As we cross our 30s, our muscle mass tends to get replaced with fat a lot quicker and with each passing decade, this effect becomes stronger and stronger. So does that mean it is impossible to gain muscle mass after someone reaches the age of 50? The answer is no, it does not mean that at all. Sure, it’s going to be much harder to gain muscle at 50 than it was in your 20s, but that doesn’t mean it cannot be done. In order to make things simpler for everyone, here are a few proven methods that you can use to get back in shape and keep those biceps bulging even after you have hit your fifties.
Resistance Training over Cardio
Since building muscle mass is the aim here, strength training will take precedence over all forms of cardiovascular training. In fact, it should be noted that as we get older, experts advise that we should shift more focus towards training with weights than on cardiovascular exercises to preserve bone and muscle mass. Women in particular, may hurt their joints and develop osteoporosis while doing cardio as they get older.
The Weekly Routine
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, people over fifty need to hit each of their major muscle groups at least 2 – 4 times per week with an adequate strength training regimen. Major muscle groups include the pectorals (chest), quads and hamstrings (thighs), the back muscles (traps, rhomboids, lats, etc.) and the core (lower back, abs and obliques).
Overtraining and Undertraining
Each of the major muscle groups worked during a training session must be given a gap of at least 48-hours for full recovery before training that specific muscle group once again. Anything more than that will result in overtraining and subsequent muscle loss, leading to injury. Undertraining on the other hand is better than overtraining since it won’t harm your body, but you won’t also be seeing any significant improvements either.
It would be impossible to generalize how much a person should work out exactly, without knowing the specific physical characteristics, physical conditioning, medical conditions, etc. of the person in question. Nevertheless, the following points should help you figure it out for yourself. It is advised though that you take the guidance of a fitness professional if and when available to customize a routine to your specific needs.
- Multi-joint movements that involve multiple muscle groups (bench press, squat, overhead press, deadlift, pushup, pull-up, etc.) are better than isolation movements (bicep curls, triceps curls, side laterals, shrugs, etc.)
- Choose a weight that lets you get close to 12 – 15 reps but you should be exhausted by the end of the 15th rep.
- Choose form over ego by opting for the right weight
- Increase resistance/weight as you become stronger
While these few tips should get you going on your way, check out livelongstayyoung.com for many more tips, tricks, advice and guidance regarding how to stay fit and young, irrespective of the number of candles that were burning on your last Birthday cake.