Best Gym Workout Routine for Men over 50

Author: Lee Bell

February 5th 2018

If you’re a man over 50 who wants to rediscover the physique and performance of your youth, this is the best gym workout routine for you.

There’s been a shift over the last few years.

It’s no longer the norm for men over 50 to slow down, stop lifting weights or become less active.

Instead, pioneers like Stallone, Chuck Norris and Schwarzenegger are leading the way with fit, fat free and muscular physiques.

It’s about time too.

And it’s time for you to get involved as well with this workout plan specifically designed to take you from your current condition to that of an athletic man in his prime in just a few weeks.

In this guide we tell you everything you need to know about using the gym to stay fit and active in your 50’s.

If your goal is to drop body fat, enhance physical performance or just to improve the way you look and feel…

This is the best gym workout guide for you.

What does this program cover?

Goal:Fat loss, build muscle, increase fitness
Aimed at:Guys over 50
Program duration:8-12 weeks
Workout duration:45-60 minutes
Equipment needed:Barbell, dumbbell, resistance machines

Staying fit and active in your 50s

Statistics suggest that as you reach 50 your fitness level decreases.

Why? Because physical activity level takes a nosedive.

You don’t hit the gym as often as you used to and when you do, you don’t push yourself for fear of injury or overdoing it.

But it’s a chicken and egg scenario, because without working out regularly you’ll inevitably lose fitness. And if you lose fitness you’re less likely to visit the gym.

Most of the time it’s not your fault though.

A busy family life and a hectic career meant that those regular gym workouts you once loved slowly went by the wayside.

Now you’ve piled on a few pounds, don’t eat as well as you should do and you’re constantly stressed and tired.

But you’re here to change that!

You’ve cleared the toughest challenge – making the decision to get started. And now that your motivation is high, it’s time to make some positive changes.


  • Use strength training to build muscle and drop body fat
  • Improve stamina and endurance
  • Feel and look better with your best gym workout routine

Why Should Men Over 50 Strength Train?

Maybe you’re excited at the prospect of getting back in the gym and throwing some iron around once again. Or possibly, the thought of mixing it up with the younger guys leaves you concerned.

Either way, it’s strength training that forms the basis of this workout routine.

And it’s embracing the heavy stuff that will get you where you need to be – a lean guy over 50 who still gets those second glances and attention.

Inactivity can be a serious issue for long-term health

There’s no question that inactivity is a strong predictor of long-term health [1].

But research also shows that taking part in regular strength training increases health, helping you lower the risk of detrimental metabolic diseases such as diabetes and high cholesterol, as well as heart disease and cognitive disorders too [2].

It’s important to maintain muscle mass

One of the most important reasons you need to implement strength training is to maintain lean mass.

Not only does a lack of muscle show that you don’t work out; it can also affect your health and well-being too.

Significant muscle loss due to inactivity is called sarcopenia, and it’s a disorder affecting more and more guys over 50.

Without lifting weights, your muscle protein synthesis slows down. This simply refers to the rate at which your body can repair damaged tissue and build new muscle cells.

The result is a slow but progressive decline into weakness and lack of functional ability. Current research says that if you don’t strength train you can lose as much as 2% total lean mass each year after 50 years of age [3].

Ultimately, lifting weights on a regular basis helps to boost lean mass and protect functional ability. You’ll not only feel better, but look better too.

Gaining excess weight is common in older guys

Muscle mass is a metabolically active tissue.

Other than excess calorie intake, one of the main reasons why guys over 50 find that they pile on the fat pounds is that the loss of muscle mass from lack of strength training means that metabolic rate takes a nosedive. 

It might be that you’re here because of a more gradual onset of belly fat. Or your starting point might be sarcopenic obesity – the combination of decreased muscle and older adult obesity.

Either way, gym workouts using strength training will help bring your metabolic rate to where it needs to be.

Not only that, but lifting weights is a great way to up your daily fat burning. That’s because it can enhance fat oxidation for up to 48 hours after a workout [4].

That’s a great way to keep your calorie burn ticking over at a faster rate.

Optimizing testosterone is the key to better health and performance

As you reach the age of 3o, your testosterone levels begin to decrease by around 1-2% per year.

This means that by the age of 50, as many as 40% of guys will be classed as having clinically low hormone levels [5].

Testosterone is your masculinity driver.

As your main natural anabolic hormone it’s responsible for ensuring you stay lean, maintain muscle and bone mass. It regulates your metabolic health, keeps you libido high and even helps you stay confident and assertive.

It’s what makes a man, a man.

When levels drop to what’s called hypogonadal concentrations, all kinds of side effects begin to creep in.

  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Loss of cardiovascular stamina, endurance, sex drive and libido
  • Increased adipose tissue, especially belly fat
  • Increased risk of metabolic diseases and even early death

But you’ll be pleased to know though that strength training has been shown to boost testosterone levels and go some way to reversing low T in men over 50 [6].

It’s just another reason why lifting weights benefits your body and your health.

