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Best Workouts For Men Over 50: Upper, Lower & Full Body

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a middle-aged senior man with grey hair in sportswear is working out, doing lunges, best workouts for men over 50
David J. Sautter

David J. Sautter

The article is verified by David J. Sautter,
NASM Personal Trainer, NASM Fitness Nutrition Specialist, ACE Sports Conditioning Specialist, NASM Performance Enhancement Specialist

Table of Contents

Getting older doesn’t mean you should forget about keeping your muscles strong. In fact, as you age, it’s more crucial than ever to maintain good levels of muscle mass. If you’re wondering how to do that, especially if you’re new to exercising, we’ve got your back! This guide is packed with the best workouts for men over 50

We’ll also dive into the benefits of staying active and share some nifty tips to make your workouts even better.

Do Workouts Differ For Men Over 50?

As men age, their muscle mass naturally decreases, their bones lose density, and their joints lose mobility. All these aspects negatively affect balance and stability, and increase the risk of injury. [1]  Furthermore, heart and lung capacity drops as men get older, making it more difficult to pump blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the muscles and other tissues, but also increasing the likelihood of developing cardiovascular illnesses. [2]  This is why it’s so important for older men to include mobility, balance, and strength exercises in their workout program. Including these can maintain muscle mass and range of movement while preventing falls. 

Weight training routines designed for an over 50-year-old male should also include compound exercises to develop and maintain good muscular function.

To strengthen bones, men over 50 should also perform some sort of light weight-bearing activity, like jogging or skipping, whilst cardiovascular exercises should also be performed to strengthen the heart and lungs. [3] [4]

10 Benefits of Strength Training for Older Men

Men’s health is strictly linked to their fitness levels, and this is why men over 50 should regularly perform some sort of physical activity.  

Weight training has, in fact, a wide range of benefits for men over 50, including the following: [5]

As men age, the risk of osteoporosis and fragile bones can increase. Strength training places healthy stress on the bones, prompting them to become denser in response. Regular resistance exercises can significantly reduce the risk of bone fractures by maintaining or even improving bone mineral density.

A natural part of the aging process, sarcopenia is the decrease of muscle tissue. Engaging in weight training helps combat this loss by stimulating muscle growth. Preserving muscle mass ensures that older men can maintain their strength and independence longer.

Muscle tissue burns more calories than fat, even at rest. By increasing muscle mass, men over 50 can also boost their resting metabolic rate. This means they’ll burn more calories throughout the day, which can assist in weight management and overall health.

Strength training can support joint health by strengthening the muscles around the joints. This helps in reducing the strain on the joints during everyday activities, potentially reducing pain and wear-and-tear associated with arthritis or other joint issues.

Strength training releases endorphins, which are natural mood enhancers. Regular weight training can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, improve self-esteem, and lead to a more positive overall mental outlook.

Engaging in regular weight training sessions can increase endurance and stamina. Over time, as the body becomes more conditioned, older men might find they have more energy for daily tasks and recreational activities.

Strength training is proven to enhance heart health, decrease the likelihood of type 2 diabetes, and regulate high blood pressure. Focusing on your cardiovascular and overall health can significantly reduce the risk of various chronic conditions.

Exercise has a direct correlation with improved sleep patterns. Men who incorporate strength training into their routines often report better sleep quality, falling asleep faster, and feeling more rested upon waking.

Combined with a balanced diet, weight training can help men over 50 maintain or achieve a healthy weight. By increasing muscle mass and metabolic rate, the body burns more calories, aiding in both weight loss and maintenance.

Strength training exercises not only target large muscle groups but also the stabilizing muscles. This results in improved balance, which reduces the risk of falls. Furthermore, by keeping muscles and joints active, men can ensure greater mobility and coordination, vital for daily activities and preventing injuries.

Get Your Customized Workout Plan

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How to Choose Weights for Your Workout

Weightlifting exercises are a good way for men over 50 to maintain muscle tone and stay fit. However, choosing the right range of weights to use is an important aspect of striking a balance between challenge and safety.

Men over 50 should not aim for maximum lifts but rather select weights that allow for controlled, proper form. 

Always start with a weight that you can lift comfortably for the desired number of repetitions, typically 8 to 12 reps for muscle building or 6 to 8 reps if you want to work on strength. 

As strength improves, gradually increase the loads. Adjust the weight to ensure it’s challenging but manageable, promoting gradual progress while prioritizing form to minimize the risk of strain or injury. 

The goal is to achieve sustainable, long-term strength gains and overall health, not just lifting the heaviest weights possible.

