How To Train At 50 And Dare To Bare Your Arms & Abs

How To Train At 50 And Dare To Bare Your Arms & Abs

Let’s face it…  We all want nice arms and a waistline we can show off to the world. Better yet, we all want to be fit no matter our age.

Women want Michelle Obama’s arms, Kelly Ripa’s abs, and Rachel Mclish full package.

Men want Arnold Schwarzenegger”s arms, Daniel Craig’s eight pack, and Sylvester Stallone’s physique.

And they want to have these at any age.

But why does aging past 50 years mean you can’t have a sexy waistline and strong arms?

Older and wiser does NOT have to mean fatter, weaker and jigglier.  

In this post, I will teach you a different way to approach your body training.  It is less conventional, yet very effective if you are over the age of 50.  Because training daily, as a habit to better your body, should be as natural as brushing your teeth.

The “rules” changed when you entered your 50’s. Do you change your approach to match the new rules?

In my experience, the most frustrating thing for my older clients is the realization that they are no longer 23 years old. But age is not the problem. It’s your body that changes.

What worked in your thirties no longer works in your fifties.

So how can you train now that you are in your 50’s?

Improvidus, apto quod victum

As most U.S. Marines will tell you, “Improvise, adapt, overcome.”

Age-related muscle loss and fat gain are not for YOU.

Most science suggests that as we age we have little to no control over these things.

We need to take action to overcome our own bodies.

Many age-related issues can be avoided with strength training and good nutrition. Aging does NOT mean more aches and pains, unless YOU allow them.

Yes, the “rules” did change somewhere along the way. But it is up to us, athletes, to challenge those “rules.”

[VERY IMPORTANT] If you are new to training, go easy, get guidance and be patient. If you ARE over 30, overweight and in chronic pain – visit your trusted medical professional before taking on any exercise program.

The biggest rule I suggest you break is your training frequency.

As we age, moving more often is really helpful. Training daily helps keep things going, and if done right, leads to less frustration and better results.

Are you ready for a paradigm shift?

A training session can be done in 5 minutes.

Read that again.

Five minutes to train? NO WAY.

Yes way.

5 minutes for A Training Session.

Here’s an example – Set a countdown timer for 5 minutes.

NO… Really.  Stop, grab your phone and set a countdown timer.  Do it now.  I’ll wait.

C’mon… Just do it.

OK. Start the timer.

Perform 21 “air” squats, followed by 8 straight bridges or wall walks.  Repeat this sequence as many times as the timer allows.  That’s One Training Session, done.

If you did it… Congratulations!

You could have done that session literally ANYWHERE and anytime.

Now do that 4 more times today.  Whenever you can.

NO gym required.  NO wasted/lost time.  Just 15 to 25 minutes of focused exercise for an entire day.

“But Steeeeve…  You said ARMS and ABS!?”

Yes, I did.  Fortunately, I am a “responsible” training specialist.

Deep squats DO work your abs, especially your lower belly and pelvic floor.  The straight bridge hit the back of your arms, didn’t it? There’s your arms.

Now, how’s your Plank?

Can you hold a Straight Arm (Push Up Position) Plank for 2 Minutes?

If NO, Start here.  It really is important for your shoulder health and core strength.

Clockwise from top:  Low Plank, Reverse Plank, Prone Back Extension, Side Plank, Front Plank

The basics of the plank must be practiced and developed.

plank positionHere’s your core training if the 2 minute plank eludes you:

Work on holding each of these for 20 seconds a few to several times per day.  Increase your time to build up toward 60 seconds each. Test your plank in 3 weeks and let me know where you’re at.

Clockwise from top:  Low Plank, Reverse Plank, Prone Back Extension, Side Plank, Front Plank

push up, bridge

If your plank is solid, try this:
  • Push Up  (pick the version that challenges you for 13 reps)
  • Straight Bridge

Stick to the 5-minute timer.  Alternate back and forth between exercises (8 reps each), resting as needed.

How do your arms feel?

Continue to do this session throughout your day.

ADIT – What does it mean

You might be able to do 5, 8, or more 5-minute training sessions per day.  Each session “Hits” your metabolism pretty hard.

Each session makes a barely noticeable dent in your time.

I call this, All-Day Interval Training (ADIT).