[Related Article: Best Testosterone Boosters for Men Over 50

Grey-haired older guy using a chest press in the gym

10 Fitness Tips for Men over 50 to Stay in Shape

#1. Focus on strength training to maintain muscle mass

Keeping your muscles strong and lean helps to improve the way you look, your physical and functional abilities and also offsets natural muscle loss due to reduced testosterone and protein synthesis.

#2. Keep workouts short and sharp to optimize hormonal response

You’re a busy guy who hasn’t got the time to spend all day in the gym. Luckily, short and intense workouts have a more beneficial effect on anabolic hormones and strength.

#3. Don’t be afraid to lift heavy once you’ve nailed your technique

Once you’ve practiced each exercise and have the form mastered, start loading up! Remember, the key to functional muscle power after 50 is heavy weight lifting.

#4. Keep your day-to-day activity levels high

Supporting your strength workouts with regular activities throughout the day is the key to staying lean. Whether it’s walking, sports, fun activities or physical hobbies, do your best to move daily.

#5. Don’t skip the warm up

As those niggles and aches start to creep in it’s important that you keep your muscles, joints and connective tissues safe by preparing them properly before your workouts.

#6. Make sure you recover between gym workouts

The unfortunate inevitability about aging is that you can’t train all day, every day without suffering fatigue.

But with regular recovery days and clever training you’ll not need to.

#7. Don’t be afraid to push yourself

You get what you put in when it comes to the gym. And age is irrelevant. Push yourself and you’ll soon be rewarded by a stronger, fitter and leaner physique.

#8. Perform daily mobility drills

Support your gym workouts with 3-5 minute daily mobility drills. Whether it’s ankle circles, trunk twists or shoulder rolls – keeping supple is great for functional longevity.

#9. Make sure your diet supports your fitness goals

Focusing on a nutrient-rich diet and testosterone-boosting foods and supplements helps to keep your body working like a well-oiled machine.

#10. Build positive habits that support your goals

Creating a positive, balanced lifestyle of healthy habits that you’re able to adhere to is key to success. There’s no value in setting targets that are just not obtainable so make sure everything you want is within reach.

[Related Article: Best Supplements for Men Over 50 ] 

Over 50’s Gym Workout Plan

The goal here is to boost muscle mass, enhance fitness and shred off any excess fat in 8-12 weeks.

This strength-based routine for men over 50 is your best gym workout opportunity yet to make some changes and throw away the rule book.

Don’t age gracefully; age aesthetically

The program is designed around a 3-day per week full-body gym workout schedule.

Muscle splits don’t work here as they emphasize single muscle annihilation too much. It’s a pretty old school way of training that really only maximizes muscle growth in those that can hit the gym multiple times per week.

But there’s a whole flood of research to suggest that full-body training is the way forward. Not just if you’re over 50, but for any athlete wanting to improve muscle conditioning in the gym.

Split your weekly volume over 3 sessions to make better progress

Here’s a scenario.

Science currently points out that hitting 10-12 sets per muscle group per week is a good way to boost muscle mass and improve conditioning.

Let’s say you wanted to use a split training approach and trained your chest on one day. You might throw in 4 different exercises for your pecs and do 3 sets on each.

And then you don’t train that muscle until the week after.

That’s 12 sets per week. Perfect volume for muscle growth.

Now let’s say you decide to do a full-body gym workout instead.

You put those same 4 exercises in, but split up over 3 separate sessions. You might do a chest press on one day and flyes on another for example.

As long as you still hit your 10-12 sets over the course of the week you’ll get the same growth.

And as a bonus you won’t suffer the extreme soreness that you get from split training either.

No more niggles and pains.

Only great results.

NumberSession 1Session 2Session 3
1DB Shoulder pressBB Front raiseLateral raise
2Leg press machineHack squat machineLeg extension
3Lat pulldownNeutral grip pulldownStraight arm pulldown / single arm pulldown
4Lying leg curlStanding calf raiseDB Deadlift
5Assisted dipsDB flyesIncline DB press
6Split squatGoblet squatDB step ups
7BB bicep curlDB triceps extension (skull crusher)EZ bar preacher curl

[Related Article: Best Multivitamins for Men Over 50

  1. Taylor, D. Physical activity is medicine for older adults. BMJ. 2013
  2. Martins, RA et al. Effects of aerobic and strength-based training on metabolic health indicators in older adults. Lipids Health Dis. 2010; 9: 76
  3. Von Haehling, S et al. An overview of sarcopenia: facts and numbers on prevalence and clinical impact. J Cachexia Sarcopenia Muscle. 2010; 1(2): 129-133
  4. Abboud, GJ et al. Effects of load-volume on EPOC after acute bouts of resistance training in resistance-trained men. J Strength Cond Res. 2013; 27(7): 1936-41
  5. Brawer, M. Testosterone replacement in men with andropause: an overview. 2004 Rev Urol. 6 (Suppl 6)
  6. Sato, K et al. Resistance training restores muscle sex steroid hormone steroidogenesis in older men. FASEB. 2014; 28(4): 1891-7

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