we mentioned there was such a thing as “too much” protein when overconsumption led to amino acid oxidation, but eating that much protein is not easy to do without massive changes to your diet. So, unless you’ve been consistently getting something like 350+g of protein in a day, (which is what a 175lb person eating 2.4g a kg would be) you won’t need to worry about this.

One concern some people have is the fear that eating more protein may lead to kidney damage. Some research supports the idea that this shouldn't be a concern for most people.

The University of Connecticut researchers in this study conclude, “We find no significant evidence for a detrimental effect of high protein intakes on kidney function in healthy persons.”

Also, the Institute of Medicine states that protein is safe to consume for 10- 35% of calorie intake. To put that in context, a person who consumes 100 grams of protein and 2,000 total calories per day only consumes 20% of calories from protein.

If you’re not sure you can eat enough protein simply because of how much food it would require you to consume in a day, read on.

How to get enough protein, a large spread of different types of food

How To Get Enough Protein

How can you reach the amount that’s recommended for a person of your weight? Consume a major source of protein at every meal.

Some “whole food” sources of highly digestible protein are poultry, fish, red meat, eggs, and dairy.

Other examples of high-protein foods include:

  • low-fat Greek yogurt
  • cottage cheese
  • Tofu

For more non-meat, dairy-free protein alternatives, read Healthline’s 18 Best Protein Sources for Vegans here.

If looking for a protein supplement, consider whey, casein, egg, or pea protein. These supplements have high levels of most or all amino acids and are largely digestible. If you know you have allergens or sensitivities, especially to whey or milk protein, check out Precision Nutrition’s whey sensitivity & intolerance article here where they talk about alternative kinds of protein supplements.

Maximize your results by complementing your strength training program with a sufficient amount of protein intake each day.

Eating enough protein will ensure that you are gaining muscle, strength, managing your weight, and maintaining your physical function.

Protein Pays Off- A Real Life Story

We were emailed a real-life story of a high-intensity strength training member and her experience with protein needs:

“I was working with a woman who had lower than average muscle tone. This woman was approaching her senior years with a very small frame, below average muscle mass, and osteopenia (the precursor for osteoporosis).

Her goals: gain muscle, strength, and improve her bone density.
She quickly and fully absorbed the value of intensity, working to ‘muscle success' on every exercise a few sessions after starting. I can honestly say that I never left our sessions thinking that she could have worked harder.

However, despite a large capacity for physical improvement and her great effort, her body barely changed over the first two months. I was at a loss for words when witnessing the lack of change. Needless to say, she was unhappy with the training and with herself.

Fortunately, I had come across some research on protein intake at the time. After informing her of the researchers' recommendations, the woman admitted that she didn't consume much protein.

She made some diet adjustments and, sure enough, her body started to slowly develop into what she wanted. About three months later, she routinely showed up to sessions talking about compliments from friends and family about the muscle tone in her arms, shoulders, and thighs.

The funny thing is, even though her muscles made noticeable changes over the latter three months, it was her diet that changed. Specifically, it was her protein intake.”

It's extremely unlikely that you will “bulk up” like a bodybuilder, regardless of how much protein you eat. Instead, all of us over the age of 25 are fighting against age-related muscle loss (“sarcopenia”), which slows the metabolism, promotes fat gain, and is definitely not what you want.

We recommend striving to develop every bit of body shaping, calorie-burning muscle tissue that you can!

The relationship between strength training and nutrition is an interrelated one. While putting in a great effort at the end of each strength training exercise is key, protein provides the amino acids that your body uses to develop new muscle tissue.

If you would like to learn more about our method of strength training, read about our methodology. If you are new to The Perfect Workout, try a workout with us and book a FREE Introductory Session.

  • Anderson, G.H. & Moore, S.E. (2004). Dietary proteins in the regulation of food intake and body weight in humans. The Journal of Nutrition, 134(4), 974S-979S.
  • Bosse, J. D., & Dixon, B. M. (2012). Dietary protein to maximize resistance training: a review and examination of protein spread and change theories. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 9(1), 42.
  • Graham, J. (2019). Why older adults should eat more protein (and not overdo protein shakes). KHN. Retrieved from https://khn.org/news/why-older-adults-should-eat-more-protein-and-not-overdo-protein-shakes/
  • Martin, W. F., Armstrong, L. E., & Rodriguez, N. R. (2005). Dietary protein intake and renal function. Nutrition & metabolism, 2(1), 25.
  • Phillips SM. Dietary protein for athletes: from requirements to metabolic advantage. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2006;31:647.
  • Phillips, S.M. (2012). Dietary protein requirements and adaptive advantages in athletes. British Journal of Nutrition, 108, S158-S167.

Free Weights vs Machines

Free Weights vs Machines,
What’s Better?

Free Weights vs. Machines - members strength training

Free weights or machines?

This debate has existed in the fitness industry since the first strength training machines were invented in the 1970s.

Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as “____ is better.”

Machines and free weights both have benefits and drawbacks. Read below to learn which option is best for you.

Strength Training Basics

Strength training was created over 2,000 years ago with the Ancient Greeks (Feld, 2020). They would build strength and muscle by lifting rocks, bags of sand, and the original version of a medicine ball.

