How to Build Muscle Over 50: Resistance Training Exercises

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Adults over the age of 50 who are considering an exercise regimen in order to build muscle should know that it is indeed safe and can result in a variety of health benefits for otherwise healthy individuals. Health experts say that muscle-building exercises lessen the decline of muscle mass we experience as we age due to increased amounts of inactivity. Building muscle mass is not just for body builders and can be performed by both males and females. The following are some benefits of building muscle after the age of 50:

Benefits of Muscle Building after 50

When regular exercise is incorporated in the life of those over 50:

  • You may experience a reduction in the rate of fractures and osteoporosis due to stronger bones and muscles.
  • Blood cholesterol levels improve. Blood sugar and blood pressure levels may also be controlled through resistance training exercises.
  • You may experience a reduction in the risk of injury during physical activities. Weight lifting may result in correcting the levels of imbalance and weaknesses in the muscle and the instability of the joints.
  • It may help with the reduction and maintenance of weight. Even if there is no weight loss, the individual doing resistance training will get healthier and fitter.
  • It may experience reductions in lower back pain and arthritis pain.

Tips on Working-out

  • You only need a few pieces of inexpensive equipment and a little space to workout. Women can start out with 2 to 3 pound weights that can be purchased from any sporting goods store and men should start out with 5 to 10 pound weights. It may be convenient to use weights that can be strapped to the ankles or feet and adjustable and with the use of adjustable dumbbells metal disks can be added or removed.
  • Exercise bands are a safe and effective way to build muscle mass and have the same affects as using dumbbells. Exercises such as sit ups and pushup require no equipment and utilizes the body’s weight in order to bring about effective results.
  • Each exercise should begin with a warm up such as marching or running in place for 2 to 3 minutes followed by a few gentle stretches.
  • Rest for 1 to 2 minutes between sets.
  • To reduce the risk of injury work smoothly and slowly through the entire range of muscle.
  • If you feel any pain during exercise you should stop immediately. You can continue with the exercise when the pain subsides but reduce the amount of weight. The following day after your workout there may be some aches to your muscle area which is normal because you are working muscles that may not have been worked in a while.
  • When lifting weights avoid arching your back and remember not to lock your elbows or knees (fully straighten) because this put extra strain on the joints.
  • Begin with workout to the bigger muscle groups first then start with the smaller ones.
  • Inhale as you bring the weight down and exhale as you lift. It is important to breathe evenly through each set because holding your breath tends to raise the blood pressure.
  • Cool down after your workout session is complete.

Strength Training Exercises

The following are strength training session workouts that are simple and easy to do for those over 50. These exercises will help build muscle through a continuous workout program and can be performed through a several variations.

**The Bench Fly Exercise-**This exercise is for the pectorals (chest). As you lie on the bench hold the weights straight above your chest with a slight bend in your elbows. Lower your arms slowly in a in a semi circle until the weights are even with the chest or a little lower. Do the movement in reverse and bring the weight above your chest area. Repeat this exercise.

**Upright Row Exercises-**This exercise is for the arms, shoulders and back. Stand with feet shoulder width apart with a slight bend to the knees, hold your dumbbells at thigh level, side by side with the palms facing towards the thighs. Pull the dumbbells up slowly to the collarbone until your elbows are a little above the height of the shoulder. Lower slowly and repeat.

Triceps Extension Exercises- While supporting one of your knees and hand on a chair or bench, hold a weight at the side area of your chest while keeping a bend in your arm so your elbow will be behind you. Extend you arm in the area behind you without moving the elbow. Return to the beginning position, switch arms and repeat.


The above exercises are just a few examples of how building muscles over 50 can be done with exercises that are safe, effective, and beneficial to your overall health. For information on the safety of resistance training for seniors visit It is always important to get the approval of your primary health physician to ensure you are a good candidate for resistance training exercises.


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