Strength Training Over 50 with Bands
For many individuals, strength training stops during their 40’s for various reasons but one of the biggest reasons is that their body becomes injured or joint pain becomes more frequent. This limits their ability to do traditional strength training with weights.
Three Strength Training Facts
This does not have to be the case if individuals understand these 3 facts when it comes to strength training:
1. Muscles are dumb and do not know what type of resistance they are working against.
Muscles adapt to whatever resistance is being applied to them. As a result, they do not need to lift a weight to get stronger. Band resistance will provide the necessary resistance to challenge the muscles to adapt. However, because resistance bands are an ascending resistance, it will create less joint compression which will, in turn, create less post joint pain.
2. To avoid joint pain and injury, change is good.
Lifting the same type of resistance and following the same movement patterns will ultimately cause joint surfaces to become worn out. Over years of free weight training, this is what occurs and is the #1 reason why people must stop lifting weights over time.
Resistance bands allow someone to train using unlimited patterns of movement which eliminates concerns for joint wear and tear. The key is to realize muscles are 3 dimensional and will get stronger even though the exact pattern is not always being used.
3. What’s on the bar is not the only measure of results.
Strength training over 50 and getting results cannot be based solely on what weight is on the bar but rather the effort that is occurring while strength training, along with the ability to perform the movement with good quality. Individuals that incorporate this mind set will quickly adapt to strength training with bands where knowing the exact resistance is not necessary.
Muscle strength will decrease as the body ages.
As the body ages, it is well documented that muscle strength will decrease. Knowing this is going to occur is even more reason why we need to continue to strength train as we get older. However, for those that only consider strength training with weights as a viable option, it may no longer be possible.
As a 50 plus fitness enthusiast who enjoys staying strong, strength training over 50 with bands has allowed me to keep my strength at a high level relative to my age and still be able to periodically lift weights when I wish to.
Benefits of Strength Training with Bands As You Age
- Bands allow for quick modification of resistance and movement on the fly. Therefore, if individuals are basing their workout on effort, bands make it very easy to get in a great strength training workout.
- Portability and the ability to strength train anywhere allows individuals to change things up which, in turn, allows muscles to experience different types of exercise combinations. This eliminates the same patterns constantly being trained that can lead to joint wear and tear.
- Bands create an ascending resistance that decreases joint compression. It also challenges muscles to have to stabilize when arms and legs are positioned further away from the body. This distal stabilization component of function is lost as the body ages and is the #1 reason behind injuries.
- Strength training over 50 should focus on staying at a high level of function which means maintaining the ability to run, hop and move laterally while being able to push, pull and press in multiple directions while standing. Resistance bands allow individuals to do these exact movements whereas free weights do not have that capability.
Should I strength train with bands only?? Absolutely not.
Free weight strength training and body weight strength training provide significant benefits with helping to deal with the effects of gravity which is not going to go away.
Discouraging strength training with weights was not the point or intent behind this blog post.
Instead, the point was that if strength training over 50 is very important to functioning at a high level and if it is not part of a training program because lifting weights is no longer an option, resistance band training is another option to consider.