Best Workout Program for a 50 Year Old Man And Older

For men over 50, 55, and older, there is no reason that you can’t an active lifestyle that includes a regular workout program.

Whether you have been training all your life or are a senior and have never stepped foot in a gym, you can train your body in a safe and healthy way. Keeping up a workout routine later in life will help you look younger and feel better. No need to let your fitness slide as you age. If you continue to push yourself, you will be able to see amazing results.

Obviously, it won’t be the same workouts you did in your 20’s. Inevitably, there will be some changes. But, you don’t have to let that ​slow you down as you get older. Shed the excuses and find a great workout routine!

Even if you have never consistently worked out before, it is never too late to improve your overall wellbeing with exercise.

The Best Workout Plan for Men Over 50

There is no limit to what type of workout you can do as ​a middle aged adult​. While maybe the goal used to be extreme lifting or running a 5-minute mile, now the goals are about mobility and maintenance.

An senior man using a rowing machine

​Workout Changes ​You Need To Make

One of the biggest changes you should make is to stop splitting your gym days into leg day, back day, biceps, etc. Instead, you will want to focus on full body movements will be a more effective way to train.

And develop a mindset for keeping the muscle you have, rather than muscle building, will also be more effective for you and your body.

1. Lower the Impact of Your Training

In general, your workouts need to have less of an impact on your body. As you age, your joints and ligaments can’t take the same amount of stress, strain, and pounding as they could when you were younger.

You’ll want to look at different types of exercises to achieve a similar result. Using a static ballistic workout tool like a singular adjustable kettlebell can replace other workouts, with minimal impact on your joints.

  • kettlebell is easy to start working out with, and you can slowly increase the weight or frequency of the workout. 
  • Instead of running on concrete or pavement, move to an elliptical. These sorts of changes will extend the usability of your joints .

​If you’re getting jokes that you’ve settled into an old man workout, don’t let that be the case. You can still push your heart rate and build muscle without having the same high impact on your body.

2. ​Embrace High Intensity Interval Training

Some really great places to start are high intensity interval training (HIIT), full body strength training, and flexibility training. In fact, HIIT is the best workout for ​50 year old men because it helps to boost your metabolism for fat burning and keep your heart healthy.

  • Doing HIIT workouts will help you to see results if your main goals are weight loss.
  • These workouts will best be done on cardio equipment, since you can easily keep track of your pace.
  • They are also real time savers since you can do a full HIIT workout in less than 30 minutes. 

This style of workout is a great addition to your age bracket.

​3. Introduce Full Body Strength Training

Don’t stop lifting weights just because you’re no longer a teenager! Full body strength training is also recommended for men over 50 because it is highly effective for building and maintaining lean muscle that deteriorates as you age.

  • Using free weights like a dumbbell or even just body weight movements helps slow the loss of muscle, while also speeding up your metabolism to burn fat. This is where the kettlebell makes for a great workout tool!
  • ​There is still plenty of weight training for 50 year old men to be done – you just can’t push your body to the brink and back like you might have before.

Bonus: If want to build muscle, consider taking the a muscle building supplement to add a little extra bulk.

​4. Focus on Flexibility Training

Flexibility training is another great option for men over 50. It may seem that flexibility training is not going to help your fitness, but staying flexible as you age maximizes everything else you do, and helps prevent injuries. Ensuring that you dedicate a portion of your workout time to building flexibility, even just through stretching, will help increase joint range of motion.

Being flexible in old age can help to alleviate heel and joint pain, and keep your body functioning at its highest potential. If you’re suffering from aches and pains, really focusing on your stretching can give you some relief.

A senior man doing stretches

Precautions You Need to Take

As you start to age and get into your senior years, you will notice changes in your ability levels and body in general. It is important to listen to your body and take the necessary precautions to protect your body when working out.

​1. Heart Rate

One such precaution is knowing your maximum heart rate, so you can avoid overexertion. According to the American Heart Association, the average maximum heart rate for men age 50 is 170 beats per minute. And since this number decreases the older you are, it’s important to know, and monitor, your target and maximum heart rates.

You can then tell when your workout is effective, and when you are doing too much. If your heart rate is climbing to your maximum, know that it is okay to take a step back and slow down.

​2. Personal Health

You should also be sure to take into account your specific health needs when starting a new dumbbell or kettlebell workout routine. Address any injuries right away, take extra time to warm up and cool down, and take time to ease into a new workout.

It can be tempting to go full force right away. Take the time to acknowledge what your body needs. Hurting yourself will only set you back further.

HIIT Swimming Workout Routine

You can do a HIIT workout on any piece of cardio equipment you want. Keep in mind that some workouts, such as the treadmill, are harder on the joints. For this workout we will focus on swimming, as it is less intense for the joints and helps to promote increased mobility. 

Swimming can also be done by anyone, even those who are overweight or have arthritis.You can use any stroke you want for this workout. Freestyle is easiest for those who are new to swimming.

  1. Warm up: Swim at a slow and easy pace for five minutes, or until your body feels ready.
  2. Work interval: One sprint lap. This means you are swimming this lap at the highest intensity you can that doesn’t cause pain or discomfort.
  3. Rest interval: One slow lap. This is taking it back down to give your heart a little break and prepare you again for your sprint lap.