Best Exercises for Men Over 50

Upper Body

Push-ups

An illustration of a person performing a push-up, highlighting the activated muscle groups. The muscles engaged are shaded in red, indicating the chest, shoulders, and triceps

Triceps Dips

a person using a dip machine for triceps exercises. The activated muscles are highlighted in red, emphasizing the triceps and part of the lower pectoral muscles. The individual is shown in profile view, with arms bent at the elbows, pushing down on the machine's handles to lift their body. The machine is angled, with a padded backrest and arm pads

Plank

an individual performing a plank exercise. The core muscles engaged during the exercise are highlighted in red, specifically targeting the abdominal muscles. The person's body is in a straight line, parallel to the floor, supported on forearms and toes, which is the correct form for a plank

Farmers Walk

a person standing upright, holding dumbbells at thigh level in each hand, which is a starting position for many weight training exercises. The muscles being targeted are highlighted in red, indicating the biceps, forearms, and quadriceps. The individual is depicted with a neutral posture, looking straight ahead, and the muscles are detailed, showing a fit physique

Bent-over row

Illustration of a human figure performing a one-arm dumbbell row on a bench. The figure's right arm is extended downward holding a dumbbell, and the left knee and hand are supporting the body on the bench. Muscles engaged in the exercise are highlighted in red, indicating the primary muscles worked in the back

Shoulder press

Illustration of a human figure seated on a bench performing an overhead dumbbell press. The individual is shown with both arms extended upwards, holding dumbbells above the head. The engaged muscles are highlighted in red, indicating the primary muscles worked in the shoulders and arms during the exercise

Bench press

Illustration of a human figure performing an incline dumbbell press. The figure is lying back on an inclined bench, with feet planted on the ground for stability. Both arms are pushing dumbbells upwards at an angle corresponding to the incline of the bench. Muscles in the chest, shoulders, and arms are highlighted in red to show the primary areas targeted by this exercise

Bicep curl

Illustration of a human figure standing upright, performing a bicep curl with dumbbells in each hand. The figure's arms are bent at the elbow, lifting the weights with the palms facing upwards. The muscles in the upper arms and forearms are highlighted in red, showing the primary muscles being engaged in this arm exercise

Lower Body

Squats

Illustration of a human figure performing a bodyweight squat. The individual is in a squat position with thighs parallel to the floor, back straight, and arms extended forward for balance. The muscles in the lower body, specifically the quadriceps and glutes, are highlighted in red to indicate the primary areas being worked during this exercise

Bulgarian Split Squat

Illustration of a human figure performing a split squat with a barbell. The individual has one foot forward and the other extended back resting on a bench, with a barbell positioned across the upper back. The figure is in the lowered position of the exercise, with the front thigh parallel to the ground. The muscles in the thighs and glutes are highlighted in red, showing the primary muscles engaged in this lower body exercise

Glute Bridge

Illustration of a human figure in the bridge position, also known as a hip thrust. The individual's upper back is on the ground with feet planted and knees bent. The hips are elevated, forming a straight line from the shoulders to the knees. The muscles in the glutes and hamstrings are highlighted in red, indicating they are the primary muscles activated during this bodyweight exercise

Calf Raises

Illustration of a human figure performing a calf raise with dumbbells. The individual is standing upright on the balls of their feet on an elevated surface, holding a dumbbell in each hand at the sides. The muscles in the lower legs, particularly the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles of the calves, are highlighted in red to show the primary muscles engaged in this lower body exercise

Reverse Lunge

Illustration of a human figure in a lunge position with one leg forward and the other extended back, both knees bent at 90 degrees. The individual's hands are clasped together at chest height. The muscles in the thighs and glutes of both legs are highlighted in red, indicating these are the primary muscles being worked during this lower body exercise

Deadlift

Illustration of a human figure performing a deadlift with a dumbbell. The individual is hinged at the hips with a slight bend in the knees, back straight, and lifting the dumbbell with both hands. The muscles in the lower back, glutes, and hamstrings are highlighted in red, emphasizing the primary muscles targeted in this compound lower body exercise.

Goblet Squat

Illustration of a human figure standing with feet shoulder-width apart, performing a goblet squat. The individual is holding a dumbbell vertically with both hands close to the chest. The figure is in the lowered squat position with thighs parallel to the floor. Muscles in the thighs and glutes are highlighted in red, indicating the primary muscle groups engaged during this full-body squatting exercise

Step-Ups

Illustration of a human figure performing a step-up exercise onto a chair. The individual has one foot placed on the seat of the chair, with the body leaning slightly forward as the other foot prepares to step up. The muscles in the leading leg's thigh and glutes are highlighted in red, showing the primary muscles used to lift the body during this lower body exercise

4 Best Workouts for Men Over 50

Working out is essential for a 50-year-old man to age well, so it is important to know which exercises to perform for each muscle group.

Below, you can find a few weight-lifting routines ideal for men over 50 to build muscle and stay In shape.

