Saturday, April 10, 2010

Old People Should Not Lift Weights

Without medical doctors, we would sure
be lost. They know all kinds of stuff
about organs and bones and brains--
all kinds of stuff.

But when I read about some doctor
suggesting seniors should lift weights,
I throw up a little in my mouth. They
don't call 'em DUMBELLS for nuthin'.

As humans, we want to walk upright.
But as we age, the so-called "stabilizing
muscles" have tensed and flexed so
much that they begin to merely lock up.
I'm talking about your hips and waist.

As the hips begin to lock in the adducted,
inward-rotated and hip-flexed position
(bent over and knock-kneed), the upper
and lower body will follow. Knees, feet
and ankles get stiff. Shoulders, elbows,
wrists and fingers get stiff.
(This is starting before you even turn 30...)

Without stretching, the joints break down.
They progressively stiffen out of alignment
because some ligaments lengthen abnormally
while others shorten. This wears the cartilage,
causing arthritis, pain and reduced mobilization.
(contrary to this diagram, tendons CAN
be lengthened)

By the time your 55, your tendons are short
and brittle. Lifting weights exacerbates the
problem, and can cause the muscle fibers
to tear out of their boney origins or insertions.

Resistance training is just plain dumb for
old people. This is why Tai Chi has become
so popular at assisted living facilities. Tai Chi
assists the elderly to mobilize their joints
without the risk of injury. Duh.


  1. high rep work helps joint and bone strength, does it not?

    1. Anon-- The high-rep work you mention here typically consists of utilizing the joints as hinges, meaning the articulation of a single joint is usually done in a single plane. This is not the best way to maintain and develop joints, as most are three-dimension capable. As with bone strength, it's probably better than nothing, but not the best way to go.