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Exercise For Men Over 50: Don’t Let Age Slow You Down!

By: Holly Smith, D.O. - Osteopathic Medicine, B.S. - Dietetics, NASM-PES Certified Trainer,

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

exercises for men over 50

Gaining weight and losing strength is an inevitable part of aging, right? Wrong! Especially if you have the right exercises for men over 50!

While there are certain biological and physiological things that change with age, there are ways that you can maintain muscle mass and stay in shape.

It is true that as men age, testosterone levels fall and lean body mass decreases. This is referred to as sarcopenia.

However, studies have shown that men that continue to perform resistance exercises can maintain muscle mass and avoid this decline.

In other words, strength workouts become more important as men age.

And even if you have never worked out a day in your life, with the right exercises for men over 50, you're never too old to reach your fitness goals!

While building lean muscle and maintaining strength is important, boosting your cardiovascular health is just as crucial for men over 50.

Diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension increase with age, but cardio and resistance exercises can prevent or lessen the impact of these issues.

Choosing full-body sessions over isolating specific muscle groups allows you to get the most out of your workouts without overtraining.

This makes circuit workouts and interval training essential to your routine.

Some moves may need to be modified somewhat to reduce injury risk, and you should also be sure you are prioritizing form over lifting heavy weights.

Getting older is inevitable, but being out of shape is not.

Commit to the exercises for men over 50 below and lead a high quality of life for years to come!

Losing Weight After 50: A Real Plan For Real Guys

Exercises For Men Over 50

Whether your goal is weight loss, muscle gain, or a combination of the two, all men over 50 should be engaging in strength and aerobic fitness training.

These metabolic-resistant type workouts improve health and burn calories to help you shed weight.

Plus, strength training will increase lean body mass and boost your metabolism.

For the highest rate of success, you should aim for formal workouts at least three times a week.

This consistent schedule will help improve aerobic endurance and build lean body mass.

While you can workout more, you also want to avoid overtraining, which is important for men over 50.

That means having adequate rest between each session to avoid injury and rebuild muscle in between workouts.

You can split up the days to however your schedule allows, but try to give yourself 48 hours between more intense workout days.

So you could do something like Monday-Wednesday-Friday; Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday; or even Tuesday-Friday-Sunday.

Whatever works for you!

best exercise for men 40+

What Are The 5 Best Muscle Building Exercises For Men 40+?

best exercise for men 40+
The secret to building age-defying muscle in your in 40s, 50s, & 60s is to modify the best muscle building exercises (bench, squats, rows) to make them safe on your joints…

Day One: Strength Training

One day a week should focus on resistance training, with an emphasis on the form and quality of the exercises.

Make sure to always warm-up prior to each and every workout to decrease the risk of injury, and to make the most out of every session.

The warm-up should include some light cardio along with dynamic stretching.

Dynamic stretching during a warm-up has been shown to increase power output when compared to static stretching and will make your workouts more effective.

Warm-Up

Start with 5-10 minutes of light cardio.

This can be jogging, rowing, biking, jump rope, or any activity that starts to raise your heart rate.

Follow this with some dynamic stretching before starting the main workout.

Stretches

Inchworm

  • Start on your hands and feet with your hips in the air in an inverted V position.
  • Then walk your feet as far forward as possible while keeping your legs straight.
  • Then, walk your hands out, extending your body into a plank position.
  • Then raise your hips up again into an inverted V and repeat 5 times.

Leg Swings

  • Hold on to a wall or chair.
  • Swing one leg back and forth as if you’re kicking a soccer ball.
  • Do about 10 swings with each leg.

Back and Chest Rotations

  • Start down on all fours with your knees below your hips and wrists below your shoulders.
  • Place your left fingertips behind your left ear.
  • Rotate your upper body to the left, so that your left elbow points up to the ceiling.
  • Then twist your torso back to the starting position.
  • Continue for 8 reps on the left, then switch sides and repeat on the right.

Main Set

Bench Press

The bench press is one of the best upper body exercises to build strength.

You will work the muscles not only in the chest but also in the triceps and shoulders.

You can also do this exercise with dumbbells instead of a barbell.

  • Lie on a bench and grab a barbell with a medium-width grip.
  • Lower the bar to your mid-chest.
  • Pause briefly, then press back up until your arms are straight.
  • Repeat for 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

Bicep Curls

To build the muscles in the arms, bicep curls are an essential exercise to round out the upper body and increase functional strength.

  • Stand holding a dumbbell in each hand with your arms hanging by your sides.
  • Curl the weights up to shoulder level while contracting your biceps.
  • Complete 3 sets of 10-12 reps.

Bent Over Rows

This exercise will target the large back muscles which are essential for a strong upper body, and perform many everyday movements that require lifting or pulling.

  • Hold a barbell with your palms facing down and bend your knees slightly.
  • Hinge forward at the waist while keeping your back straight until it is almost parallel to the floor.
  • The barbell should hang directly in front of you.
  • Lift the barbell up towards your torso.
  • Keep the elbows close to the body.
  • At the top, squeeze the back muscles and hold for a brief pause.
  • Then lower back down.
  • Aim for 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

If you feel any pull in the low back, use a lower weight or skip this exercise and do pull-ups instead.

