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.
Here’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
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? 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