Yes, I just made that up and I claim dibs for infinity!

Why wouldn’t ADIT be great for your fat reduction efforts??  Rhetorical. It will.

If body fat reduction is a priority – Prioritize 5 minutes (One “mini-session”) of exercise before any meal, snack, or beverage (other than water).

If muscle growth is a priority – Get a solid 10-12 minutes of targeted work 4 times per week.  Your targeted muscles should feel “Pumped Up” after these.

I’m gonna share with you another another secret.

Work your whole body, or most of it, all the time, with every exercise.

Sorry, machines really won’t cut it. Not most of the time. Or at all, in my world.

The first combo I shared worked your core hard.  Upper back and glutes…  so what  muscles are left?

More importantly (if you tried it), How Do YOUR Arms FEEL?

We targeted the arms and the back of the arms.

Tomorrow we target something else. Could be legs. But WHY?

calisthenics training over 50

It’s all about the arms and abs, right?

Top secret:  Do one session every day for legs, like the 5 minutes we did above.

Here’s for tomorrow:  grab a moderately heavy Dumbbell for Biceps Curls.  You only need one as you will be doing one arm at a time (more challenge for the core).

Alternate 8 or more

  • Dips (bench, chair, box, bars, etc.) with,

1-Arm Strict Biceps Curls for the same number of reps on each arm.  (Concentration Curl shown)

If it’s a busy day at work…  Every 30 minutes, do one round, more if you can.  Don’t forget 5 minutes for the legs.  You could do “double step stairs”, up and down in the stairwells before lunch.  In the picture, I did Picnic Bench Step Ups.

Hopefully by now you’ve picked up on my concept of increased training frequency and exercising as a habit.

The most important thing is to successfully turn exercise into habit

  • Train every day. Don’t kill yourself everyday.  Target the important areas (Arms & Abs) daily.
  • Accumulate 20 or more minutes of total training per day.
  • Focus on multi-jointed movements that require your core (not a bench) to support you.
  • You don’t need a gym or special clothing to be strong and sexy.
  • Mobility training is still training. Two 5-minute mobility sessions per day is a great idea.

If it’s important, DO it every day.

Train your arms and core daily.  You can find more training sessions on my Instagram.

One more secret

This is an “AB” or core training secret – Do NOT focus on crunching the “6-pack”.  Instead, imagine a ball inside the middle of your abdomen.  Crush down on the entire surface of that ball – Squeeze from all sides.  Doing a Kegel helps here.

Using calisthenics and bodyweight protocols/progressions can thoroughly train you for strength, fat loss, mobility, and power in for short sessions every day.

The key is to Do It Every Day.

This helps to solidify the HABIT of exercise.  How many days would you go without brushing your teeth?

It’s not some competitive gym thing.  It’s about YOU and YOUR body.

This is real world, common sense physical culture.

To learn more different techniques of weaving your “workouts” into your day, leave questions in the comments below.

Are you ready to Overcome your 50’s?

Improvise. Adapt. Overcome.

Trainer Steve

P.S. – Below are a list of trainings I did while writing this article:

  • Tactical Pull Ups
  • Ring Rows
  • Close Push Ups
  • Bridge Push Ups
  • Pike Push Ups

Each session provided a nice break from the keyboard and took me about 3-5 minutes.

Bonus Arms:  Halo Arms, Halo Tri-Extensions and Halo Curls

Halo Arms, Halo Tri-Extensions and Halo Curls

Bonus:  Whole Body Circuit

whole body circuit

calisthenics assessment

blank
Trainer Steve lives in Connecticut and has been helping people realize stronger, healthier bodies for more than 12 years. His goal is to rebuild the lost Physical Culture humans once had. No crazy methods or snake oil, only the basics of good human movement and real food.
Steve’s beliefs are simple:
Strength will never be a “Fad”
Move very well and often (like a 6 year old, regardless of age)
Lean body mass (muscle, bone) must NOT be lost
Eat Real Food
Physical Fitness needs to be your habit

Follow Steve on Instagram: @gfdfitness
Email: Info@FitnessRehabCT.com

You’re never too old to train: calisthenics for over 50

Don is a grandfather AND a Calisthenics Athlete

Don

Join the tribe of Movement & Calisthenics Athletes – people just like you that are working with their own body weight to get strength, lose fat build muscle, recover from injuries and live their best lives!