Thankfully, strength training equipment has evolved. In the 1860s, barbells and dumbbells were created (Soleyn, n.d.). They were followed by the creation of the kettlebells and resistance bands in the late 1800s, cable machines in the 1950s, and the first line of strength training machines in the 1970s (Feld, 2020).

While there’s consensus in the fitness and medical fields that strength training is good for overall health, there is much debate about what type of strength training equipment is most effective for strength gains or increasing muscle size.

The debate is usually simplified into two categories: free weights and machines.

Free weights are objects that are “free” of any attachment. You can move them anywhere. The most common free weights used are dumbbells, barbells, medicine balls, and kettlebells.

Machines have a fixed path of motion and are often specialized for a specific movement. Most have weight stacks where the weight is selected by inserting a pin or flipping a switch.

Strength training with either type of equipment is effective for building strength, muscle, bone density, and for enhancing health. With that said, free weights and machines contrast in their strengths (no pun intended) and weaknesses.

Female strength training on a machine and male strength training with free weights

Free Weights vs Machines

Versatility

If you are looking to use one piece of equipment for as many exercises as possible, free weights are the best option.

A barbell (with a collection of weight plates), for example, can be used for a bench press, back squat, deadlift, curls, a shoulder press, and bent-over row. This one piece of equipment can be used to target all major muscle groups.

Dumbbells are also versatile, although a range of dumbbells are needed to account for the differing strength levels necessary for different exercises and to provide options for progressing resistance.

Machines are generally limited in their versatility. An example of this is the leg press. A leg press is generally only useful for two exercises: a leg press or calf raise.

Safety

Machines hold the advantage of providing a safer strength training workout. Machines offer more stability with most being seated and isolating movement in the targeted muscle groups.

There’s also no risk of dropping the weight on oneself. With a barbell bench press or a dumbbell shoulder press, a person could easily drop the weight onto their chest, head, or feet if losing control.

On a machine, dropping the weight translates to the weight plates simply dropping onto the weight stack… aka slamming the weights. While this causes a loud noise and should still be avoided for proper maintenance and courtesy, no weight actually lands on the lifter.

Free weights, in some cases, also place more force and compression on joints (Escamilla et al., 2001).

A research team in Australia tracked gym injuries over a 14-year period (Gray & Finch, 2015). Free-weight training was responsible for most of the cases, with 55% of the 3,000-plus injuries taking place during free-weight exercises. (Essentially all of the other injuries took place during non-strength training activities: group aerobics classes, boxing, treadmill running, and jumping exercises).

Muscle Growth & Strength

Traditionally, free weights are the go-to tool to maximize strength and muscle growth. But are they proven to be the most effective equipment for reaching these goals? The research isn’t clear.

One study found that the barbell bench press and its machine equivalent, the chest press, were equally effective in activating the muscle fibers in the chest, shoulders, and triceps (McCaw & Friday, 1994).

However, a study comparing a barbell squat with a leg press (on a leg press machine) showed that the squat was more effective for activating muscle fibers in the quadriceps and hamstrings (Escamilla et al., 2001), indicating that the squats might be more effective for producing muscle growth over time.

A recent study dove further into the question of which is best for muscle growth and strength (Schwanbeck et al., 2020). Men and women trained 2-3 times per week with either the free weight or machine version of the same basic movements.

At the end, the researchers measured both groups’ progress. Which type of equipment led to better “gains?” Neither. The free weight and machine groups had similar increases in both strength and muscle size.

Leg extension machine

So What’s Better, Free Weights or Machines?

Strength training with machines or free weights will enhance your health, bone density, strength, and muscle size. Your life will benefit from either approach.

If you seek versatility in being able to do the most with the least amount of equipment, if your space is limited, or if you want equipment that’s easier to transport, free weights are the best option.

On the other hand, machines are significantly safer. Free-weight exercises are responsible for the majority of injuries in gyms. Machines eliminate the possibility of injuries as a result of you or others dropping the weight.

Finally, when the workload is the same, machines and free weights produce similar levels of strength and muscle development.

If you would like to learn more about our method of strength training, read about our methodology. If you are new to The Perfect Workout, try a workout with us and start with a FREE Introductory Session.

  • Escamilla, R.F., Fleisig, G.S., Zheng, N., Lander, J.E., Barrentine, S.W., Andrews, J.R., … Moorman, C.T. (2001). Effects of technique variations on knee biomechanics during the squat and leg press. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 33(9), 1552-1566.
  • Feld, J. (2020). The constant evolution of fitness equipment. IHRSA. Retrieved from https://www.ihrsa.org/improve-your-club/the-constant-evolution-of-fitness-equipment/
  • Gray, S.E. & Finch, C.F. (2015). The causes of injuries sustained at fitness facilities presenting to Victorian emergency departments – identifying the main culprits. Injury Epidemiology, 2(1), 6.
  • McCaw, S.T. & Friday, J.J. (1994). A comparison of muscle activity between a free weight and machine bench press. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 8(4), 259-264.
  • Schwanbeck, S.R., Cornish, S.M., Barss, T., & Chilibeck, P.D. (2020). Effects of training with free weights versus machines on muscle mass, strength, free testosterone, and free cortisol levels. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 34(7), 1851-1859.
  • Soleyn, N. (n.d.). Strength performers and early barbells. Barbell Logic. Retrieved from https://barbell-logic.com/early-barbell/

Member Feature Karen Orendain

At 65, She Doesn’t Feel At-Risk for Heart Attack Anymore.

