You are never too old to start again. Weight training for men over 50 may be the single best strategy to regain your old level of fitness.
Weight training trumps running, biking or other aerobic type workouts for both fat loss and improving strength.
The riskiest phase of a new exercise program is when you are just starting out. There are a load of factors that affect the likelihood of you getting injured.
- How fit are you?
- When is the last time you trained seriously? Do you have any mobility or range of motion problems to deal with?
- Are you overweight?
You need to provide yourself an honest assessment of your starting physical condition. Know your weaknesses. The key is to start slow and not get injured. An injury will not only set you back in your ability to train, it can negatively affect your attitude. If you are not confident in your ability to get back into shape, it is hard to stick to a new training regimen.
Don’t be in a hurry in the first few weeks. Start slow and get your body used to the movements and accustomed to moving through a full range of motion. Do some basic exercises using bodyweight only.
- Squats for the legs and glutes; push ups for chest, shoulders and triceps; and just hang from a bar to start building grip strength and for stretching the shoulders and lats.
- Use a light barbell (maybe just the bar only) and do some straight leg deadlifts for the low back and hamstrings.
- Then do overhead presses with the bar only as well. This is a good shoulder, triceps and core stabilizer.
- Try some dumbbell rows using light weight for back, biceps and forearm work.
- Finally, jog slowly for 10 minutes or so. This is not an endurance event. It is just to get your body used to moving. Focus on good running form using a forefoot strike. Run on a soft surface like grass or a dirt rail if possible.
- Perform this workout 3 times a week for two weeks ensuring to rest at least 24 hours between workouts. You shouldn’t be real sore from these workouts. Again, this is just to get the body moving and used to bending and moving through its intended range of motion.
Get into a good routine in weeks 3 and 4. Keep doing the same basic lifts and either add a little weight to increase the load or increase the number of repetitions. Be careful of loading up the squat too soon. You may be better served by staying with bodyweight squats until you can do 3 sets of 20 reps in a workout. Perform three sets of about 10 reps or so for each exercise. You’ll still workout three times a week however change to following schedule:
- Day 1 resistance training workout
- Day 2 (at least 24 hours rest from Day 1) repeat resistance training workout
- Day 3 (at least 24 hours rest from Day 2) sprint workout
The sprint workout is simply 40 to 50 yard sprints at about ¾ effort followed by walking back to the starting line and repeating. You have been jogging slowly for a few weeks to get ready for this effort however still take it slow. It is very easy to pull a hamstring with sprints if you blast into it too fast. Don’t blast off the line like you are racing Usain Bolt. Use the jog start and accelerate up to about a ¾ effort for the sprint. Remember, always stay cognizant of potential injury. Your mantra is to not get hurt and spoil all the good effort you have put in.
Weight training for men over 50 is very effective for regaining strength and overall fitness.
Start slow to prevent injury and gradually work into a regimen you can keep up. You do not need to spend countless hours in the gym to get fit. Work up to training 3 times a week, twice on weights and once running a sprint workout. You will see results by your second month of training.