Want to Age Well? Bulletproof Your Body With 7 Best Strength Training Exercises After 50

Strength training exercises after 50

Bulletproof your body and age well after 50 with these 7 strength training exercises.

It’s never too late to get your body in shape and get stronger. In fact, if you are over 50, you have far more reasons to gain muscle, get in shape, and build strength. It’s the body’s best defense against aging and muscle loss.

Plus, getting a fit body feels awesome at any age.

With that said, just because you are picking up the old gym habits again, it’s the right move to pick up the same gym regimen you had in your 20s.

You may want to consider a few things as you hit the gym and get back in your grove.

In your 50s, it’s incredibly important to focus on functional strength with your training regimens.

You want your weight training to bring the same benefits you always enjoyed like gaining lean muscle mass and speeding fat loss. But as you get older, you also need added benefits like flexibility, mobility, and functionality.

You need strength training exercises that are also functional and movement-based. Think lunges, squats, and step-ups. These strength training exercises mimic the common movement patterns to train your body for mobility.

You can also benefit from weight training that increases your flexibility, balance, and range of motion.

Together, these multi-functional strength exercises will help your body bulletproof itself against aging and help you live your best life for years to come.

The 7 Best Strength Training Exercises You Should Be Doing After 50

The best 7 strength training exercises for after 50

1. Dumbbell Front Squats

Dumbbell Front Squats

Squats are an amazing exercise that can help the body in myriad ways. The front squat variation also helps to incorporate some shoulder work, and the nature of this squat kicks your quads into overdrive.

How to Perform:

  • Start standing, holding one dumbbell in each hand.
  • Bend your elbows and place the dumbbells on the front of your shoulders, resting them there, if possible, with your hands supporting them.
  • Squat down as deeply as you can without your back collapsing forward or your heels coming off of the ground.
  • Once you’ve reached the bottom of your range, stand back up to complete the rep.
  • Perform 10-15 reps for 3 sets per session, 2 sessions per week.

2. Dumbbell RDLs

Dumbbell Exercises: RDLs

Romanian deadlifts are a foundational exercise. This movement increases lower body strength, especially in the hamstrings and glutes.

How to Perform:

  • Grasp one dumbbell in each hand and start standing, with your feet about hip-width apart.
  • Bend your knees slightly, and lower the weights until they are about an inch or two from the floor.
  • Then, straighten out your legs and return to standing.
  • Perform 10-15 reps per set, 3 sets per session, 2 times per week.

3. Dumbbell Single-Arm Bench Press

Dumbbell Single-Arm Bench Press

Bench pressing with one arm, instead of two, provides a few different benefits. 

First off, it can increase abdominal muscle activation. Secondly, it can help to identify whether one side is weaker than the other. 

By addressing these issues, you can increase your overall bench pressing strength.

How to Perform:

  • Lie down on a flat bench, with one dumbbell in each hand.
  • Press the right arm up toward the ceiling, leaving the left arm down by your side.
  • Then, return the right hand to the starting position, and push the left arm to the ceiling.
  • Repeat for 10-15 reps per side, per set, for 3 sets per session, and 2 sessions per week.

4. Dumbbell Pullover

Dumbbell Pullover Exercise

This move is great for the lats. In fact, this is one of the easiest ways to build up the lats when you can’t perform pullups.

How to Perform:

  • Hold one dumbbell in both hands while lying flat on your back on a bench.
  • Lift the weight over your head, allowing it to fall down toward the ground.
  • Once you feel a stretch in your lats and pecs, reverse the motion and pull the weight back up to above your chest.
  • Repeat this motion for 10-15 reps per set, 3 sets per session, and 2 sessions per week.

5. Dumbell Bent-Over Reverse Fly

The rhomboids are a key exercise for shoulder health. This move is terrific for those who work at a desk and assume a flexed posture throughout the day.

How to Perform:

  • Hold one dumbbell in each hand (err on the side of going lighter on this one).
  • Bend over at the waist, keeping your back flat.
  • Separate your hands apart from one another, lifting the dumbbells up to shoulder height.
  • Once you’ve reached the top of your motion, slowly lower the weights back down to the starting position.
  • Repeat for 10-15 reps per set, 3 sets per session, and 2 sessions per week.

6. Dumbell Split Squats

Split Squats

Split squats, also known as Bulgarian squats, are another tricky exercise to master. This move requires a fair bit of balance and strength. So, don’t be discouraged if you don’t master it on your first try!

How to Perform:

  • Hold a dumbbell underneath your chin with both hands.
  • Extend your right leg behind you, placing your right toes on a bench or other elevated surface.
  • Slowly, squat down until your right knee comes close to the floor.
  • Once you’ve reached the bottom of your range, stand back up to complete the rep.
  • Perform 10-15 reps per side, per set, for 3 sets per session, 2 sessions per week.

7. Side Planks

Side Planks

The obliques are an oft-neglected muscle group. Most people prioritize the six-pack muscles, known as the rectus abdominis. While the rectus is an important muscle, the obliques are equally vital for good health.

This move uses isometric contractions in order to build endurance and strength throughout the core.

How to Perform:

  • Start by lying on your left side.
  • Tuck your left forearm underneath you.
  • At the same time, stack your right foot on top of your left.
  • Rise up onto your left forearm and left foot.
  • Be sure that your body is in a straight line from the top of your head down to your feet.
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds, and repeat 4 times on each side per session.

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Bennett Richardson, DPT, PT, CSCS

Bennett Richardson is a physical therapist and writer out of Pittsburgh, PA. He has maintained certification as a strength and conditioning coach (CSCS) since 2014. He then went on to earn a BS in exercise science and a doctorate degree in physical therapy, both from Slippery Rock University. In his free time, Bennett likes to read and exercise.

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