Men Over 50 Gain Muscle and Lose Weight

Should Men Over 50 Lift Heavy?

Building muscle mass in men over 50 requires heavy lifting

Men Over 50 Lift Heavy

Men Over 50 Gain Muscle Mass by Lifting Heavy Weights

For men over 50, “lifting heavy” to build muscle mass arises as a regularly asked question.  To be sure, heavy lifting is a topic of discussion and debate regardless of age and/or gender.  However, for men over 50, heavy lifting indeed requires special consideration.

Heavy lifting for men over 50 creates a risk/return dilemma, with the correct answer being more personal and unique to the individual than completely scientific with a single answer for everyone.

While consensus clearly supports heavy lifting at regular intervals to support muscle gains, anyone over 50 needs to understand the increased injury risk this introduces.

Heavy lifting for muscle gain in men over 50

As with any resistance training program, workout changes should be introduced regularly.  This helps muscle development from plateauing.   For example, this could include one or two weeks of lighter weights working in the 12-15 rep range for three sets per exercise.  Then, a week or two of heavier weights in the 6-8 rep range for four sets.

An alternating workout approach provides the additional benefit of keeping the workouts more interesting, reducing the boredom factor.

Adding in heavier workouts provides several additional benefits.  First, like women, men over 50 can get osteoporosis, a loss of bone density and strength.  Research shows that by lifting heavy, osteoporosis onset and progression can be slowed significantly.

For more information on getting into the very best shape of your life after age 50, be sure to check out BestFit 50.

Second, heavy lifting can contribute to overall muscle strength, helping men over 50 in their daily activities and hobbies requiring regularly lifting and moving objects and/or strength related moves for most sports.

Third, depending on genetic makeup, many people respond better to heavy lifting to stimulate new muscle growth.  To be sure, some may respond better to lighter weights and higher reps, another good reason to continually rotate heavy and lighter routines.

Heavy lifting risk factors for men over 50

Heavy lifting isn’t for everyone, and it can increase the risk of injury, including joints, tendons and the muscles themselves.  For  someone new to resistance training, heavy lifting is out of the question for at least the first six months.

During this initial time, a new lifter must develop muscle and tendon strength, and also new blood supply and nerve connections.  Additionally, high core strength will be required for heavy lifting.

But most importantly, when starting out a new lifter must master proper form before advancing to heavier weights.  In any situation, proper form ensures full engagement and development of the target muscle groups.  Additionally,  proper form limits injury risk by keeping the spine stable and the joints and muscle within proper range of motion.

Perhaps most importantly, a good personal trainer can help a new lifter gauge progression, helping to make decision on when the client is ready to progress to heavier weights and at what increments the increases in weight should be added.

For these reasons, a new lifter should always seek council with a qualified personal trainer who understands their goals and their present ability levels.

6 Responses to Should Men Over 50 Lift Heavy?

  • Ed says:

    I’m 60years old a former trainer and ball player. I have been lifting for 40 years and started heavy lifting 20 years ago. I suffered a work related back injury in 1994 falling off a ladder. Herniated and bulging disks almost put me down for the count. I refused to be a pain pill popper and slowly got my game back. I squat between 350 and 400 lbs. Bench 300 and do straight bar curls 130 for reps. If it wasn’t for lifting before my injury I don’t know how the quality of my life would have been. It dose not matter how heavy you lift its proper form and paying attention to how your body responds.

  • B. Wolf says:

    Your remarks are pretty common. Been lifting for quite a while. At 68, I bench 145, 3 sets of 12, and the same for incline and decline benches, along with flys, same sets and #, with 35 dumb bells. Add in arnold presses (3/12), lateral raises (3/12), front raises (3/12), along with 40 minutes cardio (bike, tread + others) and that constitutes my two day a week “pull” workout.

    What I really want to know if how to maintain better muscle tone! Arms and chest are still a bit flabby and I want to try to eliminate it. Is the best technique for that higher reps and lower weight…thanks

    • admin says:

      Do you know your bodyfat composition? If you can provide that’s helpful, sound like it may be more of a diet issue, let us know!

  • Keith Mohr says:

    thanks John! I’m learning how to do Squats…a little intimidating, but I’m getting there!
    Diet is doing great. I’ve been eating clean since July.

    Here’s how I finish each day.. I put 1/2 cup of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Steel cut Oats in a Rice cooker and set the timer to make it about an hour before I get up. I put a large tablespoon of Nutiva Extra Virgin Coconut oil in with it.. then I eat a tablespoon of it right before going to bed. Right on down the hatch!

    When I wake up, I down 2 large glasses of water, then I eat my oatmeal, with a banana, tablespoon of ground Flax Seed, tablespoon of Chia seeds, some walnuts or almonds, topped with organic cinnamon and Pure Maple Syrup. About an hour after that, I have the best you know what:) cleans me out..

    Do this every day for 3 months and you will shed lots of weight and feel great!

  • Keith Mohr says:

    thanks for the advise.. really appreciate it! I started working out in July 2012.. I worked with a trainer doing cardio and “Insanity” type of workouts for 2 months. I then switched to a gym and worked the Techno-Gym and Cybex machines, along with 20 minutes of HIIT cardio on the bike and rowing machine. January 1, 2013, I introduced more heavy lifting with bench press and the larger Cybex machines with plates.. It’s been awesome to see the changes already taken place as I step it up and progress!

    • admin says:

      Very sensible progression plan Keith, keep introducing more free weight work into your sessions and really focus on your diet, you’ll be amazed by what can happen, over 50 rocks!

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