Over 50 Muscle Building: 3 Invaluable Ideas For Your Safety & Success!
As you get older, you may start to believe that you are 'past your prime' as far as muscle building is concerned. The natural anabolic hormones in the body are starting to slow down and this is just going to make it harder and harder to gain the lean mass you're looking for.
In some cases, individuals who are over 50 may abandon the thought process of getting started on a muscle-building program entirely, deciding instead to focus their efforts on something else in life where they think they will stand a better chance for success.
This is unfortunate because, despite the fact that your body is growing older, there are still plenty of things that you can do to take your physique to the next level.
Adding lean muscle mass to your frame at this point in your life could be even more beneficial than someone who is in their early 20s or 30s because aesthetics aside, that muscle is going to help you maintain an active lifestyle into the latter years.
Individuals over 50 do normally see a dramatic drop in lean muscle mass unless strength training workouts are being performed, so it's vital that even if you have never weightlifted before, you now take the time to start doing so.
Mind Your Volume
When you're young, your body is able to recover quickly, therefore it can handle not only longer gym sessions, but you can perform these sessions more frequently as well. Back when you were 30, you may have found that you could go into the gym for a hard workout one day and be right back in there the next to target another group of body parts.
Due to this fact, younger individuals are better capable of handling workouts where the body is split into groups and require multiple gym sessions each week, often performed consecutively.
Once you start getting older however, you're going to find that you can't recover as quickly and if you attempt one workout the day after another was performed, performance may really suffer.
Related Video Senior Workout
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They had 21 subjects with a mean age of 80 years perform 11 weeks of lower body exercises. Eleven of these subjects performed negative work by exercising on a high-force eccentric ergometer. This type of exercise still requires the muscles to contract but demands very little energy from the subject. Therefore, this type of exercise is something that most frail elderly who are at a high risk of falls can tolerate.
The researchers also had another group of 10 subjects attempt to perform (to the best of their abilities) traditional weight training for the lower body muscle groups. They performed 10-15 repetitions that were considered 'easy' as well as another 6-10 repetitions that were considered by the subjects to be 'difficult.'
After the eleven week study was completed, the data demonstrated that negative work was just as effective for increasing muscle fiber cross-sectional area, improvements in strength, balance, stair decent, as well as a decreased risk of fall.
Additionally, since this negative work was regarded by the subjects to be effortless, it may prove to be a good exercise solution for those who are extremely intolerant to exercise.
So don't be so quick to think that you cannot increase your muscular strength, power, and degree of muscularity. With some smart training adjustments and a good attitude, you can really make a difference in how you look and feel.
Here's a workout to provide an example of what your program may look like. Perform this 2-3 times a week with one day off between training sessions.
- Leg Press
3 sets of 6-8 reps
- Barbell Bench Press - Medium Grip
3 sets of 6-8 reps
- Seated Cable Rows
3 sets of 6-8 reps
- Lying Leg Curls
2 sets of 8-10 reps
- Leg Extensions
2 sets of 8-10 reps
- Dumbbell Shoulder Press
2 sets of 8-10 reps
- Barbell Curl
2 sets of 10-12 reps
- Triceps Pushdown
2 sets of 10-12 reps
- Exercise Ball Crunch
2 sets of 12-15 reps
- Duret, Camille Ma. Et al. (1999). Once-Weekly Resistance Exercise Improves Muscle Strength and Neuromuscular Performance in Older Adults. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 47(10:1208-1214).
- Agrawal, S.K. et al. (2003). Effect of Strength and power Training on Physical Function in Community-Dwelling Older Adults. The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 58:M171-M175.
- Ewy, G.A. et al. (2003). The Positive Effect of Negative Work: Increased Muscle Strength and Decreased Fall Risk in a Frail Elderly Population. The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences. 58:M419-M424.
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Getting back into it for awhile after knee and shoulder surgery. Had to build back up as I had lost ALL my strength. Taking it slowly but I can feel the joints getting stronger quickly.
