Aging makes us vulnerable to muscle loss. Continued strength training helps maintain muscle mass, even for seniors. Yes, you can build new muscle over the age of 65, under the right conditions. So what’s the best workout for seniors? Learn why X3 is the most effective means for strength training, regardless of your age.
Why Seniors Need Strength Training #
Sarcopenia is the term for the natural loss of skeletal muscle with age. As we get older, our hormones change and we process protein less efficiently. In addition, we tend to move less, which leads to muscular atrophy. When strength is lost our gait and balance changes, putting us at increased risk for falls and subsequent injury. 1
Muscle loss is typically treated by addressing its causes with hormonal supplements, improved nutrition and resistance exercise.
Testosterone and insulin-like growth factor are both necessary for muscle growth. These hormones tend to decline with age. 2,3 Sometimes, in cases of severe muscle loss, hormone replacement is necessary.
Older muscles are less sensitive to small doses of amino acids, and struggle to build protein from these sources.4 A decreasing appetite can compound this effect, resulting in very little protein available for maintenance, much less muscle growth.
Contrary to what some might think, seniors can still build muscle with strength training. 5 Primarily, muscle declines with age as a result of changes to lifestyle, not biology. Remaining physically active, and strength training in particular, protects against sarcopenia.6
Strength Training for Seniors #
Strength training is the best preventative, and corrective, for age-related muscle loss. No matter your age, building muscle requires resistance training, typically performed by lifting weights.
Lifting weights puts pressure on joints and increases risk of injury. Even for professional powerlifters, this risk increases significantly after the age of 40.7 In the general population, reduced balance and mobility, past joint injuries, arthritis and loss of bone density make lifting heavy with free weights contraindicated.
As a solution, lighter weight, less frequent workouts or the use of strength training machines is often recommended. But these so-called solutions are counterproductive. Building muscle with resistance training requires heavy lifting, and perhaps even more so in a senior population. 8
Training with variable resistance, and resistance bands in particular, is a better way.
The Best Strength Workout for Seniors #
There’s more than one way to build strength. While classic weight-lifting may come to mind first, research demonstrates there’s a better way: variable resistance.
Variable resistance has built-in protective qualities that make strength training for seniors less risky. By allowing seniors to safely lift heavy, variable resistance also addresses the hormonal environment that can prevent older adults from building muscle.
How Variable Resistance Works #
Traditional free weights, long the gold standard in muscle-building, make use of static resistance. This means the load you experience at the weakest part of your lift is the same as the load you’re up against when in your strongest, impact-ready posture.
With variable resistance, the load you press or pull against changes as you progress through the movement. For example, at the bottom of your squat where joints are most compromised, the load is the lightest. Then, as you stand and move through a stronger, more powerful position, the bands tighten, increasing their load.
This not only makes each lift safer, but more effective. With variable resistance, you can access far more strength than is possible with traditional weight lifting, since you’re no longer limited by the weight you can move when in your weakest posture.
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Variable Resistance for Seniors #
Picture variable resistance for seniors and you might visualize the thin rubber strips used by physical therapists or a flimsy, fabric-coated elastic cord attached to a handle. While these types of resistance bands can be effective for strengthening neuro-muscular control in a de-trained population, they won’t help anyone build muscle.
The X3 Bar System in particular offers seniors (and everyone) the challenge that’s necessary to initiate an anabolic (growth) response.
Why X3 Is The Best Workout for Seniors #
The X3 Bar System is accessible to all populations. Yes, you can order a latex band that offers over 600 pounds of resistance, but you certainly don’t need to start there. This zero-impact, joint-friendly system comes with Extra-Light, Light, Medium, and Heavy bands so you can begin no matter your current level of fitness.
What’s more, X3 specifically addresses the obstacles most seniors face, a changing hormonal environment, and joint pain from a lifetime of experiences.
How X3 Creates Perfect Hormonal Environment #
After approximately 40 years of age, serum levels of the hormones responsible for muscle growth begin to decline. Maintaining constant tension and recruiting more muscle fiber during lifts cues the body to open receptors for these hormones, thus stimulating muscle growth.
X3’s resistance bands offer a sufficiently challenging level of resistance, necessary for triggering the perfect hormonal environment, so you get the most out of each training session.9
Reduces Risk of Injury #
Because it’s easy on the joints, especially when joints are most compromised, X3 bar helps prevent injury. For those with osteoarthritis, strengthening muscles with X3 can even offer joints a protective effect. 10
What’s more, resistance band workouts with X3 require the recruitment of stabilizing muscles. This not only recruits more muscle fibers, making each lift more effective, but helps build the core, further preventing injury.
Strengthening stabilizing muscles helps seniors improve balance and reduces the risk of falls. Research indicates that working these stabilizing muscles may also play a role in maintaining cognition with age. 11
Saves Time and Money #
With X3, you have all the benefits of a full-body training program in your own home. There’s also no danger of dropping a weight, and no need for a spotter or personal trainer.
For those who are retired and on a fixed income, dropping the trainer and the gym membership frees up more funds for fun. X3 also saves time. An effective, full-body workout takes less than 20 minutes each day.
Because X3 Bar works just as hard as you do, there’s no need to modify the 12-week program offered free on the website. Begin with Week 1, Day 1, just as everyone else does.
It’s not a given that we’ll all lose muscle with age. By continuing to strength train and eat well, seniors can maintain or even build muscle.
While X3 Bar works well for everyone, it’s particularly suited for seniors. The X3 workout when performed correctly triggers the perfect hormonal environment for muscle growth and maintenance.
Pair X3 with a high protein diet and a steady intake of essential amino acids, and even older adults can experience a ‘youthful’ anabolic response.
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