Strong in 15 is a strength training studio designed to improve healing and performance. We help people get STRONGER training 15 minutes a week.

745 W San Antonio Ave M: 7:30am-4pm, W: 8:30am-4pm, Th: 8:30a-3pm, F: 7:30am-2pm, Sa: 6:30am-9am (210) 842-3656 info@strongin15.com

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HIT vs HIIT: Which Exercise is Better for Seniors?

High Intensity Training (HIT), what we offer at Strong in 15, is often confused with High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), which is a training program that involves sprinting, jumping, and other high impact exercises. Which exercise is better for seniors?

Exercise and Resistance Training

In order to determine which is better, the first objective is to define exercise. According to Steve Ritz, previous Strength and Conditioning Coach with the Minnesota Vikings and Cleveland Indians,

Exercise is defined by its results, as it MUST do ALL of the following:
  • Improve Muscle Mass
  • Increase Muscle Strength
  • Increase Bone Density
  • Improve Cardiovascular Health
  • Improve Flexibility
  • Improve Body Composition (Lean to Fat Ratio)

While these are all great health benefits and ideal exercise objectives for anyone at any age, seniors should focus primarily on Resistance Training.

High Intensity Training

The Strong in 15 workout includes high intensity training. All of these exercise benefits can be accomplished safely, quickly, and effectively through high-intensity workout programs designed specifically for aging adults.

 

High Intensity Training is Safe

The workouts are safe because the movements will feel extremely slow relative to traditional training with dumbbells and barbells. Although the movements may take as little as 4 seconds in one direction, that will feel like an eternity relative to the typical weight-lifting experience.

High Intensity Training is Efficient

High Intensity Training is efficient because a really long full-body workout session will take as long as about 20 minutes. The typical exercise durations last between 45 seconds and three minutes maximum. A large majority of the major muscle fibers can be stimulated using 6 movements. Experts like Drew Baye say there is 70% benefit training 1 time a week, 98% benefit training 2 times a week, and 100% benefit training 3 times a week. We generally recommend 3 times a week because the typical client has more than muscular weakness, for example things like pain, excess fat, and lack of flexibility.

High Intensity Training is Effective

High Intensity Training is very effective based on the accomplishment of attributes desired by trainees. I’ve personally heard the following from clients:

“I can go in the backyard and water the yard with a garden hose and I don’t have to fearfully inform my husband. I’m no longer afraid of falling.”

“I can put my pants on without holding onto the wall.”

“I can get out of the bathtub without having to use the wall for support.”

“I no longer play golf with the rear of my back hurting.”

“When the restrictions forced me to no longer go to my workouts; my knee, shoulder, and wrist pain returned.”

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

HIIT is resistance training done very slowly – approximately 10 seconds in one direction and 10 seconds in the opposite direction. Concentric and Eccentric are the descriptions of these movements…for those looking to know technically scientific terms. The Concentric Movement will exhaust the muscle first, and then assistance will be needed to continue the Eccentric Movement. After several reps, the muscles making the Eccentric Movement will also become exhausted. That state of exhaustion should occur in the range of 45 seconds to 3 minutes. If the movements can’t be reached in 45 seconds, the weight is too heavy. If the movement is still progressing beyond 3 minutes, the weight is too light. HIIT is a training program that involves sprinting, jumping, and other high impact exercises that, unfortunately, carry a much greater risk for injury among seniors.

 

Which exercise is better for seniors?

Now let’s get back to the question at hand, “which exercise is better for seniors?” The Strong in 15 philosophy stems, in part, from the book, Body by Science, by Doug McGuff, MD. In his book, McGuff explains that not only can High Intensity Training for older adults be extremely effective, it can also be done safely, with minimal risk of injury, from the comfort of home in as little time as 12 minutes per week. Even for me, that was an unbelievable concept. With High Intensity Training, seniors typically see the most health benefits and greatest strength improvements over any other age bracket, with women improving faster than men because men are more likely to have had resistance training or weightlifting as part of their exercise history.

To learn more about Dr. Doug McGuff and his High Intensity Training programs, visit www.drmcguff.com.