Don works in the healthcare industry as an engineer. A father of three and grandfather of four, he’s always been an athlete.

“If your life remains static you wither and die spiritually, physically and mentally. Keep moving, keep learning and enjoy life with zest.”

Don has always been an active person. As a teenager, he played soccer and ran track, then later focused more attention and energy on martial arts, which he still trains today. “I have worked out my whole life.”

“I wanted to find a form of exercise that would give me functional strength and flexibility that would fit well into my martial arts.”

Life always takes over, but Don still worked out

Even though he raised his three children with his wife and worked a full-time job, Don never neglected his workouts. In fact, as a weightlifter, he trained like a bodybuilder.

“I got real serious about lifting weights and increased in size until I was up to 240lbs and could throw some heavy weight.”

However, weight training became counter-productive for Don. Being a martial artist, he needed mobility more than he needed a body heavy with muscle.

“It slowed me down big time doing martial arts.”

“I have seen so many guys that lift lots of weight in the gym but cannot do a push-up or one pull-up. I can, which translates to functional strength that you can use in real life.”

“I absolutely love the program. It fits well with my martial arts training and is challenging.”

The 3 main benefits Don has gained since starting calisthenics

It fits with his martial arts training

Don has explored many different training programs, but none of them meshed with his martial arts training. “It complements my martial arts where I need flexibility and added strength is a plus.”

When he weight trained, he actually lost some of his range-of-motion, which is so important to martial arts.

“I think functional strength is extremely important for life and complements many other athletic activities. I teach self-defense and the calisthenics is the stuff that keeps a man in shape and prepares him for whatever comes his way.”

It’s always challenging

Despite being a lifelong athlete, calisthenics is a challenge to Don. The Calisthenics Academy program has actually forced him to start at the very beginning, despite being in very good shape. “Doing a plank for me for 10 seconds was easy but holding for 30 seconds is more difficult.”

“It was a slight blow to my ego to start at the very beginning but I really wanted to learn from the bottom up.”

He’s learning new skills

Don might be able to train and teach in martial arts, but he acknowledges that he still has a lot he can learn. “[The] hardest part of the journey is learning exercises I have never done before, like headstands.”

Over-training with weights can lead to injury

Don explored many forms of exercise over the years, but focused his attention on weight training. It helped him gain massive amounts of muscle, but caused him to lose range-of-motion in martial arts.It also caused him to injure himself by over-training. “I started getting injuries from weight lifting that forced me to stop all exercise for up to 4-6 weeks at a crack.”

These injuries started piling up and dogging him. “After a couple of years of back injuries, I started looking for other forms of exercise.”

He tried a variety of training programs, but none were motivating or attention-grabbing in the long-term. They also felt didn’t complement his martial arts training, not really helping him progress.

“I wanted to find a form of exercise that would give me functional strength and flexibility that would fit well into my martial arts.”

Don doing the side plank

Finding Calisthenics Academy

Before Don started with the Calisthenics Academy, he tried another program. “I came across a course I could do at home that promised I could do one arm push ups, one arm pull ups, muscle ups, etc in 9 months.”

However, once he started the course, he kept getting injured. Taking a step back from the program, he realized that he was going through the program too quickly to learn proper form. “[I] realized [I] needed the help of experts in gymnastics and calisthenics.”

And so Don went to find a program that would support him in his needs.

“I stumbled across Calisthenics Academy and started the program…It fits well with my martial arts training and is challenging.”

Don Doing Dips

“Give it a try. If you really want to master functional strength and improve your health this is the way to go. I have tried just about everything in my life and this is the very best way to get in the best shape that translates to real life.”

Don’s advice to anyone interested in starting calisthenics

With any workout discipline, you need to train consistently and be disciplined. “Be patient, it’s a journey not a 12-week wonder makeover workout.”

“If you want anything in life you must be disciplined. If you take on the challenge to pick a time during your week and make this a priority you will see results.”

Professional trainer, ex cross-fitter and a long time calisthenic practitioner. I started with Convict Conditioning and achieved levels of strength which enabled me to take part in street workouts championships. Check Out our Resources and Start Building Real Strength just using your Bodyweight!