Most men above 50 have careers and/or family responsibilities that take up most of the day. They don’t have the time or energy to spend hours working out like a gym rat. Many of them just want to learn how to build muscle faster, in other words – go to the gym, work out quickly and leave. But they also want to be building muscle after 50 so they look good.
The truth of the matter is that even 30 to 45 minutes at the gym three times a week is more than sufficient to build a lean and muscular body that turns heads. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to spend hours working out.
There is a huge difference between conditioning training and strength training. Many men structure their workouts wrongly. One common mistake is doing cardio first and then hitting the weights. You don’t want to mix the two. Doing cardio first will exhaust you and you’ll not be able to give your best during your weight training.
Before even starting on a weight training program, you need to ask yourself how fit you are. There’s a catch here – you need to have some degree of cardiovascular endurance before you start training with weights.
If you’re out of shape and you’ve been inactive for years, it would be a good idea to spend 30 mins a day doing conditioning workouts. 5 times a week would be great. Basically, conditioning workouts are both strength and cardio in nature with very little rest between sets.
Exercises like squat jumps, pushups, burpees, skipping, renegade rows, etc. could all be in one workout and you just move from 1 exercise to the next with no rest. When you’re all done with them, that will be one set. You take a minute to rest and do the circuit again. The goal will be to repeat the circuit 5 times.
After 3 months, you’ll have a solid foundation to move on to your strength training. Your stamina will be high and you’ll be less exhausted when you lift the weights. So, you can train with heavier weights and do more in less time. Unlike conditioning which requires 5 days, with strength training, 3 days will suffice.
Instead of doing isolation exercises such as bicep curls and tricep curls which primarily use dumbbells and only work 1 to 2 muscle groups, you should focus on compound exercises. If you did pull-ups and push-ups, you’d still work your triceps and biceps but you’d also work your back, shoulder muscles and even your core.
Overall, your training will be more effective and make you stronger. The best compound exercises are deadlifts, barbell squats, bench presses, pull-ups, overhead presses, dips, cable pulldowns, etc. If your workouts were solely comprised of compound exercises, you’d be fit and absolutely tough in time to come.
One of the best ways to split your training will be to do push exercises on one day, pull exercises on another day and dedicate one day to just working the legs. The pull workout will train your back and biceps. The push workouts will focus on your shoulders, triceps and chest. Of course, on leg day you’ll train your quads, hamstrings and calves.
This is a very effective protocol and prevents overtraining certain muscles. Following this style of training will mean using compound exercises and you only need about 10 sets per workout. You can get through 10 sets in 30 minutes… and you’re done. Fast and fantastic.
The goal is always to stimulate the muscles and you do NOT need a hundred reps to achieve that. 10 to 12 reps for about 3 sets will more than suffice. As long as you train with good form and use weights that are right for you, the muscles will get stimulated and will grow. The goal is to hit them hard for a short while and get out of the gym and rest. Your muscles grow when you rest.
Training to failure is just one method of many to achieve muscle growth. You don’t always need to train to failure.
Training to a point where you’re just one rep short of failure is a great way to prevent your central nervous system from being overloaded.
It will take you some time to know what that rep number is. It’s best to keep a training diary to know exactly how many reps you did to reach failure. In this way, the next time you do a similar workout, you’ll know when to stop.
Over time, you can slowly increase the weights. The goal is always to progressively improve over time without wearing yourself out. Time is your best friend.
Last but not least, train your legs once a week. Yes, it’s tiring and painful… which is probably why most men skip leg day. However, training your legs will boost your testosterone and increase the body’s production of growth hormone
Want bigger muscles in your upper body? Then train your lower body more! Counterintuitive but highly effective.
If you follow the 6 tips mentioned above, you’ll be some of the men that are able to be building muscle after 50 and lose more fat in a faster time than you thought possible. Remember to give your body the nutrition it needs after your workout. That is just as important.
What you do in the 23 hours after your workout is even more important than the 1 hour you spend training. So, watch your diet and stay focused. Fitness is 100% mental.