While you want to push yourself to gain fitness, this does not mean pushing yourself into an injury.

Squats

Squats are an excellent functional exercise that builds leg and core strength.

The squat movement is used in many daily activities as well, making it an essential exercise to include in any workout program.

  • Stand up straight while holding a dumbbell in each hand with your legs about hip-width apart and your toes pointed slightly outward.
  • Bend the knees and continue down until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  • Then push your heels into the ground and stand back up.
  • Repeat for 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

This exercise can also be done with a barbell, but utilizing dumbbells will help decrease your risk of lower back injuries.

Also, when doing this exercise, make sure that your knees don’t track over your toes as this places stress on the knees and can lead to joint pain.

Overhead Shoulder Press

This shoulder exercise will round out the muscles in the arm and give you a strong upper body.

  • Stand upright and hold a dumbbell in each hand at the shoulders.
  • Push the weights above the head and pause at the top of the motion.
  • Return the dumbbells to the shoulders.
  • Repeat for 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

Cool Down

Cool down with some static stretches that focus on both the upper and lower body.

Glutes Stretch

  • Sit on the floor.
  • Bend your left leg while keeping your right foot flat on the floor.
  • Cross your left leg over your right thigh.
  • Hold for 15-20 seconds, then switch sides.
  • You can pull your legs in for a deeper stretch.

Arm/Shoulder Stretch

  • Stretch your right arm across your body while pulling into your body with your left arm.
  • Hold for 15-20 seconds, then switch sides and repeat.

Core Stretch

  • Lie on your stomach with your hands underneath your shoulders.
  • Push your upper body off the ground while keeping your hips on the ground.
  • Hold for 15-20 seconds.

See the program 38,000 guys over 40 are using to get results like these

Day Two: Interval Training Day

It’s good to incorporate some aerobic workouts for overall health and weight loss.

But this doesn’t have to mean hours of boring cardio on a treadmill.

High-intensity intervals are a great way to get a quick workout that will burn some serious calories.

These interval exercises are quicker-paced and with shorter rest. But, you will feel the burn!

By now, pretty much everyone has heard of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).

This is a form of exercise that has its origins in Tabata workouts.

Tabata workouts were first researched by Dr. Izumi Tabata of the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo.

His research compared athletes that performed moderate-intensity workouts to those that did high intensity, short interval workouts.

The study lasted six weeks total for both groups. To compare these two types of workouts, the moderate-intensity group worked out five days a week with each workout lasting one hour.

On the other hand, the high-intensity group worked out four days a week with each workout lasting only four minutes.

The four minutes was broken down into 20 second “intense” intervals, followed by 10 seconds of rest.

While the moderate-intensity group had increased their aerobic fitness, they showed little or no results for their anaerobic fitness.

However, the HIIT group showed an even greater increase in their aerobic system than the moderate-intensity group.

Plus they had increased their anaerobic system by 28 percent. This with a much lower time commitment!

There are numerous different ways to do HIIT workouts. Many of these include a lot of plyometric moves.

There is the misconception that just because you are getting older you need to abandon intense plyo type exercises, but in reality as long as you don’t suffer from joint pain or injuries you can still get tons of benefits from these workouts.

Plus, you can modify the moves to limit injury as well and make the exercises more low impact to avoid injury and joint pain.

Try adding this HIIT workout to your routine for some intense cardio that will get your heart rate up, but doesn’t require hours on a treadmill.

With these exercises, perform the movement again for 30 seconds, but decrease your rest time to 20 seconds before moving to the next move.

HIIT Workout

Alternating Jump Lunges

  • Start in a split stance position with your hands on your hips and your knees bent at a 90-degree angle with your right leg forward.
  • Lower your left knee toward the ground while bringing your right thigh parallel to the floor in a lunge position.
  • Push off the ground, jump and switch the position of your legs while in mid-air, landing into the lunge position with the left leg forward.
  • Repeat, switching legs on each jump.

Side to Side Push-Ups

  • Start in a push-up position.
  • Move to the right with your right arm and right leg while bending at the elbows to lower your chest to the ground in a push up.
  • Extend your arms to return to the top.
  • Then repeat to the left side.
  • Continue alternating sides.

Lateral Skaters

  • Start with your legs slightly wider than shoulder-distance apart and arms at the sides.
  • Bring your left leg behind at a slight angle into a reverse lunge with the front right knee at a 90-degree angle.
  • Swing the arms in front of that bent knee and leap the back leg forward to switch sides in a skating motion.
  • Alternate your arms and legs as you switch sides like a speed skater.

Mountain Climbers

  • Start in a push-up position.
  • Bring your right knee forward under your chest, then return the leg back.
  • Switch legs, bringing the left knee forward.
  • Keep switching legs and begin to pick up the pace until it feels a little like running in place in a plank position.

After completing this circuit, rest for a full minute.

Then repeat two more times though.

