Special #1109

Teaching Older Females

10 min - Special


This week's episode is for Pilates instructors and gives some tips for teaching older female clients. All of the exercises suggested here can of course also be done by older women following Amy's advice. Learn how to expand the ribcage, relax the back, and much more.
What You'll Need: No props needed

About This Video

(Pace N/A)
May 22, 2013
(Log In to track)


Read Full Transcript

Hi everyone. This episode is for PyLadies teachers who may be working with older female clients in your studio. You might be wondering what exercise choices to make. So I've chosen a few for you to get started with. Okay. So in working with older female clients and things to maybe consider and think about, kind of a continual reminder for them, a breathing we need to distress some of these women, they might be uh, feeling stressed in life and with just an environmental issues and things.

Axial elongation, so meaning from the tailbone to the top of the head, this is great for posture, goes back to breathing because it opens up the lung and upper rib cage cavity. We want mobility of the spine and through the hips and the lower back as aging starts to set in, these are areas that do start to get and feel a little stiff. We want to energize these women and empower them to keep working out and feeling good and competent. So one of the first exercise is that I'd like you to try and give them, give them is just a simple breathing exercise. So placing the hands on the side of the rib cage up high.

This is where the lungs are. They're not down here and you're just going to do a light pressure of your hands. You can do this on your client or have them do this for themselves and just have them sit comfortably. I'm on the floor, but you can sit in a chair or on the table somewhere and you're just gonna focus the breathing with the axial elongation of their spine. So nice breath in through their nose. And just a nice, simple exhale. So again, you're encouraging breath. You're encouraging this to, uh, calm them down to focus their mind, get them in touch with the center of their own body. Hmm. I don't know, three to five repetitions to get them started.

Let them feel the expansion of their ribs. Let them empower that for themselves. So the next exercise we're going to work on is the pelvic curl. And I'm lying down on the floor for this one. Okay. And uh, you will want to, depending, they may want a little cushion for the back of their neck or not depending on their alignment and that you can study a little bit more in detail. I'm going to show it without the pillow first or without the towel.

And as the person starts to get a little older and go through life, they their back start to stiffen and get a little little less mobile. So pelvic curl, again, you're focusing the articulation of the spine and you're giving that sense of the rolling up and down of the back. And you can also introduce some posture correction here and have them open up through the collarbone, keep their arms, press down and again, you're thinking and telling them mobilize. You want to energize and articulate as many sections of your spine as you can. They don't have to come up too high to get the benefit out of this.

They might only be able to get just in through their lower back and that might feel really good for them just to start with this low off the floor movement. As they get stronger, you can go higher. You also want to tell them this is for toning because the older gal still want to tone their to strengthen in through their back muscles and in some way this is a little bit of a balance exercise as well. So again, pelvic curl for mobilizing primarily sidelining. This one you will want to use a little pillow or a towel. I've got a towel here and I'm going to start with my arm long and the towel right between my head and my arm.

Older gals need balance work and although I'm down on the ground, this is a form of balance and you'll see why if you start with their legs out straight and just have them locate the side of their pelvis so that they're really on the whole sideline of their body. Very often they'll interpret it and there'll be back here somewhere that's not really on their side. So when they are on their side, there's a slight feeling of rolling forward and that's the right place to be and they are going to focus on balancing in that position. When they're in the right place, they'll probably start to feel the workout across their abdominal wall and into their back muscles. Okay, so they're at, again, we're get that center work, the elongation through the top and the bottom of the body and balance and concentrate. So exercise choices that you can do from here. Just simple little lift of a leg and lower. So bringing in the concept of working their hip joints and strengthening the muscles around the side of their hip and their low back.

I'm just showing a couple exercises or choices. With each one you can do two legs at the same time. So this requires a lot more strength, a lot more balance and control and lower. They have to concentrate on staying long in balance. So putting their brain to work with these exercises and down and they'll build, feel the tone and the aesthetic workout, the concept of their, their exercise as well.

So I'm going to bend the knees and show a really nice and for hips again is opening, closing. You see these in a lot of traditional pilates classes. Why these? This is for external rotators. As we age we start to tune in and go into internal and gravity's forcing us down and in, so this is working, the opposition of that pressing the hip out, the femur out. You can always lift holding there and add little circles. This is great again to feel the work in the thighs and the glutes and again it's the hip joint. Really strengthen that joint.

This is so important for all women, but especially as we start to age and I'm making sure to go both directions with the hip circle. Huge concept for me is hip extension. So what I'm going to do is take that working leg and reach it behind and that's, I tell the gallons. This is like walking, taking a really long walk and their stride and then taking the arm into an oppositional reach. They love the stretch. It's a great place to focus on some breathing. Again, that feeling of length and strength, but then you can start adding little movements through the leg, having them concentrate on their center, pulling their navel to spine. All of our [inaudible] concepts. Here we go. And you can lift and do pulses. You can do circles, you can get creative with this.

But the concept is the hip extension to open up this line in this joint and then bringing it back in. Don't forget to do both sides. I'm not going to show that right now. So one other con, a big one is back a strength and posture and specifically right around the shoulder blades. So this I think is best to have a little towel or pillow. So I'm going to put it that here. I'm going face down so I won't look at you for this one and I've just got my forehead on it. You can have their hands either right by their shoulders or if their shoulders feel okay to have their arms long.

