How to train to build muscle mass even after 50? The truth is that you can still build a muscular body even in your senior years using the tips provided in this article.
Having a lean, well-shaped muscular physique will not only make you look more powerful and intimidating to other men, and more attractive to women, it will also provide you with a multitude of health benefits.
Building muscle mass after the age of 50 will prevent age-related muscle atrophy, build strength, increase metabolic rate, reduce lower back and arthritic pain, increase bone density and improve cardio-respiratory health.
It has also been proven that the bodies of men who are physically stronger are able to heal at a faster rate after an illness.
Can you gain muscle after 50?
For various biological reasons, the average man and woman carry more muscle mass on their body when they’re younger. The process of muscular development is gradual in childhood, reaches a peak in puberty, then progresses slowly until it gets to a complete halt.
Afterward, it goes into decline. This is a process known as muscle atrophy and it is completely natural. However, this doesn’t mean that a person who is 50 or beyond cannot stop this process and achieve a healthy, muscular look.
Even though older people don’t gain muscle as fast as younger people, they can still achieve some notable increases. This article presents some of the ways it can be done.
How to build muscle after the age of 50
So, here are 10 ways on how to build muscle faster:
Always make sure that you take a short 10-minute walk or do a light cardio session on a treadmill or a bike, practically anything to warm you up properly before you start your workout.
You can also do a 10-minute walk after you’re done to cool down a bit. You can also try calisthenics as a warm-up technique. This will warm up both your muscles and your joints. You should also take care not to expend too much energy on your warm-up sessions. You should save as much energy as possible for the main training session.
Doing your warm-up sessions at a faster pace can add advantage to your training in that it’ll strengthen the heart and help in maintaining normal blood pressure levels.
There’s also the option, of beginning your workouts with a set of light stretches. Stretching is an important component of the overall training process at any age, and even more so as our bodies age.
They key thing to remember in training is to gradually increase the weight by small increments. You shouldn’t try nor expect to break records every time you go to the gym.
Building real muscle mass is a slow process and it takes hard work, discipline, and patience. It is always better to progress gradually, than going too fast and risk injuring yourself.
You may think you’re too old to start training, but the truth is you can start at any time. Sure, starting young has many benefits, but there’s absolutely no reason to use that as an excuse. Many people have done it, and so can you.
The most optimal, and of course, logical way to build muscle mass is through constant mechanical stress on the muscles, also known as weight training.
You can use both free weights like dumbbells and barbells, as well as machines, anything that will keep adding stress to your muscles and force them to adapt to the ever-increasing training stimulus.
Avoid jerking the weight while you’re training
You should always strive to execute each exercise with a proper form. You should never jerk the weight or swing it while doing the exercise because that takes the tension out of it, and your training becomes sub-optimal. Oh, and it’s also known as cheating. You should maintain smooth form for as long as possible.
This way you’ll ensure that you’re getting the best results out of each exercise and minimizing the chance of an injury.
If you find yourself unable to maintain smooth form with heavier weights, feel free to use some lighter ones. There’s a saying in the fitness world, “form is king”. Even more so, as you get older.
For example, avoid swinging the weight when you’re doing barbell curls or lateral raises. Pause for a brief moment at the bottom of the exercise, and then in a slow, controlled manner lift it back up.
Higher rep range
You can use a higher number of reps in almost all of your exercises, such as 10-15 or 15-20. Higher reps done with lighter weights are much gentler to the joints, and in addition to making it less likely that you’ll injure yourself, they can also heal existing injuries.
However, in order to get the most optimal results from them, you must do enough reps until you become fatigued. This doesn’t mean going to complete muscle failure, just to the point where your muscle is tired enough and you wouldn’t be able to do anything more than 2-3 reps.
Recovery is one of the main pillars of physical culture, along with training and nutrition. If you feel tired the day after your workout, this might be a sign that you need to decrease the training volume or intensity.
For example, instead of training 5 or 6 days a week, you should change that to 3 or 4 times with rest days between your workouts.
Choose the right exercises
Whenever you feel that a certain exercise doesn’t seem comfortable to you or you have injured yourself whilst doing it, you can pick another exercise for the same muscle or muscle group.
After the age of 50 injuries and sprains are much more likely to happen than when you were younger. It is always better to train in a safe manner, while making slow progress, rather than sustaining an injury that will keep you off the gym for months.
One such example is the deadlift. This is a lift that a lot of people do incorrectly and the majority needs to be coached in order to perform it correctly.
That’s why it’s very easy to injure your back muscle while doing it. Another example is the bench press. In older people, the shoulders can become sore after a set of bench pressing heavy weights.
A healthy alternative, in this case, can be substituting the barbell for two dumbbells, push-ups or the peck-deck machine. When it comes to picking the right exercise, there are always several options you can try out before settling on the one that best suits you.
Limit your working sets
If you’re feeling too tired after completing your training session, then it would be wise to decrease the number of sets on most of your exercise by one or more. This way, your workouts will be much shorter and you’ll recover much faster.
Some people after 50 are still able to do 3 or more sets and even train 6 days per week. However, these are the exception. Limit that to 3-4 days per week. In the end, everyone’s different and it’s up to you to determine your training intensity and frequency based on your work capacity.
Whey protein should be consumed within an hour after you finish your training. The generally recommended dose is 30 grams mixed in milk or water. Whey protein consumption can help you gain more lean muscle mass and decrease body fat levels.
According to numerous studies, senior people who consumed 20-40 grams of whey protein within an hour after their workout gain more muscle compared to those who consume less or don’t consume it at all.
Improve your overall fitness
For people who don’t like to lift weight or do any kind of resistance training or for some reasons are unable to do so, there are lots of other options.
They can go for long walks each day, ride a bike, swim, almost any other type of physical activity. However, by only walking or doing lower intensity activities, they will miss out on the many benefits that resistance training has to offer, such as increased muscle mass, stronger bones, etc.
At the end of the day, even something is better than doing nothing. You can see a lot of people in their senior years who have been doing non-resistance training activities for decades and have excellent health.
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