I'm almost 53 and have been able to hit the gym 5 days a week for several months now. It feels great to start building muscle at this older age. With all the fatties my age walking around I'm starting to turn heads:-) I have a ton of energy. Diet is crucial with working out! Eat whole non processed foods. Less meat more veggies. Cut out the dairy and breads if you want to get serious about being lean and showing those muscles...
Iam 50, recently I hurt my back and had to take off a couple months. I have made a complete recovery, but I have picked up a lot of weight in my mid section and my motivation is low. However, after reading this article I am once again inspired and motivated. Stay tuned!!!!!!!
I'm having to make a lot of adjustments as I get near 60yo.
I take a lot more time between sets. Also carefully about the knees. (the doc says may be arthitis). Also care with suplements, which may react with other medications.
I feel I sound old when I chat about the challenges of being a senior bodybuilder, but it is best to recognise the challenges, make adjustment, and keep on lifting.
Hey Phillyrex, sounds like you have trained with a lot of pain. I am 58 years of age and have been training since the age of 23. I'm nervous and tired of starting and stopping because of the pain. I have read that some people that train. Just went through a bout with Prostate cancer. If you don't mind sharing, please tell me how you manage your routine. I used to lift two, maybe three days, then take a day off. Any help you give will be taken seriously. Thanks.
ive just turned 52, although recovery time is longer still hit the gym 5 days a week, doing the kris Gethin 12 week plan for the 3rd time, just mixing it up a bit and not going heavy. loving it
I'm 50...working out 4 sessions per week, working seriously each muscle once a week and recovering well so far.
Monday Delts and Quads
Twesday Chest Biceps Abs
Thursday Hamstrings Calves Triceps
Friday Back Abs
Is it alright to do cardio (boxing) between the workouts. Say, monday wednesday friday weights...tuesday thursday and Maybe saturday box...sunday off. Varied intensity heavy bag, shadow box maybe mits etc? Any positive feedback would help
After a long lay off for an accident in 2004, I got back into lifting in Feb this year. I turned 50 in Dec '13 and just made up my mind that I really needed to do something. In the near 10 years since going anywhere near a gym, I went from 210 lbs playing softball 6 nights a week and working out to a high of 256 lbs and doing zero exercise with 2 herniated disks and 2 bulging disks in my neck. My mid section ended up bulging the most...lol
I found out real quick that recovery was a hell of allot slower than before and being sore lasted allot longer too. I'm lifting for strength and trying to eat allot better than before and have managed to lose 17 lbs so far but have definitely put on some muscle. I'm looking to get down to 200 lbs and see what happens from there. Slow process but it's a marathon and not a sprint right?
I started on my fitness journey when I was 49 years of age, started with high intensity walking and jogging, and floor exercises, than a year later I began lifting weights, since then I feel great and my muscle leanness has continue to be of great benefit to my fit body, which I am very grateful for. I love to lift weights, my do fight at times with being more tired at times but I continue to push myself even more 6 days a week, so I encourage anyone whose over the age of 50, don't fear you can do it. I am now 55 and still motivated and I continue to do a daily workout routine matter what. I love it!
After cancer at 55. I needed to build muscle / strength instead of fat. I am just coming up on my I year anniversary of training. This article is so true. I feel great although my wife says I look great. I still feel their is room for improvement.
No question you can build muscle after 50. The recovery issue is very valid. I tried to add 10K running training to my workout this summer and couldn't do both (add running to my existing lifting workout). I had to cut back on lifting to get the running in. Otherwise, my *** was dragging all the time.
I have worked out off and on for many years. I started being more consistent last year (pic is when I started) but at 58, I feel stronger than ever. My appearance has made very little improvement but at least its an improvement. I plan to increase the cardio this year and hope to transform. Then will I post an updated pic.
51 here. Started working out when I was 47, when I was an out-of-shape mess. lost 45 lbs, but didn't gain much in muscle mass.
I've been focusing on muscle building now, and finding it much harder than when in my 20's, but it's coming along. It just takes more work at our age. I've found that good nutrition, protein supplements and using a test booster help a little. The test booster helps in recovery, and make you sleep much better, but it's no miracle pill by any stretch.