Men over 50 deal with different struggles than when they were 20, which means training needs to adapt. If you’re looking for the best exercises for men over 50, compound multi-joint movements that work in every plane are the way to go—think squats, deadlifts, KB swings, and pushups.
6 Best Exercises for Men Over 50
It’s never too late to pick up a weight and whip yourself into shape. Whether you’re 50, 60, 70, or beyond, strength training is essential to healthy aging and a vital part of fighting hormone imbalances and sarcopenia. But finding a workout program that caters to your needs and health concerns can be tricky.
Don’t fall trapped in any old workout you find on the internet. If you want to build muscle, burn fat, and boost hormones in your 50s, we have the top 6 exercises to help you accomplish that. Ready to get ripped?
Let’s get it done.
Strength Training For Men Over 50
Strength training for men over 50 is essential to counter-balance muscle wastage, also known as sarcopenia. But before you pick up the heaviest set of dumbbells you can find in an attempt to max out your muscle growth, safety needs to be your priority, as well as recovery and consistency. As you start to climb up there in age, it becomes more difficult for your body to bounce back from injury, so in this case, slow and steady wins the race; muscle growth doesn’t happen overnight, so don’t rush the process—take care and practice proper form.
Isometric movements, unilateral work and slow tempos will also be your friend. We want to strengthen the entire body and limit muscle imbalances that set the stage for injury. And just three resistance training sessions a week, doing four to five sets of exercises will help you accomplish that.
But apart from building muscle, strength training also helps to:
- Improve testosterone levels
- Enhance bone mineral density
- Limit fat gain
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Increase metabolism
- Maintain mobility
What more could you want? While muscle growth and fat loss are big parts of strength training for men over 50, a slew of other benefits make it a must for anyone looking to maintain and/or improve their health and quality of life.
Beginning Weight Training Over 50
If you’ve never lifted a weight, hitting the gym can be intimidating—be it a machine, dumbbells, kettlebells, or even body weight. But don’t panic; you don’t need to adhere to the stereotypical weight-lifting protocols to get shredded. While the bro split does have its advantages, there are plenty of other ways you can melt fat away and pack on muscle mass—it’s all about moderation.
While total-body workouts have their place and are fantastic for burning calories, bodybuilding-style isolation exercises like bicep curls and shoulder presses are equally as essential to build into your routine. Because you can’t lift the same weight with isolation exercises as you can with larger compound movements, the recovery time needed is shorter, enabling you to train more often. And don’t get me wrong, you can still do progressive overload and fatigue your muscles with isolation exercises.
But here’s the thing. Once you hit 50, consider losing the barbells and focusing on dumbbells instead. As you age, your connective tissues lose elasticity, and lifting a barbell restricts your limbs from moving comfortably and can increase the risk of injury. And because your body doesn’t recover from injury as fast, injury can be disastrous for your training.
Additionally, here are some other reasons why dumbbells are some of the best exercises for men over 50:
- Increased stabilization and greater muscle activation
- Reduces strength imbalances
- More options to change intensity
- Greater range of motion
- Lower injury risk
- More freedom of movement
Gym Workouts for Men Over 50
Whether you’ve been in the gym all your life or this is your first time walking through the doors, your body changes as you enter your 40s and 50s, and muscle mass isn’t your only concern—cardiovascular health becomes more important than ever. Aerobic fitness relaxes blood vessels over time and keeps your heart running well and your blood pressure low. No matter what else you do, regular cardio is crucial, so ensure you’re incorporating a few sessions of cardio per week.
On top of that, you also want to focus on combination bodyweight movements that engage multiple joints at once. These movements are the ones that will burn maximum calories and build strength. They’re also movements that work in all three planes of motion to improve muscle coordination to produce and control force.
There are a few other reasons why you should incorporate compound movements into your training program:
- Burn more calories
- Improve intermuscular coordination
- Enhance cardiovascular fitness
- Improve dynamic flexibility
- Improve movement efficiency
6 Best Exercises for Men Over 50
The squat may be a leg-focused movement that requires your major lower-body muscles to work in sync but also requires core and upper-body muscles to maintain stabilization through the movement.
Muscles worked: Quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, glutes
If you want to build power, size, and strength in your legs, lunges are a fantastic unilateral exercise. They’re great for improving balance and coordination, reducing muscle imbalances, increasing glute activation, and minimizing injury risk.
Muscles worked: Abdominals, glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves
Push-ups are a staple upper body exercise that builds strength in the chest, core, and triceps. They can also help improve posture, build cardiovascular health, and are great for any fitness level.
Muscles worked: Chest, triceps, shoulders, core
For any man looking to grow their legs and gain lower body strength, deadlifts are non-negotiable. They’re one of the best exercises for men over 50 that targets virtually the entire body. The deadlift is the king of all exercises, and it’s one you’ll want to master for strength, muscle mass, hormones, and overall athleticism.
Muscles worked: Gluteus maximus, hamstrings, quadriceps, deltoids, calves, lats—muscles of the posterior chain
On top of the deadlift, kettlebell swings are some of the best explosive exercises for strengthening the entire body. Mastering the KB swings brings many benefits for strength, explosiveness, muscular endurance, hormone levels, spinal stability, and more in minimal time. Plus, they’re great for a low-impact workout that minimizes the risk of injury.
Muscles worked: Glutes, hamstrings, hips, core, back, shoulders, forearms, lats
If you want a rock-solid chest and insane upper body strength, the chest press is a classic. It’s a great exercise to augment overall upper body strength in a way that’s still relevant to performance regardless of your fitness goals, and there are several variations that can improve various aspects of your performance.
Muscles worked: Pectorals, triceps, deltoids
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