Senior athletes require a special approach, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t CrossFit. Joey Powell offers tips on how to help your senior athletes achieve health and fitness.
Working with seniors has taught me a lot, but most of all it’s taught me that we must embrace the lessons they can share first and then patiently return the favor.
After working with many “silvers,” I think it’s productive to view the senior athlete as you would a classic or antique car. The vehicle may have set speed records in its day, and it may indeed still be able to burn up the track, but that does not mean it should. A 1950s Corvette might hit 150 mph down I-17, but at the first time that driver pulls over he should be arrested, and perhaps beaten, for abuse of a classic. Classics are meant for cruising.
With that, it is important to note that “intensity,” as we commonly experience it with CrossFit, is not to be strived for when training silvers. Rather the trainer must be very thorough on the diagnostics before allowing anyone to put the “pedal to the metal.” If the traditional means of recognizing intensity (sweat, heavy breathing or writhing on the floor) do not appear, we should then not go hunting for them.
So let’s apply some of the same logic for the care and restoration of a classic car to training a “silver CrossFitter.” Just like finding a neglected classic car cached in a barn, working with a senior takes time, careful preparation and dedication. Put in the effort, and you’ll be rewarded with a classic that runs like new—and sometimes better.