Plyometric Training for Seniors

Although we are not expecting a senior citizen to be able to do box jumps using any adjustable plyometric box, there are ways to help seniors incorporate plyometric training into their routines. Plyometric training can help seniors avoid the negative consequences of falls and can help ensure that they have a relatively injury-free life for many years to come. Another name for plyometric training is reactive training because it helps to improve muscle reaction time. Muscle reaction time can be the difference between taking a dangerous fall down a flight of stairs and stopping yourself from falling to save you a world of trouble.

When it comes to plyometric training for seniors, it’s very important that the intensity is appropriate for their age. It’s also very important to start with the easiest moves first.

Here are  three plyometric exercises that will be appropriate for seniors:

 

#1: Assisted step up

Use the smallest possible step to start with. While holding onto a sturdy object, step up with one foot. Make sure that you are engaging your core, glutes and quads as you do the move. Then, step down and repeat the move. As you improve your balance and reaction time, you can slowly let go of the sturdy object that you are holding on to but stay near it until you are extremely confident that you can avoid a fall. You will also be able to gradually increase the speed with which you do this move as your coordination improves. Even 1 or 2 inch high step can be challenging to start with.

 

#2: Tri-planar jump

Put a piece of duct tape on the floor and stand facing the duct tape. With your feet shoulder width apart, get into a partial squat position, swing your arms and jump over the duct tape while keeping your feet pointed forward. Land lightly and in a controlled fashion on the other side of the tape. Try to hold the landing position in order to work on your balance after the jump.

 

#3: Lateral step-up

Again, make sure to start off by using only a 1 or 2 inch high step especially if you have not yet tried this move. Stand sideways to the step and place the foot nearest the step onto the platform. Straighten your leg that’s up on the platform by pushing your whole body up while engaging your glutes and quads. Then, return to your starting position and do it over. Be sure to do the same number of repetitions on both legs. Also, be sure not to put your knee in a compromising position while you step up and down by not letting your knee go too far over the toe when you put all your weight on it. It may be helpful to hold on to a sturdy object to start with in order to get yourself comfortable with the move. As you get stronger, you may increase the height of the step.

 

Plyometic training routine for seniors

An example of a plyometric workout could include: 8 assisted step ups, 4 tri-planar jumps followed by 6 lateral step-ups per leg. Then, after a 2 minute rest period, repeat the sequence 2 more times.

Over time, when done consistently and properly these exercises will get slightly easier to do and will help seniors move efficiently as they reach later stages of life.