Get Those Legs Pumping

Beginning lower body workouts for older adults

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Body weight squats are a compound exercise for the lower body.

Lower-body strength is particularly important for maintaining mobility and avoiding injury as we age. Austin Cantrell, general manager of Anytime Fitness in Central Point, always checks out new clients’ balance, range of motion, flexibility and control before pushing their effort level.

Here’s his ideal beginning workout for seniors:

  1. Body-weight squats using TRX straps.
  2. Step-ups on a 12” box, alternating left and right feet.
  3. Seated box squats from a 20” box (a bench or chair will also work well).
  4. Leg press, which is another form of squat using a machine.
  5. Stretching, with an emphasis on breathing.

Most of these movements can be done at home with little or no added weight. “If you’re mature, body weight squats may be all you need,” says Cantrell. “I might increase their reps or tempo to make it challenging without risking injury.”

Cantrell says doing this routine with light cardio work four times per week is ideal. “You don’t want to work a muscle group the exact same way more than once within a 48-hour period,” he says. “For cardio, I recommend seniors stick with walking and hiking. Stairclimbers give a great leg and cardio workout, and I’d also recommend moderate sprint training for those able to maintain good running form without risking injury.”

Originally published November 2018

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Body-weight squats using TRX straps

Leg Exercises 002

Austin Cantrell of Anytime Fitness demonstrates how to use the straps to get into a deep squat position. Photo by Dustin Peters.

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