Training advice for older male

Huw Lewis

First Post
I am trying to write a simple program for a member of my family (69yr male with osteoarthritic knees) who has a moderate level of activity ( 3 x 15 mile bike rides), walking to shops everyday (25 mins) etc. He has no history of strength or hypertrophy training and I think has an inactive posterior chain (lots of sitting).

The goal is to make him as resilient as possible by focusing on his strength (posterior chain and core), balance and posture.

We have started on kettlebell swings 10 sets EMOMish - ( which he feels isn't making him stronger) and military press but I am now wondering whether we should start purely with strength (ie bodyweight box squats 5 x5 to save the knees) and then after a 6-8 week strength cycle progress to swings

Any advice would be much appreciated


Equipment- kettlebells 8-24kg, resistance bands

Jim Lauerman

Level 6 Valued Member
I am 71, overweight and have creaky knees. I agree with Nate that starting with the box squats is a good idea. I would encourage you to consider S&S at some point with the getups only to the lunge position. They have helped my shoulders and core tremendously. Getting up and down to walk between sets of TGU’s seems to be enough for me.

Also, on days when my knees are really cranky I will substitute marching in place with 1# heavyhands for the goblet squats in the warmup. I cover the need for prying my pelvis apart with OS commando rocks every day.

Otherwise, S&S by the book, but with 4Kg jumps in weight three days a week with three week steps instead of two.


Don Fairbanks

Certified Instructor
Box squats are a great idea and I think you could keep in the swings or back to wall KB DL's, sets of 5, plenty of rest. MP also a great idea.

You could put the KB's on blocks or similar if flexibility is an issue with the DL's.

Steve A

Level 6 Valued Member
The Barbell Prescription by Baker and Sullivan has programming for older folks with a range of limitations. Baker and Sullivan both work with a lot of such clientele.


Level 2 Valued Member
At the risk of stating the obvious, I would highly recommend warming up thoroughly and do not be in a hurry to progress in intensity over time.

My observation, at a similar age, is that it takes a longer time to heal from overdoing it then progressing patiently.

Also, I would suggest at least keeping some relatively light swings as a part of the warm up. Maybe a few sets while focusing on technique.
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