Another great way to add an interval training day that doesn’t stress the joints too much is by using cardio equipment in the gym.

There are great ways to design interval workouts on the treadmill or stationary bike.

These exercises are also low impact so are perfect for guys over 50.

Treadmill Interval Workout

  • 5 minutes: Warm-up (walk or jog)
  • 1 minute: Set the treadmill speed to 3 – 3.5 mph and the incline to a 1 percent grade
  • 1 minute: Keep the same speed, but increase the incline to a 2 percent grade
  • 1 minute: Keep the same speed, and increase the incline to a 4 percent grade
  • 1 minute: Keep the same speed, increase the incline to a 6 percent grade
  • Then return back at a 1 percent grade
  • Repeat 3 to 4 more times.
  • You can gradually go up on the speed or even increase the incline as your fitness increases.
  • 5 minutes: Cool-Down (walk or jog)

Stationary Bike Interval Workout

  • Warm-up for 5 minutes with the resistance set to a light or medium level.
  • Then pedal for 30 seconds at a high intensity, followed by 1 minute at a low intensity.
  • Then pedal for 40 seconds at a high intensity, followed by 1 minute at a low intensity.
  • Then pedal for 30 seconds at a high intensity, followed by 1 minute at a low intensity.
  • Repeat through this circuit 3-4 times.
  • To change the intensity you can either increase your cadence (how fast you pedal) or increase the resistance on the bike.
  • Avoid increasing the resistance too much as this can cause knee discomfort.
  • Cool down by riding for 5 minutes at an easy pace.

This HIIT workout can be done from inside your home with NO equipment!

Day Three: Metabolic Resistance Circuit

This metabolic resistance circuit gives you the opportunity to build strength and add cardio at the same time by minimizing the rest periods.

Plus, using dumbbells or resistance bands for some of the compound exercises will make the workouts efficient and will help decrease the risk of injury.

Warm-up with dynamic stretching similar to day one.

Main Set

Squat to Shoulder Press

Full body, compound exercises are perfect for mixed cardio and weight circuits.

The squat to shoulder press works your glutes, hamstrings, and quads during the squat.

Then, as you press up, you hit the shoulders while also engaging the core.

  • Begin in a standing position with a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height.
  • Squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  • Extend your legs back up to a standing position.
  • Then press the dumbbells overhead by extending the elbows.
  • Return the weights to the shoulders, then repeat.
  • Aim for three sets of 8-10 reps.

Burpees

This is another great full-body exercise that will also add cardio to your workout session.

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Squat down and place your hands on the floor.
  • Kick back into a push-up position.
  • Do one push-up.
  • Jump your legs back to a squat and jump up, throwing your hands above your head.
  • Land and repeat.
  • Continue for 30 seconds.
  • Rest for 15 seconds, then repeat two more times.

Dumbbell Lunges to Curls

  • Stand tall with your feet hip-distance apart.
  • Take a large step forward with one foot and lower your body toward the floor into a lunge.
  • Both legs should be bent at a 90-degree angle at the bottom of the lunge.
  • Bring weights in towards shoulders to complete a bicep curl, then push off the front foot and return to a standing position.
  • Repeat on the other side.
  • Continue until you have completed 6-8 reps on each leg.

Farmer’s Walk

The farmer’s walk may seem too simple to actually be an exercise.

However, this full-body exercise strengthens the muscles in your shoulders, upper back, biceps, triceps, and forearms.

It also works your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles.

On top of this, you are engaging your core the whole time.

  • Grab two dumbbells, kettlebells, or farmer’s bars, and walk as far as you can.
  • Make sure that you brace your core with the weights by your side.
  • Draw your shoulders down and back and stand tall throughout the entire walk.
  • Start by trying to walk as far as you can across the gym.
  • Rest for 30 seconds, then repeat two more times.

Renegade Rows

This movement forces you to engage your core and lower body, while also working the muscles in your back and shoulders during the rowing motion.

  • Start in a push-up position while grasping two light dumbbells underneath you.
  • Engage your core and pull up your left arm into a row while balancing on the right arm.
  • Return the left arm back to the starting position, then repeat on the opposite side.
  • Aim for three sets of 8-10 reps on each side.

Complete 10-12 reps for each exercise.

Rest for two minutes.

Then complete the circuit one more time.

Cool Down

Cool down with some static stretches similar to day one.

See the program 38,000 guys over 40 are using to get results like these

Holly Smith D.O. - Osteopathic Medicine, B.S. - Dietetics, NASM-PES Certified Trainer

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

Holly is board-certified in nephrology and internal medicine, has a bachelor’s degree in dietetics, and is a certified personal trainer with NASM-PES certification.

Holly is a keen runner, triathlete, and fitness and nutrition enthusiast. She has completed four full ironmans, twelve marathons, countless half ironmans, Olympic distance triathlons, half marathons, and numerous other road races.

Holly joined the Fit Father Project in May 2019 as a regular writer, contributing articles on health, wellness, exercise, and nutrition.

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*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on exercises for men over 50.

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