Sample Upper Body Routine – Back & Shoulders

Warm Up: Upright Lat Pulldown  12-15 reps, 2 sets, 30sec rest

Bent-Over Row: 8-10 reps each side, 3 sets, 60sec rest

Shoulder Press: 8-10 reps, 3 sets, 60sec rest

Seated Rows: 8-10 reps, 3 sets, 60sec rest

Shrugs: 10-12 reps, 2 sets, 60sec rest

Front to Lateral Raises: 10-12 reps, 2 sets, 60sec rest

Superman: 10-12 reps, 2 sets, 60sec rest

Cool Down: Stretching and Child’s Pose — 60sec

Sample Upper Body Routine – Chest & Arms

Warm Up: Dumbbell Chest Press — 12-15 reps, 2 sets, 60sec rest

Bench Press: 8-10 reps, 4 sets, 60sec rest

Dumbbell Pec Flies: 10-12 reps, 3 sets, 60sec rest

Push Ups: 8-10 reps, 3 sets, 60sec rest

Tricep Dips: 8-10 reps, 3 sets, 60sec rest

Biceps Curls: 10-12 reps, 2 sets, 60sec rest

Plank: 30 to 60sec, 3 sets, 60sec rest

Cool down: Lying Pectoral Stretch — 6 per side

Lower Body Workout Glutes & Legs

Warm Up: High Knees — 10 reps, 3 sets, 30sec rest

Squats: 10 reps, 4 sets, 60sec rest

Deadlift: 10 reps, 3 sets, 60sec rest

Reverse Lunges: 10 on each side, 2 sets, 60sec rest

Walking Lunges: 8 on each side, 2 sets, 60sec rest

Step Ups: 15 on each side, 3 sets, 60sec rest

Glute Bridges: 15 reps, 2 sets, 60sec rest

Cool down: Static Bike — 5 min starting at low intensity

Sample Full-Body Workout

Warm Up: Burpees or burpee alternatives — 8 reps, 2 sets, 60sec rest

Squat and Press: 10 reps, 4 sets, 60sec rest

Deadlift: 10 reps, 3 sets, 60sec rest

Dumbbell Rows: 10 reps, 4 sets, 60sec rest

Push Ups: 6-8 reps, 3 sets, 60sec rest

Bicep Curls: 12 reps, 2 sets, 60sec rest

Farmers Walk: 30 to 60sec, 3 sets, 60sec rest

Cool down: Treadmill Walk — 5 min starting at low intensity

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How Much Should a 50-Year-Old Man Exercise?

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans suggest that adults perform at least 150 to 300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise, or 75 to 150 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, as well as perform strength training for 2 or more days a week. [6] 

Simply put, you should do 150 to 300 minutes of moderate cardio per week (walking, jogging, cycling, or swimming will work) and combine it with at least two muscle-building workouts like the ones in this article.

A workout routine for men over 50 should also include appropriate rest between sets, as well as in between training sessions, to ensure the muscles are recovering and repairing appropriately.

5 Tips on Working Out For Men Over 50

Weight training is essential for men to age healthily. However, there are other aspects of their lifestyle that should also be taken into account if they want to achieve their goals. 

Here, we provide five tips for men over 50 to maximize results.

1. Add Cardio

Men over 50 should add cardio exercises to their workout plan to sustain their cardiovascular health and prevent the development of cardiovascular diseases.  Weight-bearing exercises like running are also important for aging men to perform as they help strengthen their tendons, ligaments, and bones. [3] [4]

2. Address Any Pre-Existing Health Issues

To get stronger, you should first address all previous injuries or existing health issues so as to design workout plans that can either help you overcome these problems or that don’t exacerbate them. 

3. Try Yoga for Flexibility, Balance, and Coordination

The best workout routine for men over 50 is one that also includes some stretching moves to aid flexibility, balance, and coordination. Yoga classes are a great way to do so in safety, as you would be guided by a professional who can help you progress. 

4. Eat More Protein and Whole Foods

Whole foods provide essential nutrients, like protein for muscle repair, fiber for digestion, vitamins for energy, and antioxidants for immunity.  Whole foods support men over 50 in maintaining energy levels, reducing inflammation, and promoting overall health, as well as optimizing workouts by ensuring the body is well-nourished and prepared for physical activity. [7] Examples of whole foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, fish, nuts, seeds, and legumes.

5. Add Mobility Exercises

Mobility exercises should be a part of every workout plan for men over 50 to maintain joint flexibility, prevent stiffness, and reduce the risk of injury.  Mobility exercises enhance the range of motion, improve posture, and aid in daily activities, ultimately promoting a greater quality of life and overall physical well-being as we age. [8] Examples include dynamic stretches, rotational movements, hip openers, ankle circles, shoulder rolls, and spinal twists. These exercises, when done consistently, can assist in improving the fluidity of movements, making tasks like bending, reaching, and turning much easier.

Bottom Line

Weightlifting workouts are beneficial for most people, but even more so for men over 50 who aim to stay fit and healthy as they get older. Here are the key points about working out for aging men: 

Disclaimer This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!



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