Repeat this series four times if you are a beginner and six times if you are more advanced. Always pick a pace that works for you. There is no pressure to go above your abilities.

A woman and an old man sitting on a yoga mat

Full Body Strength Training Workout

There are infinite versions of what a full body strength training workout might look like. You can design your own workout to suit your needs.

Make sure you work your full body to avoid overworking any of your muscles. That being said, you can still push yourself. Taking it too easy won’t do you any good.

​Warm Up

Don’t dive right in – warm up before you work out. Here is a great option to get started with:

1. Warm up: 1 minute of good mornings without weights.

  • Good mornings are a great way to wake up your hamstrings to help to work through any tightness in your legs.

2. Good morning workout: ​Here is the workout​​​ 

  • Start standing with your feet shoulder width apart and put your hands behind your head.
  • Then hinge at the hips to bend down until you’re parallel to the floor.
  • If you can’t quite get parallel, then just go as far as you can.

Follow this with five minutes on the rowing machine. At this point, you and your body should be ready to go for a harder workout

Full Workout for 50 Year Old Man

Goblet Squat: 25 reps

A goblet squat is perfect for working your glutes and quads. Start by grabbing a kettlebell by the horns and holding it at chest height. Keeping your chest lifted, squat down until your elbows touch your knees and then return to standing.

Because you’re also holding weight through the kettlebell or dumbbell, you won’t even need a bench to workout your arms.

Curtsey Lunge: 10 reps each side

Curtsey lunge is meant to work your adductors and abductors as well as your glutes.

  1. Start standing with your feet shoulder width apart.
  2. Bring your right leg behind your left and bend both knees to lower yourself down into a lunge.
  3. Then return to standing and repeat on the other side.

Chest press: 25 reps

This is where we add the necessary weight training for a 50 year old man. Chest presses will work your pectoral muscles as well as supporting arm and shoulder muscles.

  1. To do a chest press you can lie on a bench or the floor if you’re at home.
  2. Start by grabbing two dumbbells that are a comfortable weight for you and recline on the bench.
  3. Holding the weights, bring both arms straight up over your chest with the kettlebell.
  4. Then, bring the weights down to your sides until your arms are at a 90-degree angle.
  5. Finally press the weights straight up and repeat.

Tricep dips: 20 reps

To target those unflattering bat wings, you need to make sure you work on the triceps.

  1. To do a tricep dip use a bench or a chair.
  2. Put your hands on the chair/bench behind you and your legs out in front of you so that your body is diagonal from the ground.
  3. Start the move by bending your arms and lowering yourself down until your arms are at a 90-degree angle.
  4. Then straighten your arms again to return to starting. ​

Leg raises: 15 reps

The lower abs can be hard to target. Leg raises are the perfect solution.

  1. Start by lying flat on a mat.
  2. Slowly raise your legs straight up into the air, keeping your legs completely straight.
  3. Once you have reached the top position, lower them back down to the ground with control.

When you’re ready to amp up the workout, add a kettlebell to your leg workout.

Russian Twists: 40 reps

Russian twists are best for working with the oblique muscles.

  1. Start in a sitting position with your knees bent.
  2. Lift your legs slightly off the ground and lean back so you are balanced on your sit bones.
  3. Begin to twist your upper body from side to side as far as you can without straining your back.

Bonus: For an extra challenge add a medicine ball. 

Repeat this entire workout twice, and three times if you want an extra boost. After you are finished, cool down with some light stretching.

An old man jogging on the beach

Flexibility Training Workout

Every flexibility workout should be tailored to your body. You know best where you feel pain and tension. Your focus throughout your flexibility workout should be your problem areas so you can reduce pain and increase mobility.

Warm up:

  • 5 minutes of cardio, including running, jumping jacks, rowing, or stair steppers.
  • Follow this with foam rolling of any areas that feel tight.


  • Do a series of static hold stretches of your choice.
  • Be sure to stretch out your shoulders, back, and legs.
  • Don’t forget to pick some poses to open up the hips.
  • Try to hold each pose for at least 30 seconds, and eventually work your way up to one minute per pose.

The number of stretches you do is up to you. Everyone’s flexibility level is different. You know what your body needs.

Cool Down:

  • Cool down with a second round of light cardio, such as the treadmill or bike, for 3-5 minutes.


Getting older does not mean ceasing your fitness routine. It just means shifting your attention to mobility and functional fitness. Putting an extra focus on maintaining lean muscle mass and burning fat will keep you seeing the results you’re looking for, while helping you feel better.

HIIT, full body strength training, and flexibility training are some of the best workouts for men over 50. Including lots of full-body movement-based workouts into your routine and taking muscle building supplements will keep you in top shape. If you get injured, take care of it right away. If you are feeling pain, pay extra attention to that area.

The most important thing to remember is that as you get older you have to listen to your body and give it what it is asking for. Older men don’t need to quit working out – you just need to adjust how you push your body.

Tim is a former member of Track and Field Athletes Association Board of Directors.