I'm actually gonna show you here with the hands right out the side of my eyes. So the scapular retraction, why this is so important, gravity is forcing shoulders forward. Women are getting slumped shoulders this way right away as I'm flat, I want to just move those shoulders back and down the back so there is some squeeze that's happening around. Just say the bra line. That's an exercise in of itself and you can release, get them started with the scapular retraction and then start to add an additional float of the head. There's the axial elongation again out the head and out the tail and bringing that down in between each one.

Go ahead and let them relax so they feel the contrast of shoulders back and down, the float for a little extra work and work out really and strengthening for the upper back, how them lift their arms and then you could lower the whole concept down. We'll do just one more scapular retraction, little head float and arms. I'm just going to hold and you can have them hold. Ask them to visualize the posture that they might be interested in having a really nice long neck and lowering down a great exercise to strengthen primarily the upper back. If they're ready some day they might be able to move more into a traditional Swann and coming down.

You'll know when they're ready to work on that exercise. This is another one for balance. So I'm coming on to all fours, my hands and my knees and align up for these gals, everybody, his shoulders, right over the wrists. You'll see often that they'll get started possibly in a form like this. Just see if he can go back to axial elongation, sometimes even balancing a stick on the back of their body, across their head and uh, back to their tailbone. And I'm going to go with a few different things in this position.

So more mobility, which would be the cow and the cat. So here's the cat. You're again emphasizing on moving the spine, breathing, feeling the muscles tone and pull in. Remember, a lot of these older gals haven't moved much if they're fit, they've moved a lot, but sometimes you'll get a very deconditioned body and this is a brand new experience for them. You want them to feel successful there might get tired on their wrist, so give them a little break. Now and again and sit back, tell them this is great for bone loading because it is, it's a weight bearing exercise on their arm and their risks. You might want to just incorporate one leg extension, the hip extension. You can add leg lifts, you can do both sides.

Of course, if they're really showing signs of strength and control and balance, you can have them stand with both feet. I would suggest one at first I'm important. One is ankle flexibility. So you want to rock on the ankles a bit. This is the ankle pumping continues to load their wrists and you're getting that nice sense of length in through the spine. And don't forget to do both sides. All right, so what a couple other things that are very important for your older female client is their sense of balance and being steady on their feet. Um, flexibility of their ankles is really important as well.

So I'm standing with my feet just to part parallel. I'm using a dowel or a Gondola Pole. You can use a broomstick or just any old stick is fine. They may not need this, but if their balance is really shady, um, and they not confident, let them hold onto this or stand against a wall. So all you're simply doing is the heel lifts up and down, just cha transferring weight to the front of the foot. So this works our balance or coordination, a little bit focused, reintroduce and uh, bring them back to axial elongation for added posture emphasis.

You can do one foot, so heel down and then the opposite heel down. You're going to work on their alignment. So from their hip and their knee and their ankle, making sure they're not cheating their alignment. Rawling in a rolling out. So the hip hinge concept is incredibly important for older female clients. Um, I'll show you here. So I'm just going to point my knees straight ahead.

I'm hindering at my hip joint, bending the knees slightly. So this, what this is doing is loading the back muscles posturally here the again, the strength and through the legs and the hips. And you could have them hold or you can have them move through it, which would be something like this. A bend, a hinge, and unhinge and straightening doesn't have to be fancy, but this'll be a lot of work for them. You'll, you'll see some interesting deviations in their pelvis. They may hinge and like that. So again, if you think about posture with these clients, you want to emphasize that length from head to tail. You can have impulse, you'll get creative, but the concept is the hip hinge. And then lastly, have them stand on one leg just standing as hard a, you want them to feel successful and coordinated and balanced. That's what they're looking for.

Make sure you do both sides and you can add some variations, especially if they're holding onto a stick or a wall. Lifting a heel often off the ground, you can have them close their eyes. You can have them turn their heads and look around for vestibular training. You can find more resources about these classes on Valadez anytime that these are just a few them samples for your senior client.


This video has very good exercise advice for older adults! It's a great balance of success and challenge that will keep them looking forward to their next session! Thanks, Amy!
Thank you Playforever! I appreciate and value your comments and respect that you feel these exercises will keep challenging and helping older clients gain success! I believe we all want to feel successful in our endeavors!
This video was wonderful for teaching older female clients. It was packed with progressions and a variety of ADL exercises.. Thanks, Amy
Hi Lisa....Thank you for commenting. These short podcasts are designed to get the creative ball rolling and give some examples on specific themes. I appreciate you taking the time to comment!
1 person likes this.
This video is so perfect for me, at this time in my life! I will use this again and again! You really hit the nail on the head with every comment about balance, and what happens to those of us who have been inactive and what and how we can get moving in the right direction! Thank you so much! This video gives me hope for regaining mobility, balance, and better posture!
1 person likes this.
Hi Lisa......this warms my heart! I can't tell you how much I appreciate your honest feedback and comments on this segment/class. I have been around older folks all my life (my folks had me when they were 39 years old) --and having older relatives etc. Balance is key.....mobility is key.....strength is key: the functional strength we need for our later in life daily living tasks etc. Anyway, this topic is very near and dear to my heart...so glad it touched you too.
1 person likes this.
Amy, your reply blessed me as much as the video class! Thank you for taking the time to truly make a difference in my life both physically and emotionally. God bless you for being such a blessing to others!
Lisa......gratitude to you.......thank you!

You need to be a subscriber to post a comment.

Please Log In or Create an Account to start your free trial.

Footer Pilates Anytime Logo

Move With Us

Experience Pilates. Experience life.

Let's Begin