Karen Orendain - Female Member at The Perfect Workout

“I knew I needed to make a change in my life.

I wasn't working out and I was helping take care of my mom. She had a lot of health issues, was very weak, falling, and had a lot of problems.

I knew that I didn't want to follow that path.”

Karen was at a turning point with her health and fitness…

“A few years ago I was about 15 pounds heavier and wanted to lose that extra weight. I wanted to get rid of the “bat wings,” build up my body strength and keep my posture up.

I was diagnosed with osteopenia, and I heard that weight-bearing exercises were the best for stopping that.

I also became pre-diabetic, and high blood pressure and heart conditions run in my family. So I just wanted to stay ahead of it and focus on my health.

I heard about The Perfect Workout on the radio and decided I can do something for 20 minutes and not be intimidated.”

The Perfect Workout Member with Female Trainer working out on a weight machine

In 2016 Karen joined The Perfect Workout’s West Plano studio and immediately felt at ease working 1-on-1 with her trainers.

“I wasn't worried about hurting myself, doing things wrong, or not accomplishing my goals because I wasn't doing it correctly. That’s really why I picked The Perfect Workout.”

Karen began to see changes within a month of doing slow-motion strength training. She felt more and more motivated by the results she saw:

  • She was losing weight again
  • Her bat wings were going away
  • She felt stronger in her legs
  • Her body felt firmer all over
  • She felt more positive about her body

“I was ready to show it off!”

Karen’s quick success and boost in confidence were large in part to her work with her Certified Personal Trainers.

“I love our personal trainers. Everyone that I worked with I grew attached to. They're friendly, positive, and they really enjoy not only training but working together as a team.

I love that they discuss your workout and your goals as a group so they can each feed off of one another to help give you the best training and success.”

The Best Part…

“I feel positive about my future. I enjoy the fact that I have body tone now.

And I feel stable.

My mom fell a lot and had her first heart attack at 65 years old.

I’m 65 now, but I don't feel like I'm at risk anymore.

I feel like this is helping me not only to build a stronger body but a stronger attitude toward my overall habits in my life.

I’ve been with The Perfect Workout for five years now and I still believe it’s the perfect workout for me.

It's a safe environment. A place to go and work out and not feel like you're in comparison with anyone.

The Perfect Workout has motivated me to be a healthier and happier person… and I feel like sharing it with people! ”

Karen Orendain, 65
Dallas, TX

If you’re a current member and you’d like to share how The Perfect Workout has helped you achieve results- inside and out, please apply by filling out this form.

If you are new to The Perfect Workout, try a workout with us and start with a FREE Introductory Session.

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. Not to mention being post-menopausal and all the bodily changes that come with it. This requires specific guidance.


There are certain requirements for women over 60 to exercise effectively and lose weight. So what
are they?  


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, how to lose weight and keep it off, 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:

weight loss woman over 60

How to Lose Weight in your 60s and Keep it Off

Losing weight in your 40s, 50s, and 60s can prove to be a much bigger challenge than it used to be. Why is that?

There are a few reasons why your post-menopausal body seems to be a bit more resistant to losing weight and keeping it off.

Sleep

Many women during and after menopause have trouble sleeping. Decreased sleep quality and duration can lead to unexpected weight gain.

Hormones

We don’t have to tell you that as a woman, your hormones are constantly going through a wild ride. From menstrual cycles to childbearing and menopause, it can feel like a rollercoaster. Estrogen in particular can be a cause of increased body fat when levels are very low or very high.

Age-related muscle loss (sarcopenia)

Muscle tissue changes from decade to decade, no matter who you are. 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.

Insulin Resistance

Women naturally become more resistant to insulin as they get older, resulting in an increase in insulin and blood sugar levels. This can lead to additional weight gain.

 

Although these factors may feel like roadblocks to looking and feeling the way you want to, know we have some simple solutions to combat them.

Making changes to your diet and nutrition is a necessary part of making any long-lasting changes to your body. This may take some experimentation and guidance from your Doctor or a Dietician to decipher what works best for you.

As for the exercises, we’ve got you covered.

Strength Training is hands-down the most effective way to combat sarcopenia (age-related- muscle loss). It helps maintain and increase lean muscle mass.

With the addition of lean muscle mass, your body naturally burns more calories, which helps aid in fat loss and sustainable maintenance.

Strength training is also a very effective sleep aid. In fact, just two slow-motion sessions a week can help you to sleep better and longer. AND if that’s not enough, improved sleep helps to steady blood sugar levels, which we know is one of those pesky side effects of getting older.

So, prioritize strength training in order to maintain muscle mass, improve sleep, regulate blood sugar levels and make changes to your diet based on your nutritional needs. (We suggest starting with your protein intake!)

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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