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5 Tried & True Tips for Building Muscle After 50

0 3 years ago

As a personal trainer, you already know that it is possible to create lean muscle mass no matter what your age. But sometimes it is hard to convince clients of this. Society has already cemented their belief that they are doomed to muscle loss versus muscle gain.

If you find yourself in this situation, it helps to provide some tried and true methods for building muscle later in life. Here are a few to consider.

1. Refuse to Accept Muscle Loss as “Normal” with Age

When you firmly believe that building muscle is impossible, you’re not likely to put in the effort needed to get results. Weight training seems like a futile effort, so why give it your all?

That’s why the first step to helping 50+ clients increase their lean mass involves changing their mindset. Challenge the myths they’ve held onto when it comes to muscle gain, strength training, and age. Help them understand that muscle loss is not something they simply have to accept as they grow older.

Yes, research does indicate that people lose an average of 3-8% of their muscle mass every 10 years after turning 30, with this rate increasing at 60 years of age and beyond. This is referred to as sarcopenia and bone density tends to decrease as well. But that doesn’t mean that this is an absolute.

Do a quick online search for “older bodybuilders” and you will find that many people have rock-solid physiques in their older years. Like the 64-year-old woman who has won eight bodybuilding prizes or the many men over 60 who are more fit than people half their age.

There are still many things you can do to increase your lean muscle later in life. One of them is weight training.

2. Engage in Strength Training

There is a heavy focus on aerobic exercise with age. This is because this type of exercise program helps improve heart health and can reduce an older person’s risk of heart attack, stroke, and heart disease. Yet, there is one other form of physical activity that is critical to building muscle. That activity is resistance training.

Lifting weights helps you build muscle. It breaks your muscle tissue down so your body can build it up again and make it even stronger. One study even found that strength training helps stop age-related muscle decline. That is, for as long as the person continues to lift weights.

It doesn’t have to be a heavy weight either. Following a progressive resistance training program introduces clients to weight training slowly. This type of exercise program can also help avoid injury.

When developing the strength training workout, incorporate compound exercise movements. This enables clients to work more than one muscle group at a time. That makes it helpful if they want results but don’t want to spend a lot of time at the gym. Squats with bicep curls or lunges with triceps extensions are two examples.

If clients are turned off by weight lifting, suggest that they do resistance exercise with just their body weight. Planks are good for building muscle strength in the core muscles and biceps. Push-ups strengthen the chest and back.


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